Ground was broken on the high-rise more than four years ago, but it remains unfinished because of the legal battles surrounding the legality of its height, currently at 100 feet and more than 10 stories, despite the 2005 rezoning that sets heights for the property at 50 feet. The plans call for an additional six stories, for a total of 16. The developer, Mendel Brach, planned to use the roofs of neighboring buildings as a means to fulfill the open space requirement required for such a large building, but a 2007 court case determined that the developer did not have the right to use them. Mendel Brach appealed to the BSA, who last week ruled in favor of the developer.
President of the New York City Community Council and North Brooklyn activist Phil DePaolo called the BSA’s decision “ridiculous. They didn’t listen to our concerns.”
“Ever since this building was announced, it’s been one nightmare after another,” he said. “They have been the poster child for doing everything wrong.”
A number of neighbors have resented the building because it has towered dozens of feet higher than the smaller buildings that surround it. Legal and financial troubles have halted construction on the tower, and it has been dubbed the “finger” building because many neighbors consider it to be a middle finger stuck up to the community.
DePaolo indicated that he would be working to file an Article 78 lawsuit against the Department of Buildings and the BSA, which would put the building’s approval before a judge. The deadline for filing the lawsuit is January 8, 2009.
“I think we have a very strong case,” said DePaolo. “We could at least delay the project for another two years. If the developer wants to wait, he can go ahead with his plans.”