Tower wants free money

Tower wants free money
The former site of the Albee Square Mall has been cleared — and now the developers of the proposed City Point tower want a tax-free loan from taxpayers. The site is wedged between Flatbush Avenue Extension and the Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

A developer seeking to construct the borough’s tallest building will create more luxury housing in an over-saturated market if he is given millions in public subsidies, opponents charged this week.

On Monday, one of the developers of the City Point tower requested the $400-million tax-free loan from the city’s affordable housing financing agency, the Housing Development Corporation, which would go toward creating roughly 162 below-market-rate units among 810 apartments planned in the 65-story commercial and residential tower that is planned on the site of the former Albee Square Mall site and bordered by Flatbush Avenue Extension, Willoughby Street and DeKalb Avenue.

The scheme was slammed at an hour-long hearing on Monday, as residents of Downtown argued that the affordable portion of the project would not provide enough housing for people displaced since luxury condos started rising in the neighborhood.

“At a time of scare public resource, can we afford to put only 20 percent to the affordable housing?” Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) said. “The diversity in Downtown Brooklyn has been destroyed.”

An economic analyst with the Pratt Center for Community Development, Paula Crespo, said that the city should get more low-cost units for its money.

“If HDC is going to consider such a high per-unit amount, [it should] require that the developers include more than the minimum amount of affordable units,” Crespo said.

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