Magdalena Waz


Well, Bushwick, as we all expected, the unofficial agreement signed by Read Property Group to offer a total of 30 percent affordable housing across all buildings in the giant Rheingold Brewery development will not be honored by the two companies that bought the site shortly after it was rezoned.

DNAinfo reports that All Year Management and the Rabsky Group have cut 88 affordable apartments from the 1,411 mega-development. Louise Carroll, the Associate Commissioner of Housing Incentives at the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation says that there’s nothing the department can do to force the new developers to honor the non-binding agreement since the zoning resolution does only call for 20 percent of the development’s units to be “affordable.”

In order words, the new developers aren’t doing anything illegal, even if what they’re doing is—predictably—immoral. 

The entire site has been in the spotlight since 2013 when the original developers petitioned for rezoning of the old, industrial brewery site. Read Property Group issued a lot of promises from the aforementioned affordable housing to the pledge to hire locally during the construction phase of the project to building three bedroom units the community needs. But much of these pledges have been difficult to track.

Councilmember Antonio Reynoso points out that the Rabsky group has another huge project in development in the Broadway Triangle. The 1,146-unit site is going through the rezoning process now. Reynoso hopes this current snafu reveals how large developments can continue to perpetuate inequality even as they promise affordable housing in the short term—usually to get what they want.

The 2013 rezoning debate sparked protests, sleep-ins, and general neighborhood outrage, but now that renderings have been released and construction is well underway, the community has to ask itself what—if anything—can be done to salvage this project and bring some good news to longtime residents who will continue to get pushed out by predatory developers?

Featured image courtesy of Durukan Design.