Freehold Brooklyn, the co-working space/restaurant with a location in Williamsburg, plans to open a new establishment at 240 Broadway but faces pushback from locals — and Brooklyn Community Board 1.

Brownstoner reports that several board members spoke out against the project after representatives from the Freehold team appeared at a recent CB1 meeting. Freehold plans to modernize the building and turn it into commercial and office space. As an event venue, a rooftop bar is in the works. 

Locals and community board members alike expressed concern at the potential for noise and crowds (the venue is applying for a liquor license until 4 a.m.) Considering the Williamsburg area is already replete with rooftop bars, some of which have caused headaches for neighbors in recent years, the board’s skepticism comes as no surprise.

The circumstances in which the building was obtained also mean that Freehold might have an uphill battle to win the public’s approval.

“The 1892 cast-iron and brick building at 240 Broadway – designed by prolific Brooklyn architect Theobald Engelhardt – was most recently home to residential tenants in 24 loft units, many of whom had been living there for decades, and who were kicked out in 2019 when new landlord ZB Capital Group purchased the 36,254 square foot building for $20.1 million,” Brownstoner reports. 

In 2019, THE CITY reported on the tenants’ fight to remain in their building. Some tenants, pointing out construction flaws, hoped that the building’s certificate of occupancy would be revoked, making the building eligible for protection under the city’s Loft Law. Instead, residents were given 30 days’ notice to leave, and when holdouts inevitably remained, the landlord proceeded with construction and shut off the building’s gas. 

In a comment provided to Brownstoner, the Freehold team noted that they would be speaking with Senator Julia Salazar’s office and reviewing community feedback moving forward:

“It is, and always has been, our hope to offer the community a hospitality concept that will not only benefit the community, but be received with open arms.”

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