Belmont Gardens – 628 Eldert Lane, Brooklyn, New York
This site was originally slated to be a part of the expansion (and renovation) of the Robert Venable Park by the NYC Parks Department in 2003. Due to a lack of funding the expansion was limited to the bed of street Grant Avenue and some adjoining already City-owned parcels. However, City had already commenced the process by remapping the entire super-block as parkland, stripping our parcel of its R5 zoning designation, and precluding the development of anything on the property. Thus began the process of working with the various City agencies and local officials to restore the residential zoning. Councilman Charles Baron, who committed a large amount of capital budget funds to the Parks Department for the project, had concerns about the development of the park without one outlier parcel – which was part of our assemblage. When it became apparent that the park renovation would be most beneficial if it included our outlier parcel, it was suggested that the lot could be donated to the Department of Parks and Recreation. In the spirit of corporate citizenship and in an effort to help facilitate the development of the best park possible the property was indeed donated to the Parks Department. We then worked in tandem with the NYC Department of City Planning, the Parks Department, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and Councilmember Barron to rezone the property and develop the site as affordable housing – paying special attention to compatible design features. NYS Homes and Community Renewal provided an allocation of 9% LIHTC and Citibank is providing the conventional construction and permanent financing. Construction commenced June 2011 and should be completed by January 2013.