NYC Development: Going Up, Closing Down

Friday, June 13, 2014

A check-in on some notable developments and the state of affordable housing for many New Yorkers. City Councilman Brad Lander (D-39), discusses the threatened closing of Prospect Park Residence, an assisted-living facility for seniors, as well as other council items.

Then, WNYC development reporter Janet Babin discusses a proposed big new big building that may cast shadows across Prospect Park; the rally to save cheap housing at Stuy Town; and how the de Blasio affordable housing push is starting to shake out.


Janet Babin and Brad Lander

Comments [26]

I live in a leaky HPD built coop from NYC

We need better standards and oversight when building affordable housing. The coop I live in built by BFC Development (Donald Capoccia) & L&M Management has millions of dollars of construction defects. HPD goes through a new commissioner every 2 years and each one of them has left to go work for developers. These developers sit on REBNY board and are the largest donors to Gov Andrew Cuomo & Mayor Deblasio. Nothing is done to make them fix repairs from the shoddy workmanship from poor oversight by HPD, the Developer and the buildings dept. and constituents who thought they were buying an affordable home are left having to pay to fix the issues.

A very good example of this was a recent NY Daily News Article -

Jun. 14 2014 10:04 PM


THANK YOU for an interesting post and informtive post.

(unlike most of the knuckleheads here)

Jun. 13 2014 07:37 PM
Leah from PLG-Chester Court Brooklyn

I live in PLG and I am a member of PPEN ( Actually I am really a NIMBY because my back yard borders on the 626 Flatbush Ave property. I am in favor of a lower building with MORE density and more affordable, even though it will then be even closer to my backyard. A building that fits into the context and character of this neighborhood--except for one building built in the 1960s, all below 7 stories, mostly 6 and below. Very dense rent stabilized buildings along Flatbush and Ocean, next to the park. This neighborhood is more than 60% African American and Caribbean, low and middle income (many families in this neighborhood are below the poverty line and are on food stamps.) But this is a friendly neighborhood, where the neighborhood merchants know you, and you know your neighbors--why shouldn't we want to keep that? Brad Lander was absolutely correct in saying that responsible development means involving the neighborhood in determining its future. We weren't consulted and neither was our Community Board or the established neighborhood associations. And why shouldn't we want to protect Prospect Park--used by all of Brooklyn of every ethnicity and every income. This is a neighborhood where diversity is valued--that's why I wanted to live here. And I'm willing to fight for it even though, as I said, a lower building with more affordable units and denser will shadow my house more than the current plan.

Jun. 13 2014 02:26 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from NYC

Hi, I think that all New Yorkers deserve a good and affordable place to live. As someone who has had uneasy and uncertain housing experiences, I can tell you that it is no way to exist. And those who profit from the housing misery of others are more than scum. Eugenia Renskoff

Jun. 13 2014 01:41 PM

For many there is a crazy assumption that height=density. If you have a give Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and go taller you are simply using less of the lot, not gaining usable living space. Under r7-1 the 'height factor' building formula actually allows a LOWER FAR than is allowed under the 'quality' (shorter, stouter) formula. Some folks also assume that the desire to keep neighborhood character and build contextually means an opposition to affordable housing. Nothing can be further from the truth.

If you look at a density heat map of Brooklyn you will see that these2 park adjacent sure look like the most densely populated in Brooklyn. Along Flatbush Avenue, Ocean Avenue and adjacent streets and dead-end courts there are many 6-story buildings with Floor-Area-Ratios of 5 ; 626 is set to be a skinny building in the middle of a huge lot (FAR of only 3.44). So much more could be built there &, despite distortions by some, most in the community (including official PPEN positions) want MORE truly affordable housing. That means housing for folks making way below the 50% of Area Median Income (the standard for most of the units at 626) and more reflective of ACTUAL NEIGHBORHOOD INCOME. AMI=~$80k, Neighborhood=~ $35-40k, so 50%AMI is TO HIGH for the lower income earners in the neighborhood (AMI & Neighborhood average income numbers based on a family of 4).

