A Brownville public housing development, which displaced over 1,000 low-income residents nine years ago for alleged renovations, is now being slated for redevelopment as a mixed-income project with retail on the ground floor.
The Prospect Plaza Housing Development at 1773 Prospect Plaza was shuttered in 2003 by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for planned renovations. This includes four 12- and 15-story buildings with 368 apartments, and the closing displaced 1,172 residents, who were told they could return upon completion.
However, in 2007 the project was suspended after it was determined that it was financially infeasible to renovate the towers.
Then this month NYCHA announced jointly with the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) that it issued a call for developers to design, construct and operate a mixed-use development that will result in a minimum of 80 NYCHA public housing units and 280 affordable housing units along with ground-floor retail, community facility space and open space.
“This is outrageous,” said Milton Bolton, former Prospect Plaza Tenant Association President who has been a long-standing supporter of making sure the Plaza’s status returns to the NYCHA residents. “All 360 units was supposed to be NYCHA housing”
Bolton noted that according to the new plans, only 22 percent of the units will be for NYCHA tenants and all future new applicants who choose to return to the new development will have to undergo a credit check as part of the application process.
“You do not do credit checks for people who are already in housing,” said Bolton. “They are trying everything to make this development private”.
NYCHA Spokesperson Zodet Negron responded that the agency is in contact with about 240 former Prospect Plaza households, most of which were relocated to other NYCHA public housing units in Brooklyn, with a large concentration in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville community (Community Board 16).
“The Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) program will be used to finance the project and requires reasonable credit history, including a credit check, for all new residents of the development,” said Negron.
Meanwhile, Bolton said he is very disappointed in all the local elected officials in not coming to bat and dropping the ball since 2003 for their low-income constituents.
“They (elected officials) were supposed to see that this gets built and none of them did. I remember a City Council hearing about this several years and they all swore they would make it (renovations) happen, but it never did,” said Bolton.
Negron said the new development will be done in three phases with completion slated for 2017 – or 14 years after closing Prospect Plaza. By Stephen Witt And Diane Dixon