As Mayor Bill de Blasio pushes developers and city agencies to develop 80,000 new apartments in the next decade, the city housing agency has re-activated two Bloomberg-era programs that encourage building affordable housing on small, city-owned lots.
Most of these empty lots are in eastern Brooklyn—the eastern edge of Crown Heights, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, and East New York. In the fall, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed plans for 16 townhouses on city-owned properties across these neighborhoods. Those homes will be developed under the New Infill Home Opportunities Program (NIHOP), which subsidizes townhouse construction for families who earn anywhere from 80 to 130 percent of the Area Median Income.
Now, the agency is planning to develop apartments under NIHOP’s counterpart for rentals, the Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP). The policy offers developers up to $100,000 in public funding for each apartment constructed on city-owned land. Builders can rent apartments to families with a broad range of income levels, from folks earning 30 percent AMI ($24,480 for a three-person household) to 165 percent AMI ($134,640 for a family of three).
Applications were filed on Tuesday for a four-story, 17-unit building at 1900 Park Place, on the border between Ocean Hill and Brownsville. The development would rise on a U-shaped collection of lots, most of which the city has held onto since 1979. The site fronts all of Park Place between Eastern Parkway and Thomas S. Boyland Street, and portions of Thoms S. Boyland, too.
The 17 apartments would be divided across 19,658 square feet, and average units would measure 1,667 square feet. Those relatively spacious units mean the apartments will likely be three-bedrooms designed for families.
Hudson Square-based architecture firm Latent Productions applied for the permits.
The city has neglected this neighborhood for a long time. While the East New York rezoning promises positive changes for parts of East New York and Ocean Hill, officials seem to have forgotten about Brownsville, which sits right next door. The new zoning for Ocean Hill stops at East New York Avenue and Mother Gaston Boulevard, a couple blocks northeast of this site. And several blocks of Eastern Parkway seem destined to remain a wasteland, unless the city rezones them from industrial to residential. A hotel that was just filed around the corner, at 1668 Eastern Parkway, illustrates how little the heavy commercial zoning does for this area.
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