The condo mongers of Columbia Street are back.
You may recall some news last August about a condo developer riding into Kings County, wanting to erect a cluster of 60 and 80-foot buildings in the Columbia Heights Waterfront District without so much as a by-your-leave from the neighborhood. The suddenly announced plans were to be discussed at a Aug. 23 Community Board 6 meeting, which was just as suddenly canceled an hour or two before it was to take place. (The meet was to go head to head with a Carroll Gardens Town Hall meeting at Scotto's Funeral Parlor, in which City Council Member Bill de Blasio will discuss the desired downzoning of Carroll Gardens—a timing that made nobody happy.)
Well, a new meeting has finally been scheduled, for 6 PM Oct. 25 at Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street (at Atlantic Ave.). The intervening months have given both side more time to prepare their cases. The developer, which is working with the City, is L&M Equities. Their aim is to create a total of 152 new housing units across three sites: 75 Columbia Street; 86-98 Congress Street and 79 Warren Street; and 104-116 Warren Street and 101-115 Baltic Street. (Why two addresses are considered a "site," I don't know.) One of the buildings that would be torn down is the old Hamberger Christmas ornament factory on Warren (above), which would break the heart of every romantic east and west of the BQE.
The developers need an zoning change unusual to the low-scale area to make the buildings happen, and there's plenty of opposition, including the Cobble Hill Association and two groups called the Baltic and Warren Street Neighbors and the Columbia Waterfront Association. However, the developers come armed with a pre-certified ULURP (uniform land use review process), which mean in the words of Craig Hammerman, CB6 District Manager, that "they’re pretty much ready to go, and that the application would be certified not too long after our meeting."