Fifteen years ago, the city emptied out the block-long Prospect Plaza housing project in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, promising to redevelop and move the 1,500 former residents back in. Last year, NYCHA finally demolished the four dilapidated apartment towers and began construction on 364 units of affordable housing.
YIMBY recently stopped by the site, located on Prospect Place between Saratoga and Howard Avenues. Phase 1 of the development has taken shape on the north side of Prospect Place, and windows are already going in on both buildings. They’ll consist of four-story, townhouse-style walkups and a five-and-a-half story elevator building with 148 apartments, according to the master plan by Dattner Architects.
The next phase will bring 111 units spread between townhouse-style walk-ups and taller elevator buildings to the south side of Prospect Place. A look behind the fence there reveals that foundation work has begun on two more buildings.
The final piece will be a four-and-a-half story, 105-unit development that wraps around a central courtyard, situated on a large property bounded by Park Place, Sterling Place, Howard and Saratoga Avenues. This part of the project, the Saratoga Site, will also include a 22,000-square-foot supermarket, 12,000 square feet for a community facility, and a rooftop greenhouse.
NYCHA will manage 80 apartments, and the remaining 284 units will be set aside for families making no more than 60% of the Area Median Income, or $49,800 for a family of four.
Construction signage says that the first two buildings are expected to finish by July 2016, and phase 2 is supposed to wrap in December 2016. Blue Sea Development is building the project on behalf of NYCHA and HPD.
Dattner’s design is quite handsome, offering a major upgrade compared to the previous ’70s era housing projects and many of the nearby new construction Fedders buildings. The city could easily have gotten a variance to build taller, but it chose to stick with the site’s fairly low density and only build up to about six stories.
While the project might benefit from more height and additional units (either market rate or affordable), city agencies and the architects who crafted the site plan probably wanted to avoid replicating the now-demolished 12- and 15-story housing blocks, which ultimately came to symbolize blight and NYCHA’s shocking mismanagement.