Lot of gold: City strikes deal with private builders to erect towers on public-housing parking lot

Coming soon: The city tapped Brooklyn-based developer Two Trees to build a pair of 16-story towers on public housing property.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s private public housing!

Two developers will pay the city millions to build a pair of privately owned residential towers on a parking lot for residents of a Boerum Hill public-housing complex, leaders of the New York City Housing Authority recently announced.

Mayor DeBlasio tapped Dumbo-based Two Trees — which is also transforming a former garage in its home nabe into the area’s first full-sized supermarket and erecting the mega-development on the site of Williamsburg’s old Domino Sugar factory — and affordable-housing builder The Arker Companies to construct the twin 16-story towers at Wyckoff Gardens as part of his scheme to pad the agency’s coffers and create more below-market-rate units by developing underutilized housing-authority land.

The companies will receive a 99-year lease on the city-owned Third Avenue lot between Wyckoff and Baltic streets in exchange for constructing the towers that together will hold 500 rental apartments, half of which will be market-rate.

The other 250 will be so-called affordable units reserved for low-income residents, according to housing-authority rep Jasmine Blake, who said that families of three or less that earn no more than $51,540 will be eligible to rent them.

Wyckoff Gardens residents who currently park in the lot will not lose their permits, but will be forced to stow their rides at another existing lot on the grounds, Blake said. And the complex’s displaced drivers who apply to live in the new high-rises will get preferential consideration for 125 of the so-called affordable apartments in the city’s housing lottery, she said.

The cash-strapped housing authority will rake in $37 million from the development, $18.5 million of which will go toward the $43 million in repairs needed at the Boerum Hill complex, according to the spokeswoman. The rest of the cash will be spent making similar fixes at other public-housing sites across the city, she said.

But before the real-estate companies — the head honchos of which both contributed substantially to DeBlasio’s campaign coffers, according to a New York Daily News report — can break ground, the city must approve the project through it’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. Pending that process’s outcome, construction could begin as soon as fall 2019, Blake said.

The city is also tapping developers to construct a similar building on the current parking lot of a Williamsburg public-housing complex, residents of which are rallying against.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:49 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
They pay for the spots...not much but they aren't free..
Feb. 1, 2018, 8:29 am
Jjm from Anywhere says:
Lokks like another housing project to me, only updated.
Feb. 1, 2018, 10:20 am
Rob from NY says:
The City should be doing this at every NYCHA parking lot. Two wishes:
1. Make the buildings were taller to accommodate more affordable apartments. We've got an affordability housing crisis here!
2. Increase the frequency of the B37 and other nearby buses to accommodate more riders. Sure the building is less than 4/10ths of a mile from the massive Atlantic Ave station, but better bus service is needed too.
Feb. 1, 2018, 11:35 am
Adam from Fort Greene says:
They pay $60 for a year which is essentially NOTHING
Feb. 1, 2018, 12:19 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I’m gonna have to agree with the streetsblogger crowd and demand that anyone in public housing not be allowed to own a freaking car.
Feb. 1, 2018, 12:38 pm
Tillie from Cobble Hill says:
Poverty pimping reaches new heights, literally. How else do NYCHA tenants think this mayor will find the money for heating? If the tenants expect heat and water, they should know these luxuries come from luxury apartment builders. They don't come from the mayor. He demonstrated that in January when thousands of NYCHA tenants had no heat in the most severe cold snap so far this year. The mayor took a casual attitude. Now with luxury builders, big time de Blasio donors, any problems will be top of de Blasio's attention.
Feb. 1, 2018, 1:23 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering how people struggling to pay rent can afford a car.
Feb. 1, 2018, 3:36 pm
BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
Wow, a lot of poverty shaming going on here. Hate to see that. Now, on the public policy issue, if the city (ie, the people) are going to give up land for private development, the building should be 150 stories with 75% set aside as below market rate.

Everybody wins.
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:05 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Yes, by all means, let's deny people the ability to get to and from jobs, or get their kids to and from schools. That way no one can ever lift themselves out of the projects. Brilliant thinking.

