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Overdevelopment in Brooklyn and affordable housing

Our outdated infrastructure should be modernized long ago, even before Sandy. If we will miss the opportunity to do this right before it’s too late, Southern Brooklyn will be soon transformed into one big, ugly, crowded forest of tall condo towers with little opportunity to have good quality of life in safe and quite neighborhood with good schools and convenient local stores.

As Brooklyn is becoming more popular every day, its population grows. Despite Sandy and recent recession, despite sensational newspapers stories about street shootings and other crimes, more people are moving to Brooklyn.

This tendency is especially obvious now, since Manhattan became totally unaffordable for anybody, but wealthy. Unfortunately, the housing stock does not follow up the same trend. Most of developers in Brooklyn prefer to build luxury housing and they don’t care about the plight of middle class and low income residents.

Very often developers simply ignore the needs of the neighborhood, the lack of necessary infrastructure, the outdated sewage systems, the lessons of Sandy. Here are just a few recent examples in Southern Brooklyn.

Residents of Trump Village, Brightwater Towers and Warbasse are very concerned about the possibility of another high-rise building around West 5 Street and Neptune Avenue. Moreover, newspaper reports suggest that developer, a real estate mogul Rubin Schron, is planning to demolish the Trump Village Shopping Center and to replace it with 40-story tower.

Schron bought the shopping center more than a decade ago from Robert Trump, the less-famous younger brother of businessman and TV personality, Donald Trump. As you can guess, Schron will not build any affordable units there. He wants to make a profit and wants to build luxury condominiums.

The store owners at the shopping plaza have to vacate their buildings by April, 2015. Of course, local residents, including many seniors, with limited mobility, are adamantly against the project. They don’t want to lose their shopping oasis, medical offices, cafés and pharmacies, dry cleaners and pizza store. They complain about upcoming congestion and overpopulation.

What will happen to public transportation in the area, if you add so many new residents? How it will affect traffic, sewage system, parking situation?

Reports also say that developer considers adding upscale stores on a first floor for new, wealthier condo owners. And what is about current residents? Who will think about them? Why nobody is thinking about building a new school in the area? Current schools P.S. 100 and I.S. 303 are already filled to the rafters…

Another “wonderful” plan is scheduled for Sheepshead Bay. We learned that developer is considering building 30-floor tower at 1501 Voorhies Avenue, right near subway station. According to a neighborhood blog www.sheepsheadbites.com, Muss Development and AvalonBay submitted the plans to the Department of Buildings outlining a 333-foot tall building, with 266,244 square feet of residential space spread across 250 units. At 30 stories, it will be approximately four times taller than anything else in the area except the St. Mark Church bell tower.

The building will have a lounge, playroom, bike storage, and outdoor recreation space, according to plans filed with the agency. There will be 14,530 square feet of office space and parking for 124 vehicles inside a split-level garage, and another 52 spaces available outside.

The building’s basement level will be used for storage in addition to parking, with mechanicals and utilities elevated to the first floor to protect against flooding. The lot was overwhelmed with water during Superstorm Sandy.

I will not debate here the wisdom of somebody’s decision to buy new expensive apartment that will face the trains. But why exactly Sheepshead Bay needs more congestion in this area? Who asked for more traffic, more noise, more pollution and less affordable housing?

Add to this picture a new building of Oceana condominiums right near Brighton Beach Avenue and you will get an idea about new Southern Brooklyn: expensive, overpopulated, with heavy traffic and a fewer small businesses, noisy and dirty. Welcome to the new reality of our neighborhoods packed with unaffordable housing and very limited options for daily shopping.

The only hope here is to see the energetic and immediate intervention by local elected officials who will represent local residents, not greedy and ignorant developers. We badly need a new affordable housing for working, middle-income families and for low-income seniors.


Ari Kagan
Photo by http://scottkleinberg.com/life/



Comments

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Poster: forward looking
December 4, 2014

brighton beach is loaded with very old,affordable apts now. streets are crowded with diverse immigrant populations. luxury buildings go near empty as new houses are built. wealthy folks move to manhattan beach,shpshd bay ,mill basin.
brighton bch is dirty,crowded, full of crime and horrible in summers. its so bad now, one more unrentable tower on west 5th st. will matter little.

TV shopping center is delapidated, with panhandlers,deranged individuals, and few real shoppers. discount stores,empty restaurant,dumpy medical offices are there. stores are already being vacated-demolition is assured. nowhere to go but up!
nothing but small restaurants in brighton bch,and demolished sites of two biggest stores- a very old,delapidated supermarket,and a huge russian International deli, remain vacant and undeveloped. this area is a wasteland,loaded with banks, produce stores,and 99c stores. politicians never visit and it might as well be on the moon.
Poster: Former X-29 Rider
January 21, 2015

I agree with everything you said. One has to look no further how the MTA and City treated our neighborhood with the elimination of the X-29 Express Bus to Manhattan. The X-29 was a lifeline for people in Trump/Warbass that cannot climb the 4 stories to reach the elevated platforms of the Neptune Avenue and Ocean Parkway subway stations. No one in their right mind will buy a million dollar condo on top of a poison filled land dump next to an elevated train in a known flood zone. This spells disaster for all concerned.

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