It's having to deal with the those who oversimplify things and assume that by not being willing to give up on a nice (though no affluent) quality of life we're not doing our bit for team NYC that takes away from the real issues in this conversation. The Ocean/Flatbush corridor has very high density by Brooklyn standards (and it stays dense for miles); we don’t ‘owe’ any other neighborhood anything. That said truly affordable housing in a proportion that is representative of our neighborhood would help.
Also folks seriously Secondary Displacement IS real. Saying 'MORE=BETTER' till you're blue in the face doesn't make it so. If the mix is heavy for luxury it incentivizes thuggish tactics to warehouse existing rent regulated units. This is the real world and that's what's already happening; more luxury units will accelerate it and retard efforts to protect tenants. Please tell me in which of the following neighborhoods the addition of luxury units has lowered rents:
Anywhere in Brooklyn?

Some politicians seem to suffer from a delusion; they think it’s still the ‘90s and you need to give away the farm to get developers to build.
Maybe at some point somewhere in the calculations of how to treat PLG some tiny consideration should be given to the existing community that has done so much for so long to make this a nice place to live before we were 'On the map'. Maybe at some point community shouldn't be the very last consideration.

The fact that developers start w/ the upper hand & our community isn’t even consulted when state money is used to hurt us is just icing on the cake.

Jun. 13 2014 12:48 PM

Osama bin Laden had NOTHING on Haysha Deitsch!

Jun. 13 2014 12:12 PM
Nancy from Prospect Lefferts Gardens

David Kramer of Hudson Companies, Inc., the developer who wants to build the 23-story building in Prospect Lefferts Gardens could build out instead of up because he has bought up a large enough footprint of land. In fact, he could actually build more units of housing if he built out over his lot instead of building a tower. And he could still make a profit doing it. He doesn't want to because he hopes to make 2 million dollars clear profit each year by creating the luxury housing that comes with views of Prospect Park. If you really care about creating more housing for ordinary New Yorkers, join us in asking the developer to build out on his lot instead of up! One thing that wasn't mentioned on the show is that Kramer has received 72 million dollars in loans from the state to build his building. Just think if that money (our money!) had been given to a developer that was truly going to build affordable housing instead of mostly luxury housing which will end up result in a net loss in housing as rents in buildings around the tower rise. Also, in terms of density, our neighborhood is already THE DENSEST neighborhood in Brooklyn (check the census). If more is going to be built in our neighborhood, the city has to step up with more money for schools, infrastructure, etc. There is no plan for that at this time. Visit Prospect Park East Network at for more information on this building and our reasons for opposing it.

Jun. 13 2014 11:23 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

The landlord who continued to rent out "affordable" apartments to senior citizens KNOWING that he was going to be evicting them all just so he could collect a few more months rent is an example of pure evil. Whet he did goes beyond simple greed. Even Gordon Gecko would look upon this creature as a piece of dehumanized waste.

I pray to the Gods of justice that the judge in this case finds some legal pretext to bring about a truly just and truly fair result. Unfortunately, the way law are written is, more often than not, for the benefit of the rich so they can legally steal and screw the poor and the powerless....which is exactly what the outcome will be if the lousy rotten maleficent landlord is allowed to get away with these tactics.

At the very LEAST he should be compelled to provide housing to the people he screwed in a different place at the agreed upon rent levels.....even if he has to pay the difference out of his own pocket.

Clearly, this creature is a multimillionaire. Being compelled to do the right thing will cost him nothing in terms of the actual quality of his life.......for him it's all about greed and more than that.....the pleasure he seems to be getting from sadistically shafting his victims. These are the actions of a sociopath.

Unfortunately, too many of our laws are written for the benefit of such monied sick individuals and institutions.

Jun. 13 2014 10:42 AM

Haysha Deitsch: The American Airlines Flight 11 of real estate.

Jun. 13 2014 10:37 AM

Yes, interesting how the poor take advantage of rent stabilization laws even more than the wealthy, but people who hate laws refuse to talk about them.

Jun. 13 2014 10:35 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

Yes, interesting how the wealthy take advantage of rent stabilization laws.

