07/23/14 10:00am


The ironies of the Mayor’s housing plan are piling up as high as a waterfront luxury skyscraper. Despite the populist rhetoric, the mayor’s plan to build more affordable housing in Brooklyn is a recipe for more development much like Bloomberg’s and will likely accelerate the gentrification of the few low-income neighborhoods still left in Brooklyn, was the conclusion of a deep dive into the subject matter on Gothamist.

Long-time residents of Cypress Hills, East New York, the Atlantic Avenue corridor and other low-income areas targeted by the mayor for rezoning and more affordable housing will not be able to afford these new “affordable” developments, the story concluded. (more…)

brooklyn bridge park pier 6

A judge today will hear a motion to block the city from selecting a developer to build housing towers on two remaining empty lots on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Neighbors are suing the Brooklyn Bridge Park corporation to require them to perform a new environmental impact study to replace the one that was done in 2005, reported The Wall Street Journal. (more…)


Once again, East New York is in the news as the ground zero for Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan. If we read this article in Crain’s correctly, the formula seems to be: Rezone Atlantic Avenue from Euclid Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue. Inject public and private dollars into developing office, retail and manufacturing space around the Broadway Junction transit hub. This, the thinking goes, will spur development of 50-30-20 high-rise housing in East New York, which will help assuage the city’s affordability problem. (more…)

07/08/14 10:00am

1133 manhattan avenue greenpoint 72014

The seven-story, 210-unit development going up at the corner of Manhattan and Clay Streets in Greenpoint is getting windows and a brick facade. Construction began last spring on the building at 1133 Manhattan Avenue, which will be half market rate and half affordable housing. (more…)

07/08/14 9:30am

gowanus silos

A surprising group of allies, in particular housing advocates, are urging Mayor de Blasio not to turn the city’s protected industrial zones — including hotspots in Gowanus, above, Williamsburg and Bushwick — into housing. There has been a tug of war over these areas for years, particularly in areas such as Bushwick and Williamsburg where illegal loft dwellings are common, and in Gowanus, over new developments in industrial areas. (more…)


Check out this updated map, which shows where the affordable and market rate housing at Atlantic Yards will go. The Atlantic Yards Report’s Norman Oder published it Thursday in City Limits and again on Atlantic Yards Report.

Pay no attention to the legend on the graphic — the important part is the outlines he added to the map. The two buildings outlined in yellow will be 100 percent affordable. The buildings outlined in red will be 50-50. The buildings outlined in green — six of them, apparently — will be market rate rentals or condos. That’s a lot of market rate apartments.

B4, incidentally, which is outlined in both green and red, will have a mix of 50-50 rentals and 100 percent market rate condos. (more…)

07/02/14 10:45am


The Real Estate Board of New York, a trade association for the real estate industry, has come out with a new study claiming landmarking historic neighborhoods retards construction of affordable housing citywide. Its last report, which said the same thing, was about Manhattan only.

“Landmarking historic neighborhoods could make it more difficult for Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his ambitious affordable housing goals,” said a story about the study in The New York Daily News. The report’s conclusions were based on data that found only 100 units of 35,000 affordable apartments built between 2003 and 2012 were inside landmarked districts. Absolutely zero affordable housing was built in landmark districts in Brooklyn in that time.

The report also said landmarking can impose “unforeseen barriers” on construction, such as additional costs created by a lengthy review process and higher design standards required by the LPC.

The head of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation said the report is poppycock because only 3 percent of the city consists of historic districts. “The notion that this is a major contributor to the unaffordability of our city is just laughable,” he told the Daily News.

The real estate industry has opposed landmarking since at least the 1950s. What do you think? Should de Blasio restrict landmarking in Brooklyn to encourage more affordable development here?

REBNY Study Finds Landmarking Historic Neighborhoods Could Limit Cheap Housing [NY Daily News]

06/27/14 9:00am


State officials, the de Blasio administration and local community groups have wrangled a deal with Forest City Ratner to accelerate the delivery of affordable housing at Atlantic Yards or pay a fine as high as $5 million, The New York Times reported. The agreement calls for all 2,250 affordable apartments to be built by 2025, and for the second and third buildings — a total of 600 units — to be 100 percent affordable. The old timetable was 2035, according to the Times.

“We are determined to jump-start affordable housing at Atlantic Yards,” said Mayor de Blasio. “And what’s remarkable is that we’ve secured nearly twice as many affordable units for our city investment,” he said.

Progress on the first apartment building, B2, pictured above, which is being built with modular methods that were supposed to speed things up, “has been painfully slow,” said the Times. (It started in December 2012 and will wrap in late 2015.)

The Times outlined a new construction schedule: The second building, at Dean and Carlton, must start by December 30. Then another tower next to the arena is planned. In addition, FCR said, it will start two luxury condos by July and December.

FCR is going to get a cash subsidy from the city of $11.75 million for each of the affordable towers. (The city paid $11.6 million to secure B2′s 182 affordable units.)

The agreement also spells out the income levels the subsidized apartments are aimed at. We find the definitions quite interesting. “The new agreement specifies that a portion of affordable units would be for low-income families of four that make $48,000 or less, moderate-income families earning up to $88,000 a year, and middle-income families earning up to $104,000,” said the Times.

