The joke about hipsters (well, one of many, many jokes about hipsters) is that they are pioneers, non-conformists. But out in Bushwick, they are following in the footsteps of more than a hundred of the city’s neighborhoods: they want a rezoning.
A stones throw (not the hip hop record label) from the the McKibben Lofts and Roberta’s, just across Flushing Avenue, a developer wants to transform the old Rheingold Brewery into a 10-building housing complex, a plan that has been kicking around since at least 2008. But according to The Wall Street Journal, this is Bushwick, so the rezoning has to be different, it has to be cool, with it, or at least that’s what Councilwoman Diana Reyna wants.
She wants the rezoning of Bushwick to happen on different terms from a rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint seven years ago. There, just a couple of stops west of Bushwick on the L train, a growing number of industrial buildings have given way to luxury condos and rental buildings.
“We don’t necessarily need high rises. We don’t need the speculation that Bushwick is the next Williamsburg,” Ms. Reyna said. Instead, Ms. Reyna would like to see low-rise developments, a strong “affordable housing” component and the preservation of local jobs.
According to The Journal, the Rheingold redevelopment could pave the way for a larger rezoning of entire Bushwick neighborhood, which has seen spot development over the past decade but remains primarily comprised of low-rise apartment buildings and rowhouses. Encouraging development while protecting the neighborhood character, and more importantly its long-time residents, could prove a challenge. Because everybody knows gentrification is not cool.