Tommy Torres is used to watching friends and families move away from the State Assembly’s 53rd district, encompassing Williamsburg and Bushwick. It’s an exodus that the Democratic district leader says has taken place little by little over the last few decades, as rising rents and rapid development slowly rendered the neighborhood unaffordable to longtime residents.

But the pace of that displacement quickened noticeably in 2005, Torres said, after then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration approved a rezoning in Williamsburg that paved the way for the building of dozens of high-rises along its waterfront.