Atlantic Yards Report took issue with the Times’ claim that 2035 was the “schedule.” AYR said 2035 would be permitted by state documents, but a “ten-year buildout” was always the plan:

As the project approvals were pending in 2006 and 2009, Forest City long pledged a ten-year buildout, and project benefits were always calculated on that timetable. Company CEO/Chairman Bruce Ratner later claimed that ten years “was never supposed to be” the timetable, as the buildout was market-dependent.

So if AYR is correct, the latest agreement just resets the timetable. What do you think of the announcement? Are you impressed with what de Blasio has accomplished?

Plan Expedited for Affordable Units at Atlantic Yards Near Downtown Brooklyn [NY Times]
Forest City Agrees to Accelerate Affordable Housing to 2025 [AYR]
Photo by Colin Miller for NY YIMBY


A 10-story mixed-use building with 50 apartments is going into an empty lot at 27 Albany Avenue in Bed Stuy. The building will have 10 affordable apartments and the rest will be market rate, according to NY YIMBY, which found the above rendering. Construction has not started but the building is supposed to open next year.

The developer is BRP Companies and Marvin Meltzer of Montroy Andersen DeMarco is the architect of record, according to a new building permit and NY YIMBY. It sits across Fulton Street from the Acacia, another 80/20 building that rented out quickly when it debuted last year.

The rendering for 27 Albany shows facing in three earth tones (yellow, red and light gray), with one section of the building set at an angle, and numerous windows, all mullioned.

A description of the building on Loci Architecture’s website says it will be rentals, but Meltzer recently filed a condo application for the building that includes residential.

What do you think of the look?

Revealed: 27 Albany Avenue [NY YIMBY]
Rendering by Marvin Meltzer via NY YIMBY


It seems the Ocean Hill development on the corner of Broadway and Decatur we wrote about Monday is actually part of a much bigger project taking place along Broadway on both sides of Decatur. Two six-story buildings will contain 134 units of supportive and low-income housing as well as retail space. The building at 1696-1712 Broadway will go into a city-owned site that has been an empty lot for decades, pictured above. The one at 1674-1684 Broadway, as previously reported, will go up where Henry Distributors has been selling hardware and building materials since 1970.

As it turns out, owner Stan Henry is actually a partner in the development, along with Alembic Community Development. Among other things, he will help out the project with his extensive local contacts in the building trades. We hope that’s good news for his many long-time employees who live in the area. Perhaps Henry Distributors plans to resume operations in the building’s retail space after construction has finished.

The project will cost $53,000,000 and the architect is Peter Woll. The development will be called The Henry Apartments, presumably after Stan Henry.

The office of the Brooklyn Borough President held a public hearing on the project on April 8. An email to the office was not returned, so we don’t know the outcome. On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the City Council voted to approve it. A construction permit has already been filed for the building at 1674-1684 Broadway.

You can read all about the details of the plan here. Thanks to a Brownstoner commenter for alerting us to the notice.

After years of virtually no private development in this area, now almost every vacant lot in the vicinity has a building going up on it. We live on this block and are pleased with the plans since it will help residents — and the building design is likely to be better than a market rate condo development. We just hope they make an effort to soundproof the building, since it will be right up against the very loud elevated train tracks.

What do you think of it?

Six-Story Mixed-Use Building in the Works at Broadway and Decatur in Ocean Hill [Brownstoner]


As the city considers upzoning Broadway in Bushwick, Bed Stuy and East New York, some developers are taking the plunge and building beneath the J,M,Z elevated tracks despite height restrictions. Affordable housing developer Alembic Community Development is planning a six-story, mixed-use project at 1676 Broadway in Ocean Hill/Bed Stuy, according to a new building application.

That address is new. In 2012, a very large property on the corner consisting of multiple parcels, which has housed wholesale and retail building supply company Henry Distributors at 1674 Broadway for decades, changed hands for $1,030,254. It is now owned by an entity called Broadway Decatur Housing Development Fund Corp., according to ACRIS.

As far as we can figure out, it looks like the new building is going to go up where Henry Distributors is currently located. The 55-unit building will have 35,300 square feet of residential space and 2,692 square feet of commercial. While the building permits say nothing about affordability, it’s very likely going to be some form of low-income housing. Alembic builds low-income and supportive housing like the D’Addario Residence in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, which opened last year with 46 units for low-income and formerly homeless people.

In 1908, this building was a theater called the People’s Pleasure Palace, according to Cinema TreasuresGMAP

06/16/14 9:30am

333 lenox road flatbush

Developer Self Help Community Services is going to build  a 13-story residential complex for low-income seniors next to SUNY Downstate Hospital in Flatbush. New building applications were filed last week for the non-profit development at 333 Lenox Road, which will have 58 units.

IBI Group is designing the 49,793-square-foot building. The development will also include 12 outdoor parking spaces, a roof deck, a computer room and community space. The lot currently has two small houses, and demolition permits have not yet been filed. Self Help bought the property for $999,995 in December 2012, according to public records.

As the Park Slope assisted living center Prospect Park Residence is in litigation over its planned closing, it’s encouraging to see more senior housing being built. GMAP

Photo by Google Maps