City Planning scraps plan to rezone 14 blocks in Williamsburg but allows Toby Moskovits and Rubenstein Partners project to build bigger

Photo: Rendering by Steelblue for Heritage Equity Partners
Rendering of 25 Kent Ave.

A zoning plan that would have helped office buildings sprout in Williamsburg has been scaled back to pave the way for one such project.

On Monday, staff at the City Planning Commission said they would endorse a special permit for 25 Kent Ave. but will no longer seek to include the neighborhood around the roughly 400,000-square-foot development in the rezoning proposal.

Developers Toby Moskovits and Rubenstein Partners are in the process of securing a special permit that would allow them to build more office space on a full block lot the pair plan to develop between North 12th and North 13th streets and Kent and Wythe avenues. The zoning increase is normally granted to projects that include community space. But instead of community facilities like doctors’ offices or school space, the developers have proposed dedicating about 60,000 square feet of the eight-story project to light manufacturing and reserving the remaining 340,000 square feet for office and retail. Without the bonus, the site can only accommodate about 160,000 square feet of office.

During the meeting at the agency’s lower Manhattan headquarters, City Planning indicated it will green-light 25 Kent’s application in late May, paving the way for the project to proceed to the City Council for final approval in the coming weeks. 

When the rezoning launched in recent months, City Planning had initially sought to allow other lots in a 14-block area surrounding 25 Kent the same ability to get a square-footage bump without including community space. Now the commission will look at proposed projects in the area in search of a similar bonus on an individual basis.