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Hey, you never know: City to run lottery for ritzy Boerum Hill house

The Brooklyn Paper

It’s an affordable housing lottery fit for a millionaire.

The city is putting two vacant, and soon-to-be-renovated, Boerum Hill brownstones on sale through its affordable housing lottery system — and the lucky souls who buy the houses on Baltic Street near Hoyt Street will walk away with a two-family home for $550,000 or a single-family house for $440,000.

But, get this, the buyers will also get a 20-year tax break.

And get this, too: you don’t even have to be low-income to win this lottery!

Most of the city’s affordable housing programs cater to poorer residents, but in this case, the lottery for 381 and 381A Baltic St. is open to even Bill Gates.

The Boerum Hill boondoggle was part of a deal approved Tuesday by the City Council. The tax break will go to 500 properties, the majority of which are in parts of Queens, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, where the average home is not selling for $1 million.

Three members of the Council voted against the inclusion of the Boerum Hill properties, decrying the notion that anyone needed incentive to buy a home in posh Boerum Hill, where homes routinely sell for triple the asking price.

“This is the steal of the century,” said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights), who voted against the tax abatement.

Yassky said that the low price for the public property cheated taxpayers of their chance to share in the lotto winner’s fortune.

“This is money the city needs and it burns me up to see [it] going to waste like this,” he said.

A spokesman for the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Neill Coleman, defended the lottery.

“[The city is] transforming what was mostly dilapidated housing into decent and affordable housing for existing tenants, new tenants, and homebuyers.” said Coleman.

He added that the tax break is mandatory under a 2001 agreement between HPD and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which previously owned the homes.

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Oct. 26, 2007, 9:47 am

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