East New York

Housing development for formerly homeless gets City Council nod

Alabama Avenue project is part of East New York's affordable-housing boom

February 28, 2019 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This is the design for affordable-housing development 461 Alabama Ave. in East New York. Rendering via the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development
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An East New York affordable-housing development for formerly homeless people moved a step closer to its groundbreaking with a City Council vote on Tuesday.

The council’s Committee on Land Use unanimously approved zoning measures to facilitate CB Emmanuel Realty’s construction of a seven-story, 71-unit apartment building at 461 Alabama Ave.

The vacant city-owned site is located in Councilmember Inez Barron’s district. Before the vote, she expressed her support for the planned development.

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“As you know, I’m always very concerned that I don’t engage in any projects that involve gentrification or displacement of the people who have lived through the hard times of East New York and are now seeing a turnaround,” she told other committee members.

CB Emmanuel Realty is developing 461 Alabama Ave. in partnership with a nonprofit called Services for the UnderServed.

The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development has shepherded the project through its public review process.

The next step in that process will be a vote by the full City Council.

Formerly homeless people will occupy 60 percent of the units at 461 Alabama Ave.

Tenants with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income will occupy 40 percent of the apartments, committee Chairperson Rafael Salamanca Jr. said before Tuesday’s vote.

The median household income in East New York is $34,512.

There will be onsite social services for residents at 461 Alabama Ave. and a rooftop garden, an environmental assessment statement about the development says.

The property is located on Alabama Avenue between Dumont and Livonia avenues.

Other East New York affordable-housing projects

CB Emmanuel Realty’s project is part of a wave of affordable-housing development in East New York following the rezoning of a 190-block swath of the neighborhood in 2016.

In some instances, major developers are teaming up with religious groups for big projects.

Monadnock Development is collaborating with the East Brooklyn Congregations and the Housing Preservation and Development Department on a 240-unit affordable rental project in the Nehemiah Spring Creek development, the Real Deal reported in 2018.

Gotham Organization is working with the Christian Cultural Center on a proposed 10-acre development on the corner of Flatlands and Pennsylvania avenues. The site is a church-owned parking lot.

Plans call for 2,100 affordable apartments in nine residential buildings, a performing arts center, shops and a school, The New York Times reported in 2018.

The city seized the site a half-century ago

The 461 Alabama Ave. project got underway in early 2017 when the city selected CB Emmanuel Realty for its undertaking.

The city chose the firm through a request-for-proposals process. The firms who were invited to compete for this and several other jobs were minority-and-women-owned businesses.

According to city Finance Department records, 461 Alabama Ave. is one of several properties the city condemned and seized a half-century ago to create an urban renewal area.

In 1971, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Carmine A. Ventiera ordered the city to pay a combined $573,871 to the seized properties’ former owners, Finance Department records indicate.

Follow Brooklyn Eagle reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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