“Brooklyn’s good. Brooklyn’s funky. Brooklyn’s happening.” – Waris Dirie
Looking for a move to one of Brooklyn’s vibrant neighborhoods? Afraid you might be priced out by the growing demand? Well, worry no more! Brooklyn is offering more affordable housing options than ever before, and they are coming to the most desirable neighborhoods in town.
Downtown Brooklyn, Greenpoint, and Prospect Heights are in the process of developing ambitious and modern mixed-use housing with a large chunk dedicated to affordable housing. The fine line between welcoming growth while maintaining the cultural integrity and diversity of New York’s most in-demand borough has been a top priority for Mayor de Blasio, to keep the Brooklynites in their neighborhoods, and attract middle and lower income families.
City Point, Pacific Park and Greenpoint Landing are the three largest developments in Brooklyn. They are offering the largest numbers of affordable units in transitional neighborhoods. These spots will be home to about 75% of the 3,069 newly constructed affordable Brooklyn units that the city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development approved in the 2015 fiscal year. An additional 3,846 affordable apartments in the borough were created by preservation.” What is even considered ‘affordable” in NYC, with constantly rising rents? The current benchmark is “A family of four making less than $43,150 a year– 50% the AMI– can apply for a four-bedroom apartment with gas and electricity included that rents for $1,252.”
Let’s take a closer look at Brooklyn’s newest affordable housing developments, and the vibrant neighborhoods they support:
The New York Post recently showcased the changing landscape of Downtown Brooklyn. “Once known for its fast-food joints and sketchy bodegas, Downtown Brooklyn is on the rise with a wave of hot new restaurants and bars.”
Literally built in place of a former bodega, Livingston Manor is named after the provincial Catskills location, and is the perfect spot for Happy Hour; offering daily deals on craft cocktails and rich microbrews, while providing fantastic small plates of charcuterie and fine cheeses. “This is the fastest growing neighborhood in Brooklyn right now,” Livingston Manor co-owner Matt Roff told Brooklyn Magazine. Rolf is well known for creating some of the borough’s hottest spots over the past decade, including SouthPaw and Franklin Park.
A spurt of development, namely City Point, bucks the notion that a neighborhood creates a destination. City Point has helped the destination create a neighborhood. Boasting the largest mixed-use development in Brooklyn, City Point holds a very community-minded philosophy. “By Brooklyn, For Brooklyn is not just a catchy slogan: it defines City Point’s commitment to local employment and contracting opportunities, and to bringing in the best new retailers and food purveyors for our community.” Noting that “over $35 million in contracting went to local, minority and women-owned construction companies. In addition to the 1000’s of construction jobs created, by the end of Phase 2, the finished site will provide 900+ jobs for local residents.”
PACIFIC PARK (Prospect Heights)
Bordering Prospect Park, Prospect Heights is registered as one of New York’s historic districts. It offers a little bit of everything that is quintessentially Brooklyn. A culturally diverse spot with local eateries, cozy bars and vast green spaces. An area with strong Caribbean and African American roots, it is home to Labor Day’s West Indian Carnival, the largest parade in New York.
The neighborhood offers an abundance of art and cultural gatherings, with easy access to the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Free musical events run through the summer at Prospect Park. The streets are eclectic, where Brownstones mix with high-rise buildings, melding old and new Brooklyn in a way that is all it’s own.
In one of the most family friendly neighborhoods in NYC, local gems often get overlooked by Brooklyn’s more notable attractions. Mommy Poppins recently named Underhill Playground one of the Top 10 Places to Play in Prospect Heights, “This is a sweet neighborhood playground where people know each other and the kids are sure to have a blast. The play structures can support children of various ages, and the water feature in the middle makes kids scream with delight. There are also benches, a bathroom and some shade.”
Originally developed by famed architect Frank Gehry (formerly called Atlantic Yards), the ambitious Pacific Park development features a large transportation hub, Brooklyn’s answer to Grand Central Station. Pacific Park is “connected to twelve subway lines, the Long Island Railroad, service from sixteen bus lines, multiple roadways, and access to ferries on the Brooklyn waterfront are all within walking distance- accessible to Manhattan in mere minutes.” The development offers retail and restaurants, while Barclays Center provides world class entertainment, and major sporting event- hosting both NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and NHL’s New York Islanders.
An ambitious project spread over 22 acres, Pacific Park has broken ground on three buildings since December 2014: 38 Sixth Avenue, a 303-unit, 100-percent affordable apartment building; 535 Carlton, a 100-percent affordable apartment building; and 550 Vanderbilt, a market-rate condominium building. B2 is located at 461 Dean Street. Slated to be the world’s tallest modular structure, B2 is set to open in late 2016- containing 363 units, with 50% affordable, and the other 50% going for market rate.
GREENPOINT LANDING (Greenpoint)
Lauded as the “next Williamsburg” with the G Line running through it, Greenpoint is bordered by the East River, Newtown Creek, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and North 12th Street. A neighborhood full of classic brownstones and intimate bars, the dining culture has been rich since the days when the community was predominantly made up of Polish immigrants. Old school favorites like Peter Pan Donuts mingle with the hottest new spots for foodies, such as Glasserie.
Warsaw at the Polish National Home proudly touts it’s the place “Where Punk Meets Perogies”. Widely known as one of New York’s hottest rock clubs, The Warsaw is best known as a spot to nurture Brooklyn’s music scene, while soaking up the beer with a number of traditional Polish dishes. Among corners sprinkled with small boutiques and yoga studios Greenpoint offers an unassuming, low-key vibe. A young couple that recently left Long Island City told the New York Post of their pilgrimage to Greenpoint: “We just sort of fell in love with the charm of it, you have the Manhattan skyline right there, but it feels cozier and more intimate than a lot of other parts of the city.”
Deemed the largest development on the waterfront, work is currently underway on Greenpoint Landing’s two buildings that will house a portion of the complex’s roughly 1,400 affordable units, says Greenpoint Landing Associates’ Johanna Greenbaum. In addition to residential space, the site will include retail, some 4 acres on public open space and a 640-seat pre-K-to-8 public school.
The future of New York’s favorite borough is a community made up of Brooklynites and newcomers alike; with development and services dedicated to bringing jobs to local residents. Brooklyn is offering more affordable housing options than ever before, and they are coming to the most desirable neighborhoods in town. The borough is thriving, it’s evolution over the past decade has emerged (not without it’s growing pains) from Manhattan’s shadow to become a metropolitan city all it’s own.
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