Lot of gold: City strikes deal with private builders to erect towers on public-housing parking lot

Lot of gold: City strikes deal with private builders to erect towers on public-housing parking lot
Wyckoff Partners, LLC

It’s private public housing!

Two developers will pay the city millions to build a pair of privately owned residential towers on a parking lot for residents of a Boerum Hill public-housing complex, leaders of the New York City Housing Authority recently announced.

Mayor DeBlasio tapped Dumbo-based Two Trees — which is also transforming a former garage in its home nabe into the area’s first full-sized supermarket and erecting the mega-development on the site of Williamsburg’s old Domino Sugar factory — and affordable-housing builder The Arker Companies to construct the twin 16-story towers at Wyckoff Gardens as part of his scheme to pad the agency’s coffers and create more below-market-rate units by developing underutilized housing-authority land.

The companies will receive a 99-year lease on the city-owned Third Avenue lot between Wyckoff and Baltic streets in exchange for constructing the towers that together will hold 500 rental apartments, half of
which will be market-rate.

The other 250 will be so-called affordable units reserved for low-income residents, according to housing-authority rep Jasmine Blake, who said that families of three or less that earn no more than $51,540 will be eligible to rent them.

Wyckoff Gardens residents who currently park in the lot will not lose their permits, but will be forced to stow their rides at another existing lot on the grounds, Blake said. And the complex’s displaced drivers who apply to live in the new high-rises will get preferential consideration for 125 of the so-called affordable apartments in the city’s housing lottery, she said.

The cash-strapped housing authority will rake in $37 million from the development, $18.5 million of which will go toward the $43 million in repairs needed at the Boerum Hill complex, according to the spokeswoman. The rest of the cash will be spent making similar fixes at other public-housing sites across the city, she said.

But before the real-estate companies — the head honchos of which both contributed substantially to DeBlasio’s campaign coffers, according to a New York Daily News report — can break ground, the city must approve the project through it’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. Pending that process’s outcome, construction could begin as soon as fall 2019, Blake said.

The city is also tapping developers to construct a similar building on the current parking lot of a Williamsburg public-housing complex, residents of which are rallying against.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.