It's not difficult to buy a used car online for a couple of hundred bucks, and insure it with a basic policy for a small premium when it provides mobility for families.
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:21 pm
Jjm from Anywhere says:
I guess im the only 1 who sees the bjg pucture with this. They're gonna let private developers build market-rate housing on nycha land & have them turn it over to nycha & boom, it'll be another housing project.
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:26 pm
Maureen from Williamsburg says:
Many living in NYCHA buildings are seniors or physically handicapped or on section 8...not all, but many. Denying them ownership of a car says a lot about those in this feed. The parking is not free, but very discounted. No one has mentioned what life is like in these heat, mold etc. Maybe one of you would like to move in?
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:29 pm
Maureen from Williamsburg says:
PS Adam...RESIDENTS pay more than $60 a year for those spots and by the way NON RESIDENTS CAN BUY A SPACE TOO...WAS $650 LAST YEAR...
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:31 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
If someone can afford a car, which the overwhelming majority would agree is a luxury, then no way should they get to live in subsidized housing.
Feb. 1, 2018, 4:59 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
Cars are indeed a luxury since buying a new one is expensive and used cars need lots of maintenance. With a transit system that runs 24/7, people living in NYCHA housing can get around easily with transit. For many commutes, transit is a better option than a car.
Feb. 1, 2018, 6:54 pm
Rob from NY says:
One reason why NYCHA residents may need a car is due to "job sprawl". Due to a lack of policies in most states restricting where businesses can set-up -- like near transit -- many employers are inaccessible or via ridiculously long transit rides.

We need to get Governor Cuomo to enact policies that disincentivize employers to locate far from transit. One recent example of him doing the opposite is with the Islanders hockey at Belmont. LIRR service is awful there, and probably won't improve. So anyone who works for the Islanders just had their transit-accessible commute turned into an expensive nightmare. Anyone want to guess how much dough the Islanders will get for this move from taxpayers?

And just an fyi: the cost to a household of an average car in the US is about $8,500, and that excludes parking. According to aaa.
Feb. 1, 2018, 10:24 pm
Gargoyle from Newkirk Plaza says:
I wonder how many of those who object to car ownership by public housing tenants live in rent controlled apartments?
Feb. 2, 2018, 2:01 am
Jjm from Anywhere says:
@rob from ny, there's bus service that runs around the clock in that area. The N6 if you're traveling east & the Q2/Q110 if you're going west.
Feb. 2, 2018, 6:57 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
"If someone can afford a car...then no way should they get to live in subsidized housing." --- Henry, do apply the same philosophy to residents of the Bay Ridge Towers and the Shore Hill senior housing? Rather large parking lots on the Towers property.
Feb. 2, 2018, 8:30 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
The statements above of outrage concerning poor people living in NYCHA owning cars is truly dispicable. The people making these statements have no sympathy or compasion for those with less means, and I would go further and state their empty lives compels them to lash out at those with less means to justify their bleak existance on earth. And by the way, haters, you ain't rich either.
Feb. 2, 2018, 9:11 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
The difference is people living in the Bay Ridge Towers are taxpayers that own (shares in) their own apartments, not bloodsucking parasites in the projects living off the taxpayers. As far as the senior housing, I’m pretty sure most of the few spots are used by guests.
Feb. 2, 2018, 8:56 pm
samir kabir from downtown says:
I bet not many people who responded to this article even personally know a resident from public housing. Therefore the bonehead comments.
Feb. 3, 2018, 6:32 am
Bill from park slope says:
Come on Samir... bonehead comments? Aren't you the one who got his panties in a twist because the cookery store was highlighted as "women-owned"? Talk about boneheaded.
Feb. 3, 2018, 3:38 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
They are still government subsidized buildings.
Feb. 3, 2018, 9:25 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge: "demand that anyone in public housing not be allowed to own a freaking car."

Seriously? You'd rather they not have a car because you know what others should and shouldn't have? They can get to jobs and earn money by commuting to a transit desert. Or their kids are getting a better education somewhere super-far from reasonable transit, so they should stick to poorer options?

No doubt there are abuses of the system, but you're really being ridiculous.
Feb. 5, 2018, 1:58 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
So car owners that live in the projects aren’t just fat, selfish, planet killing monsters like the rest of car owners? I thought the idea was to shame everyone onto public transportation.
Feb. 5, 2018, 4:53 pm

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