Several West Brooklyn communities will see the preservation of affordable housing and beloved community gardens thanks to an agreement announced on July 21 and put forth by Councilmember Brad Lander (District 39), Avery Hall Investments and the Carroll Gardens Association.
A long-vacant, 1,911-square foot lot in Carroll Gardens (163 Columbia Street) will be sold by CGA to Avery Hall in order to fund the permanent affordability of 28 housing units along Columbia Street. The lot itself will be used by Avery Hall as a development site for a four-unit market-rate residential building in accordance with zoning laws.
The sale of the lot, which was purchased by CGA from the city in 1991 for use as an open space, was approved by the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Council.
“This agreement is a win-win for our community, and will allow us to permanently preserve much-needed affordable housing, as well as well-used community open space,” said Lander, who is working closely with CGA to explore the creation of as many as 70 new affordable housing units in Red Hook. “This collaboration demanded creativity from all parties–Avery Hall Investments, the Carroll Gardens Association and HPD. Thank you to all the parties for considering the community well-being in this deal.”
The affordability restrictions on the housing units are targeted towards individuals who earn less than 60 percent of the area median income, with 30 percent of the apartments being set aside for the homeless. If the deal had not gone through and funds had not be allocated, the affordability restrictions on the units would have eventually expired, resulting in a significant loss of housing affordability in the Columbia Waterfront District.
As part of the same effort, Lander also encouraged the city to preserve permanently the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden (204 Columbia Street), which had previously been operating on a year-to-year lease. More than 30 other community gardens were also protected in the same way, by transferring them from HPD to the Parks Department.
“The sale of 163 Columbia Street to Avery Hall Investments will mean that low-income residents will be able to continue to stay in their homes for years to come,” said CGA Executive Director Vilma Heramia.