Jun. 13 2014 10:33 AM

How many families, how many lives are DESTROYED by the financial stress caused by these GREEDY real estate TERRORISTS!!??

Jun. 13 2014 10:30 AM

These GREEDY BASTARDS are real estate TERRORISTS!!

Jun. 13 2014 10:28 AM

"you can't have cities without shadows."
--that's just not true. It has happened in many places in europe. why make stuff up?

Jun. 13 2014 10:28 AM

"quite prosperous neighborhoods" funny, the neighborhoods you mention were depressed poor areas when the laws to protect tenants were passed. See how rent laws raise the value of an area?

Jun. 13 2014 10:26 AM

It's interesting that the other neighborhoods around Prospect Park have been allowed to down-zone, but the predominantly black neighborhood of Prospect/Lefferts Gardens is blocked.

Jun. 13 2014 10:26 AM

Regarding Nancy, the previous caller: the simple fact is this: people want to live in NYC and there is a finite supply of housing in NYC. This means that NYC will be an expensive place to live. The only solution to this is to increase the supply of housing, which means building up. If you oppose building taller buildings then you oppose affordable housing, full stop. Rent stabilization is a temporary solution and will necessarily fail in the long term; the political economy simply doesn't support it.

Jun. 13 2014 10:24 AM
BK from Hoboken

As for the LICH closing, I don't see how in America the government can force an institution to keep open a money losing business.

Jun. 13 2014 10:23 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

I recall that the Times had a story a couple of years ago that quite prosperous neighborhoods are the real beneficiaries of rent "control." West Village, Upper West Side, etc. Furthermore, it is the privileged in neighborhoods such as these (and newly gentrified Prospect Park adjacent neighborhoods) who work hard to keep others out. While I am not a fan of what is significant landlord greed in this city, we cannot have rents come down if everything is protected as low rise for the wealthy who managed to get in before the rest of us.

Jun. 13 2014 10:22 AM
Brooklyn Resident from Brooklyn

I realize this may not be entirely relevant to the discussion but....
I am wondering why the areas surrounding Brooklyn Heights are being barraged with new buildings (including the one that now towers above the Brooklyn Bridge) there will be so much empty space with the departure of Jehovah Witness community. Does anyone know what the plans are for all the buildings they currently occupy, besides the hotel construction on Montague street.

Jun. 13 2014 10:21 AM
BK from Hoboken

I think that it's hilarious that environmentally conscious public radio listeners don't see that building dense near good public transportation has the best impact on reducing emissions. Of course the locals fighting are just a bunch of NIMBYs. What else is new.

Jun. 13 2014 10:20 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Density is inevitable as people do want to live in cities close to work and to each other. There is no shortage of land in the US, and yet it seems everyone wants to live back in cities again, especially here in New York. But density has to be done with sense. I say density with sensitivity (copyrite jgarbuz)!
But seriously is what is needed is more police presence inside dense complexes. They need serious thinking about places for both kids and cars, and what to do about both. That was and remains the problem with the housing projects, not handling density correctly. Police should be inside buildings not outside. Kids should have places to "hang out" but where they can safely play sports and do other activities. And of course, one has think about what to do with cars and parking.

Jun. 13 2014 10:19 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Closing a senior residence? Nothing to it. A Real Estate pro can do that with one arm tied behind his back. Don't forget they managed to shut down an entire full-service hospital to make way for luxury condos.

Jun. 13 2014 10:13 AM
John from office

Note the name of this evil landlord. Hasidic community does not play well with the other children

Jun. 13 2014 10:13 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Mr. Lander is 100% correct. In addition, no landlord should be sacrificing human beings in favor of profit. It is unethical and immoral.

Jun. 13 2014 10:10 AM

Build, build, build .....vertical cities are carbon friendly ... and density is a GOOD THING !!!! I thought LEFTIES hated the suburbs ... you can't have cities without shadows.
What whiners.
Too many BANANAs = Build Absolutely Nothing Absolutely Nowhere Anytime.

YIMBY !!! see:

Jun. 13 2014 10:06 AM

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