Woodlawn senior housing plan gets downscaled

The plan for a proposed senior housing project on East 233rd Street in Woodlawn has been downscaled after feedback from concerned residents.
Arthur Cusano

A controversial senior housing project planned for Woodlawn has been downscaled by the developer after vocal opposition from residents.

The developer, Brooklyn-based Woodlawn Affiliates LLC, has reduced the scale of the project planned for 69-85 E. 233rd Street from 92 to 80 units.

The apartment makeup was also changed, from 92 studio apartments to a mix of 42 studio and 38 one-bedroom apartments.

Members of the Woodlawn Taxpayers & Community Association were informed of the change by staffers from Senator Jeff Klein’s office, said association president Kenneth Nugent.

Klein and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz have both called on the developer to make the project a bitter fit for the community.

“I have always supported senior housing, but we must ensure that any proposed development in Woodlawn meets the needs and desires of the seniors in the community such a project is designed to serve,” Klein said.

Dinowitz said he was pleased the developer was taking input off the community and elected officials, but said they have to make additional changes.

“There still aren’t nearly enough apartments for people with higher incomes than what was originally proposed, and there are still too many studios and not enough one-bedrooms,” Dinowitz said.

Woodlawn Affiliates LLC chairwoman Erika Keller-Wala, who is also the chairwoman for Brisa Builders of Brooklyn, confirmed the changes to the plan after community feedback and said she would continue meeting with concerned parties in the area.

“We have made some revisions to the proposal that will be presented to the elected officials as well as the community,” she said.

Keller-Wala said that due to the lack of scheduled summer Community Board 12 meetings, the next presentation will likely be held in September.

Nugent said residents had been frustrated with the size and height of the project since it was announced, and said the developer still had a long way to go to get residents on board with it.

“I still think it’s far too large,” Nugent said. “It’s going to dwarf everything around it.”

Nugent said parking in Woodlawn is already a disaster, and said the proposed project would make it worse.

“We have alternate side parking, and because of that parking is a very hot commodity,” Nugent said. “She’s proposed 13 parking spaces for 80 apartments, and there is a superintendent in there who’s definitely going to get a space.”

The Average Monthly Income, or AMI, mix of the project has also been changed, with 16 of the units to be rented at 80 percent AMI – a larger percentage than previously proposed, which would allow people making up to $45,480 to apply for a studio apartment, or $61,120 to apply for the one-bedroom apartments.

Residents were relieved to see one-bedroom apartments put into the plan, Nugent said, since the original plan to include only studio apartments had been a concern to residents who feared a possible homeless shelter eventually taking it over.

The space that was pitched as a possible daycare or pre-kindergarten facility was also scrapped, as per the community’s wishes.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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