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The Times has a sad, frustrating story about how the the New York City Housing Authority may be abandoning its plan to build a community center in East New York’s Marcus Garvey housing project. NYCHA tore down a playground in the project eight years ago and started construction on the 5,500-square-foot center that was supposed to rise in its place. Although the facility is now mostly completed, NYCHA says it may not have the funds to operate the center—or nearly 100 others around the city. NYCHA has taken a big hit, says Councilman Erik Martin Dilan. The children’s programs are obviously in jeopardy, and unless we save them, we might as well set up gang recruitment centers. Kids need their community centers to stay out of trouble. The East New York building, which is supposed to serve the more than 1,048 families who live in the project, has been plagued by delays rooted in rising construction costs and the bankruptcy of a contractor. NYCHA, meanwhile, is facing a $195 million budget deficit this year, which many believe will lead to worsening conditions at public housing around the city.
Promised Brooklyn Community Center May Not Open [NY Times]
NYCHA Funding Shortfall Could Mean Dark Days for Projects [Brownstoner]

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At least six new charter schools are expected to open in Brooklyn within the next two years. Park Slope’s Brooklyn Prospect Charter School has already been reported by the Daily News, but applications for four other K – 8 charter schools were approved by SUNY on the same day, all to be managed by Uncommon Schools. Mini “scholars” at the four schools can expect rigorous instruction from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Excellence Charter School for Girls, in the Bed-Stuy school district, and Leadership Preparatory East New York are scheduled to open this fall. Leadership Preparatory Flatbush and Brownsville are scheduled to open the following school year. Uncommon Schools also announced plans for their first charter high school in Crown Heights, located at 1485 Pacific Street at Kingston Avenue. Uncommon Schools spokeswoman Megan Zug said the organization purposefully chooses low-income neighborhoods “to close the achievement gap between low-income and high-income students.”

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Who could’ve predicted this? Some folks—Marty Markowitz, for one—say notoriously downtrodden and crime-ridden East New York is undergoing a renaissance and could become “the new Harlem.” There’s been a lot of demand for home ownership options in the area, most notably at the massive condo conversion MeadowWood at Gateway, where prices range from $110,500 to $350,000. “There is no question that the neighborhoods with higher rates of home ownership have the greatest stability, schools and community services,” says Markowitz of how ENY is changing. “Brooklynites outside of the ‘Brownstone Belt’ don’t realize that we have an affordability issue in certain neighborhoods and we’re losing families to other areas such as New Jersey. We’re committed to not letting that happen.” Other developments are also boosting the sprawling neighborhood’s profile, including the Related Companies Gateway Center shopping mall, which has a Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, and a supermarket and is going to be expanded in coming years with more big-box retail. Another large ENY home-ownership project, Nehemiah Housing Complex, is also currently being built. The complex will bring more than 2,000 middle-income units to the neighborhoods, with prices starting at $158,000. “Every place has its time,” says Fillmore Real Estate’s John-Paul Ho, who heads the team selling MeadowWood. “Now it’s East New York. It’s like a Cinderella story for the entire area.”
Is East New York the New Harlem? [NY Daily News]
Photo by zachvs.

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Here’s a cheerful dispatch from outside the Brownstone Belt: Sales at Brooklyn’s largest condo conversion are going extremely well, and the development’s lead broker says buyer interest has been overwhelming. Eighty-eight units have gone into contract at East New York’s MeadowWood at Gateway since sales began in September, according to Jean-Paul Ho, a vice president at Fillmore Real Estate and MeadowWood’s director of sales. MeadowWood at Gateway is a humongous former Mitchell-Lama rental complex that used to be called Fairfield Towers. Taconic Investment Partners and Apollo Real Estate Advisors purchased the complex last year and are putting $51 million into capital improvements. Prices at MeadowWood are running between $110,000 and $118,000 for studios; from $169,000 to $200,000 for one-bedrooms; and between $209,000 and $270,000 for two-bedrooms. The prices are ridiculously low, says Ho. It’s the best value in Brooklyn. (The New York State Affordable Housing Corp. and HPD are also offering financing incentives to moderate-income buyers.) Ho predicts that around 350 units will sell over the next year. We’re not selling luxury condos in Dumbo or Brooklyn Heights, he says. But there’s always going to be a demand for affordable housing options in Brooklyn.
Sales Begin at Brooklyn’s Biggest Condo Conversion [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo from MeadowWood at Gateway site.

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While Starrett City’s uncertain future as a middle-class enclave has been grabbing media attention, condo sales have quietly begun at a neighboring former Mitchell-Lama. Sales began this week at East New York’s MeadowWood at Gateway, a sprawling rental complex that used to be known as Fairfield Towers. Nearly 1,000 units are up for grabs, making the property Brooklyn’s largest condo conversion. According to a press release, the apartments are going for between $100,000 and $340,000, though they’ll be offered at a discount to current residents. Taconic Investment Partners and Apollo Real Estate Advisors purchased the complex last year and pledged to put $40 million into rehabbing it. (The condos are being sold by Fillmore Real Estate, which has yet to add the listings to its website.) In light of Starrett City’s possible shift to market-rate rentals, it’ll be interesting to see whether buyers jump at the option to own at a nearby property.
Starrett City’s Owners Look to Leave Mitchell-Lama [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo from Taconicinvestments.com