After more than a decade of wrangling that likely precipitated the downfall of at least one powerful Brooklyn politician, the city is finally moving ahead with building low-income housing in five buildings across three city-owned sites in the area known as Broadway Triangle.
Behind the green construction fence at 88 Throop Avenue, workers appeared to be busy preparing the site when Brooklyn Paper’s sister site Brownstoner stopped by Wednesday. A pile driver, excavator and concrete truck were present. While the city has not released precise addresses for the other two lots, they did not appear to be active.
Initial plans for affordable housing in the area, released in 2009, spurred protests and a lawsuit alleging the housing favored Hasidic families and excluded Black and Latino locals. A 2017 settlement between the city and the community groups resulted in the city promising the nearly 400 affordable units would go to a more diverse section of the community than originally proposed. The new scheme is being developed by a partnership of organizations that represent all three groups.
Plans call for 387 affordable apartments, supportive services, a workforce development center and a nonprofit coffee shop that will employ at-risk youth. Unusually, the complex will be built to Passive House standards, keeping emissions and utility costs low, part of a push by the city to reduce fossil fuel use.
Designed by Marvel Architects, the building that will go up at 88 Throop Avenue, Throop Corners, will have solar panels and a green roof. Its eight stories will include ground-level retail with high ceilings and big plate glass windows. Projecting panels and a canopy in bright school-bus yellow will separate the retail spaces from the light sand-colored cladding of the apartments above.
Its 140 apartments will range in size from studios to four-bedrooms, and are intended for formerly homeless and families with incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, or $96,080 for a family of three, the city said earlier this month in a press release touting the site’s ceremonial groundbreaking.
The community organizations behind the five-building complex are St. Nicks Alliance, RiseBoro Community Partnership, Southside United Housing Development Fund Corporation – Los Sures and United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, working under the name Unified Neighborhood Partners. Funded through a variety of programs including taxes and city bonds, the development will be 100 percent affordable.
According to the city, the second site for the Broadway Triangle development is approximately 27,000 square feet and runs along Bartlett and Gerry Streets. The third site comprises a roughly 9,500 square foot section along Flushing Avenue and an approximately 5,000 square foot stretch along Bartlett Street.
PropertyShark shows the Department of Housing Preservation and Development owns empty lots at 68-76 Gerry Street and 35-41 Bartlett Street, a possible contender for the larger site, and also 663-655 Flushing Avenue.
At one time notable for its many empty lots and ramshackle appearance, the Broadway Triangle area covers parts of Bed Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg near the intersection of Broadway and Flushing. During the time the city-owned plots were tied up in court, privately developed apartment buildings have risen in the area, some with the staggered balconies favored by Hasidic families for celebrating the fall harvest festival of Sukkot. Quite a few lots are still under development, and on Wednesday, the area was busy with construction, including on Rabsky’s mega-project on Wallabout Street.
This story first appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister site Brownstoner.