Big dig at ‘Brig’ site

Big dig at ‘Brig’ site
Photo by L. Racioppo / NYC Housing Preservation and Development

It’s the rarest of sights: a massive development in Brooklyn almost completely devoid of controversy.

Developers, politicians, and city officials stuck ceremonial shovels in the ground in Wallabout last Wednesday for what will be a huge, 458-unit housing development occupying nearly all of an entire city block.

Called “Navy Green,” the development will occupy most of the block bounded by Flushing, Clermont, Park and Vanderbilt avenues — a plot of land that once hosted a Navy brig.

A majority of the residences in the new development will be truly affordable housing, meaning that some of the apartments will be available to a family of four making as little as $23,760. Many other below-market-rate housing developments set aside their subsidized units for families making much more.

Politicians were gushing about the new development on the site, which hasn’t been put to good use since 2001, when it was used as a dormitory for volunteers involved in the clean up effort post-9–11.

“The timing is right, the project is right,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene). “I know this project will provide services and housing to a part of Fort Greene that is in need of it.”

The area is often still called the “Brig site” because it served as a naval prison until 1966.

The primary developer of the project, L+M Development Partners, plans four large buildings, plus 23 townhomes, as well as greenspace close to the size of a football field.

“Transforming this large, vacant tract of land into a neighborhood for families to put down roots is the best outcome imaginable for this site,” said Marc Jahr, president of the city Housing Development Corporation.

Back when the project was in the approval process last year, the only gripe anyone could come up with was that there wouldn’t be adequate parking in the area to accommodate the hundreds of new residents.