New, boxy apartment buildings are a dime a dozen in Williamsburg, but it is a rare development indeed that is renting for entirely below-market rates.
That is exactly what is set to happen at a 38-unit, seven-story housing complex under construction at 59. Frost St., between Lorimer and Leonard streets, where a developer is offering studios for $640, one bedrooms for $689, and two bedrooms for $835, exclusively to low-income tenants. The deal is a steal in the neighborhood where the average two-bedroom runs $3,773, according to real estate industry data, and there is a lot of demand among poor and middle-class people at risk of being squeezed out, the developer behind the project said.
“There’s a tremendous need for affordable housing. There has been so much gentrification and displacement. This site will help with that,” said Martin Dunn, president of Dunn Development Corp.
This is not the first time the neighborhood has had rents this low in buildings that get tax breaks for bringing in low-income tenants, but it is the first time in years that so many have hit the market at once, according to one affordable-housing advocate.
“This is very good news for the community,” said Community Board 1 member Rob Solano, who has been hosting information sessions for Williamsburg residents interested in trying to score discounted digs. “We have to make sure that people know what is out there so that they are applying properly and are able to stay in the neighborhood.”
Dunn said he will offer eight of the building’s apartments to adults with developmental disabilities and one unit will go to a service worker to assist the disabled tenants.
“We want to give people options so that they can live independently,” he said.
Dunn gets a tax credit for each below-market unit he rents. The building is two-thirds completed and Dunn said it should be move-in ready by February. The Park Slope-based builder specializes in so-called “affordable” developments. The company is currently constructing eight new buildings in Brooklyn, including the one on Frost Street, Dunn said.
A Williamsburg resident said she is happy to hear there will be more options for her struggling neighbors.
“This place has changed so much so fast,” said Eliza Branchetta, who lives on Ainslie Street. “They need to do all they can to stop these prices.”
As far as applying goes, public defenders need not bother, nor do under-the-table dishwashers. The units are reserved specifically for people making more than $23,600 and less than $47,000 per year — people making more than $29,400 pay higher rents — and the application process requires reams of documentation.
People interested in applying have till Dec. 22 and can find more information here.