Prospect Lefferts Gardens’ 60 Clarkson has ornate plaster moldings, a courtyard and appalling conditions for those who call it home. Though a private apartment building, 60 Clarkson Avenue is used as emergency housing for homeless families as part of the Giuliani-era cluster-site program. The New York Times reported that the building has racked up hundreds of housing violations — including for mold, cockroach infestations and rats.

Deplored by the de Blasio administration as well as the Department of Investigation, cluster-site housing pays private landlords — in the case of 60 Clarkson, Barry Hers — almost $2,500 a month per family for housing and services. If not used for cluster housing, many of the units in these buildings would be rent-controlled, meaning landlords would receive lower rents from permanent tenants than they currently do from the city for homeless residents.


421-A Tax Abatements Brooklyn Landlords

The naysayers of tax abatement program 421-a have new ammunition. The New York Times reported that developers of almost 200 buildings citywide — the majority in Brooklyn — failed to meet the requirements of the 421-a program. Close to 2,500 apartments subsidized by the program have neither been made into affordable units nor put on a rent-stabilization roll as required.

Without the regulation of rent stabilization, owners may remove tenants and sell the units at their convenience.



New York is in a housing crisis, for both affordable and market rate units. So de Blasio’s plan to lease NYCHA land to developers in exchange for cash and more affordable and market rate apartments should appease everyone, right?

Nope. Opponents argue that leasing public land to private developers short-changes the community. But with rising rates of homelessness and growing demand for more units, do the wants of the greater good outweigh the current use of public property?



The City is moving ahead with plans for the long-delayed public housing project in Brownsville known as Prospect Plaza. On Monday, the New York City Housing Authority filed plans for the third and final building in the complex, at 1845 Sterling Place. (The Real Deal was the first to write about the filing; NY YIMBY had more info.)

In 2000, the city moved 1,500 residents out of three behemoth public housing towers at the site, saying they’d have new apartments for residents by 2005. But as readers may recall, it wasn’t until 2014 that NYCHA and developers finally demolished the long-vacant buildings.



Brooklyn created more affordable units in the 2015 fiscal year than any other New York borough, with 3,069 newly built apartments and another 3,846 retained, according to amNewYork.

It’s a powerful step in the right direction, but we should remember that this number is nowhere near enough to meet the demand for affordable housing in the city. Nearly 60,000 people applied for units in a single Greenpoint building last year. And, as Brownstoner wrote just last week, the city’s anticipated building boom won’t make Brooklyn more affordable.


Brooklyn Development Report

Roughly 22,000 new apartments are slated be built in Brooklyn between now and 2019, according to a CityRealty report (PDF) released Tuesday. The amount of construction in Brooklyn is predicted to more than double in the next two years — reaching a 10-year high in 2016, only to be topped again in 2017.

Could all these new apartments stem the rising tide of home prices? Jonathan Miller, housing analyst and President of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers, told Brownstoner:

“The answer is yes and no. We have 5,800 new units coming on in 2017 — more than double the number this year — but the product being built is luxury. It’s skewed towards the higher end, and so it doesn’t solve the affordability problem for a large swath of the market — for studios and one-bedrooms. The new development doesn’t satiate the demand for typical rental apartments in Brooklyn.”



The 6,000-square-foot rooftop garden designed by James Corner Field Operations at 60 Water Street in Dumbo is complete. Brownstoner toured it when it was under construction, in April.

The landscape designer also had a hand in The High Line and is creating new gardens for the San Francisco Presidio and the Seattle Central Waterfront. (more…)


Mayor Bill de Blasio is about to announce a major initiative requiring developers to build affordable housing in exchange for exceptions to zoning requirements, according to a story in Capital NY. This will have a significant impact on affordable housing and development in Brooklyn — including several developments already in the works.

What This Means
The new plan is a type of “mandatory inclusionary zoning” that applies only to private rezonings, aka a “spot rezoning.” The new requirement will mean that any time a developer asks the city to approve an exemption to the existing zoning for residential construction on a specific site — as developer Fortis is currently requesting for its planned towers at Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill — 25 to 30 percent of their units must be set aside for affordable housing.

In many ways, the plan is codifying — and standardizing — a practice the de Blasio administration has already been aggressively pursuing on an individual, case-by-case basis. (more…)


The last traces of the arson fires that devastated this stretch of Broadway and nearby blocks in Ocean Hill and Bushwick in the 1970s are slowly being erased by new development here.

Men have been busy toiling away on the largest and most prominent of these developments under the elevated J train track here on the corner of Broadway and Decatur Street in Ocean Hill since a big public groundbreaking in March.

A vacant, City-owned lot for decades, this was once a row of stores with apartments above and will soon be so again. (more…)


Last night a public hearing on the controversial residential towers to be built on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park drew an overflow crowd and ran more than two hours long. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation needs a modification of the park’s General Project Plan to allow affordable housing in the park and in these particular buildings. Community Board 2 approved the modification earlier this month and this hearing was the next step in the approval process.

“The place was totally full (occupancy limit: 350), with another hundred people outside the hall, listening on speakers,” said Brownstoner commenter Andrew Porter.

The meeting was “boisterous. Thank goodness the air conditioning was fine,” he added. (more…)

Bushwick residents packed a town hall meeting convened by a local community group to push for affordable housing at the massive Rheingold Brewery development in Bushwick. City Council Member Antonio Reynoso called on developer Rabsky to live up to a 2013 promise made by its predecessor, developer Read Property, to include affordable housing.

The former industrial space, which is being redeveloped as apartments and shops, covers about 10 city blocks close to Flushing and Bushwick avenues. However, the protest may be much ado about nothing.

Rabsky already said in June it has every intention of including affordable housing in its developments. The community group, the Rheingold Construction Committee, apparently isn’t buying it.  (more…)

382 Lefferts Avenue

Last week the application period began for 46 affordable units at 382 Lefferts Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. There are five studios, 28 one bedrooms and 13 two bedroom apartments for rent to those who meet the requirements and win placement in the lottery. The availability of the units was first reported by DNAinfo.

Studio apartments will cost $1,909 a month for those earning between $67,406 and $96,800 a year. One-bedrooms are $2,047 a month and two-bedroom units are $2,465 a month for those earning between $86,572 a year and as much as $138,080 a year, depending on the number of people living in the unit. Applications are due by September 22.

This building was a bit of a test case for the city. In the wake of the financial crisis with developments stalled, the city launched its $20,000,000 Housing Asset Renewal Program. The goal was to provide funding to developers who were unable to finish their buildings in exchange for converting their market-rate projects to affordable housing. This building was the first to accept funding from HARP way back in 2011.