Former residents of the Prospect Plaza development in Brooklyn are excited to see that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is moving forward with the redevelopment plans. The Request for Proposals has gone out, the developer is expected to be chosen this year and construction is anticipated to start in late 2013.
“Before there was a lot of talk and now I see that they are moving forward,” said Joseph Hayes, a former resident of Prospect Plaza after the latest update meeting held at the Van Dyke Community Center in Brooklyn on Jan. 11. “I feel that they are moving in the right direction.”
|Former Prospect Plaza resident discusses redevelopment plans with NYCHA Resident Board Member Victor A. Gonzalez at update meeting. (Photo by Leticia Barboza)|
In 2003, the development was vacated for rehabilitation as part of a HOPE VI Revitalization Plan sponsored by NYCHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2007 the project was suspended after it was determined that it was financially infeasible to renovate the towers. NYCHA went back to the drawing board and with the input from former residents and community stakeholders developed the Re-Vision Prospect Plaza Community Plan in June 2010. The Plan calls for the demolition of the remaining vacant towers, construction of new mixed-use buildings with public housing and affordable housing units, ground floor retail space, and a community center.
“It’s been a long road but it seems now that things are moving in a positive direction,” said former Prospect Plaza resident Arnold Pierce. “I look forward to the new apartments.”
The RFP, issued jointly by NYCHA and the Department of Housing Preservation & Development calls for the design, construction and operation of a mixed-use development that will result in a minimum of 80 NYCHA public housing units and 280 affordable housing units for a total of at least 360 new housing units along with ground-floor retail, community facility space and open space. NYCHA and HPD will select a developer by fall of 2012 and expects pre-development to begin shortly thereafter.
The project will be developed in three phases. The public housing units will be included in the first two phases, expected to be completed in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The third phase, which includes the community center and ground floor retail space, should be completed in 2017.
“I thought this meeting was going to be more of the same, but now that I see this new plan and what NYCHA is doing, I’m thinking of coming back,” said Sabrina Williams, a former resident.
Former residents and any new applicants who choose to return to the new development will have to undergo a credit check as part of the application process. In an effort to help residents prepare to return to the new development once built, NYCHA is offering free credit counseling services to former residents through non-profit groups Credit Where Credit Is Due and the Brownsville Partnership. Many residents are already taking advantage of this opportunity.
By Zodet Negrón
January 13, 2011