Senior, Low-Income Affordable Housing Will Replace City-Owned Prospect Heights Parking Lots

The site at 542 Dean Street in 2020. Photo via Google Maps

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A plan to build a new, completely affordable housing development in Prospect Heights is starting to move forward.

The project will be constructed across two city-owned sites. The first is located at 542 Dean Street and the second at 516 Bergen Street (once the site of a mysterious sound coming off the building next door, which was detailed by a Brownstoner reader in 2009).

Both properties are near to one another and are currently being used as parking lots. The site on Bergen Street fronts Dean Playground, which is next door to the site on Dean Street.

HPD plans to ask for a rezoning, but “continue to explore” what zoning they think is necessary for the project, according to their website. They had previously considered an R7A zoning district, which would allow buildings up to nine stories.

Image via HPD

According to HPD, which sent out an RFP targeting certified Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) developers last week, the project will include approximately 180 new affordable units — 80 at the Dean site, which will be dedicated to seniors, and 100 at the Bergen site, which will “primarily serve low-income families.”

“The development of a minimum of 80 affordable homes for seniors and the focus on serving low-income families is a great win for Prospect Heights and our deserving elders,” said Councilmember Laurie Cumbo in a statement.

The site 516 Bergen Street in 2018. Photo via Google Maps

Virtual meetings addressing neighborhood needs were held between October 2020 and January 2021, hosted by the Department of City Planning, Community Board 8 and Council Member Cumbo. A report detailing those meetings said that residents, while concerned about safety and noise issues involving the eventual construction, suggested more open space, street trees and dedicated space for residential programming.

Some residents, including members of the North Prospect Heights Association, think the project can happen at the current zoning, which allows buildings as high as four to five stories. They also contend the city has not reached out to the community in the ways they claimed, according to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report.

When completed, the project will join an already dense area with neighbors such as the multi-building Pacific Park complex.

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