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Two Trees Scores Key Approval For River Ring Development

A rendering of Two Trees' planned development in Williamsburg

Two Trees' plans for a huge new mixed-use development on the Brooklyn waterfront are a step closer to reality, with Community Board 1 giving it approval.

The board voted 20-15 Tuesday to support River Ring, which is set to bring two towers of mixed-use income housing, a park and a YMCA to the waterfront, Brooklyn Eagle reported. The approval does come with some conditions, which include shaving the number of apartments proposed to total 1,050, down by 33%, and raising the share of affordable housing from 25% to 50%, per The Real Deal.

The proposed development would be on 3.5 acres on the Williamsburg waterfront, and Two Trees wants the site rezoned to make it a reality. The board's recommendation now goes to Borough President Eric Adams and the City Planning Commission.

“We appreciate the concerns expressed by the community board members and are eager to follow through on our commitment to maximize affordable housing, bring good jobs, and build much-needed resiliency measures to the Williamsburg waterfront,” Two Trees Managing Director David Lombino said in a statement.

The virtual hearing went for more than six hours and had moments of significant confusion and tension, with multiple attendees complaining they were not given their chance to speak. The borough president will hold a public meeting to allow for testimony from the community later this month. 

There has been major pushback from a group called Sustainable Williamsburg, which is worried that sort of building would put too much pressure on local public transport and accelerate gentrification. In June, the developer said it would pull the plug on the development if it didn’t get the zoning approvals it needs to move forward with the development, and would instead sell to a logistics developer.