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Residents: DeBlasio ‘creating two cities’ by building market-rate housing at Wyckoff Gardens

The Brooklyn Paper
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It is a tale of two cities in one public housing project.

Mayor DeBlasio’s own campaign slogan came back to haunt him on Tuesday night, when residents of Boerum Hill’s Wyckoff Gardens grilled the city’s former public advocate on his plan to fund the cash-strapped housing authority’s backlog of repairs by building market-rate housing on the property during a packed public forum. The development will build a very visible wall between the neighborhood’s haves and have-nots, said one tenant.

“You are still creating two cities. NYCHA will in effect be two cities,” life-long resident Nicole Kent said. “You’ll have a luxurious building for the new people coming in and us still dealing with the amenities that we have.”

DeBlasio spent two hours speaking with several hundred tenants in order to sell them on the city’s plan to pull the city’s largest landlord back from the brink of bankruptcy, part of which is to build 250 market-rate and 250 below-market-rate units on Wyckoff Gardens land.

Hizzoner acknowledged that the new development would be a stark contrast from the crumbling towers that currently occupy the blocks bounded by Baltic, Wyckoff, and Nevins streets and Third Avenue, but insisted it was the only way to fund much-needed repairs to the buildings.

“Will the building built in 1965, that has been put through hell, be as nice as the new building built in 2017? No. I’m being real,” he said. “Will we keep making the building built in 1965 better with the new money we have? Yes.”

But the Wyckoff Gardeners remained skeptical, saying they wanted to see repairs before they’ll believe that any of the dollars from the development — which is still years away — will actually trickle down.

Tenants cited pressing problems with security, elevators, and heating — one woman claimed her apartment had not had heat since 2011 — which they said cannot wait.

“I understand capital needs, but there has not been any real investment in the people here,” said Kent.

DeBlasio promised the tenant’s immediate concerns would be addressed, but maintained the new buildings are the only way to funds improvements in the long-run.

“The only way to get the amount of money you deserve is through this development,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another alternative out there.”

He also pledged that the project would not result in any demolition, eviction, or rent increases for current residents — a concern held by many after the authority notified them of the plans via robocall in September.

The housing authority is still holding meetings with residents to determine exactly where the new buildings will go — it is currently deciding between parking garages and a fenced-off vacant lot on the corners of the property, the body’s head honcho Shola Olatoye told this paper in December.

The authority will start accepting proposals from developers around July and will select one by the end of the year, she said. But it will be at least two years before any construction gets underway, because the entire thing will have to undergo a lengthy public-review process.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/laurenk_gill.

Updated 11:56 am, January 3, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Nothing short of complete economic segregation will satisfy them.
Jan. 12, 2016, 1:18 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
If it does get built, you really think a bunch of yups would wanna live around people from the pj's? Sooner or later, the new would-be residents are gonna get tired of being beaten & robbed on the daily.
Jan. 12, 2016, 2:01 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
That's one way to bring market rates down!
Jan. 12, 2016, 2:44 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
@mike, for real! Thats exactly whats gonna happen if the yups move in to the new bldgs. Some idiot gonna be busy texting on his/her iphone & next thing you know, snatch!
Jan. 12, 2016, 2:52 pm
Patrice Williams says:
It's De Blasio's fault, he loves the homeless - Hello, he married one!!
Jan. 12, 2016, 3:12 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
Plus who the hell wanted to live in boerum hill about 20 yrs ago other then the "undesireables" as some of you put it?
Jan. 12, 2016, 3:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I would rather have real affordable housing for the working class being there instead of housing that claimed to be affordable just for the middle class and up.
Jan. 12, 2016, 4:55 pm
Muhammad Feinsten from Yuppieville says:
Market rate apartments smack dab in the middle of the pjs? Are travel agencies selling a lot of vacation packages to Iraq and Afghanistan?
Jan. 12, 2016, 9:48 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Terrible execution but I like the idea of idiot transplants funding things the true residents this city need, since Albany skimms so much from our resources.
Jan. 12, 2016, 11:19 pm
Momma says:
Dis is momma's house! Momma's rules!
Jan. 13, 2016, 6:39 am
BigFunBunch from OfStupidRacistsOnHere says:
First, there were only 100 residents allowed in, plus maybe another 40 of staff. Just sayin.

And I'm always disappointed by exactly how stupid the comments get on here from racists with little imagination or guts. And that the management of this paper thinks it helps them build their reputation. Fox News much?
Jan. 13, 2016, 12:24 pm
Adamben from Bedstuy says:
Do any of you know the nabe? Middle class people are already living near and around those projects . Anyways, you can't just build for the rich and the poor. Who do you think are paying the taxes.

Btw they've done this on the uws years ago with no one being inconveinced. Stop selling bkln short.
Jan. 13, 2016, 5:05 pm

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