Turns out Jed doesn’t like de Blasio’s insistence on creating more affordable housing in Williamsburg. Like any pampered man-child, he’s decided to throw a temper tantrum should his Domino Sugar rezoning requests fail to be approved:
The mayor’s administration is insisting that the developer add even more space for affordable housing and, as a result, fewer market-rate apartments, in exchange for the zoning changes that Mr. Walentas needs to build his towers with spectacular views of Midtown Manhattan.
Mr. Walentas is balking, and has even threatened to revert to the older, unpopular plan.
“I’d very much like to work this out with them,” Mr. Walentas said on Thursday. “But what they’re currently asking for is not workable.”
With the New York Planning Commission set to vote on the project on Wednesday, Domino Sugar has become a test of the mayor’s resolve to “reset” the city’s relationship with developers and extract more concessions from them, with a goal of building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing.
Housing activists, who supported Mr. de Blasio, and the city’s powerful real estate industry, which is already jittery over the new mayor’s populist rhetoric, are closely watching the fate of Domino.
“This is curtains up on the first act of the real-estate drama for the new administration,” said John H. Mollenkopf, director of City University’s Center for Urban Research.
The Brooklyn Paper noted his “my way or the highway” approach to the project back in November:
Walentas… told neighbors he hopes to get the greenlight for his proposal to build skyscraping edifices with eye-catching cutouts in the middle, but if that falls through he will revive the city-approved plan by the past owner Community Preservation Corporation Resources, which call for shorter more monolithic towers.
“We spent $185 million to purchase this site, and we’re going to get a return on our investment,” Walentas said on Thursday in his first meeting with Williamsburgers to discuss the future of Domino.
Neighbors, including many activists who battled the previous Domino development plan, greeted the Two Trees proposal with snark, derision, and anger, criticizing the project for its potential impact on transit, its light-blocking scale, and what they described as Walentas’s “my way or the highway” attitude…
“He comes across like Jesse Eisenberg with his tennis shoes and his hoodie, but he’s a total capitalist,” said activist Susan Pellegrino.
Wah! It’s tough not getting your way, especially if you’re a spoiled rich kid who’s daddy owns half the city.
The rezoning that Walentas desires would entail building taller towers – so we’re likely to get Levined — but hopefully de Blasio will be tough on subsidies, which come at the expense of taxpayers:
Like most developers, Mr. Walentas is expecting to get subsidies and tax breaks from city and state housing programs for providing affordable housing, and the availability of those incentives could become an issue in talks between the two sides.
Martin Dunn, president of Dunn Development, an affordable housing developer, said the negotiations were being closely watched. Unlike most in his field, Mr. Dunn says the city has been too generous in granting subsidies for affordable housing and should make developers provide it with less help from taxpayers, a belief the new mayor shares.
Here’s the hated plan: