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Attendees listen to latest Prospect Plaza news. (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)
Prospect Plaza Plans Push Forward

The plan to revitalize Prospect Plaza, a deteriorated and now vacant NYCHA development in Brooklyn has been given a green light. After weighing resident and community input, as well as the financial feasibility of a mixed-use development, NYCHA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are moving forward.

NYCHA has received conditional approval of the new plan for the development of 360 units, which include a minimum of 80 units of public housing. The Re-Vision Prospect Plaza Community Plan, which was developed with input from former residents and community members during a series of planning workshops in 2010, calls for the demolition of the three vacant towers, the construction of new affordable housing units; a community center and retail space.

The first phase of the revitalization will occur when NYCHA and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) jointly issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a developer is chosen by early 2012. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2013.

Deputy Director of Development Patricia Barrera addresses Prospect Plaza Update meeting attendees at Van Dyke Community Center. (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)
“We have accomplished a lot in the last year and a half working with former residents and community residents and there has been significant progress since we last met,” Patricia Barrera, Deputy Director of NYCHA’s Department for Development, told the attendees gathered at NYCHA’s Van Dyke Community Center in Brownsville on July 13 for a progress meeting.

During the meeting NYCHA shared the results of a retail market and financial feasibility study commissioned by the agency to analyze the retail component of the plan, which calls for retail on the Saratoga Park site. The study, conducted by AKRF, Inc. and G.L. Blackstone & Associates LLC, found that there is demand for a supermarket in the area and recommends including this in the RFP along with another anchor tenant such as a pharmacy, among other options.

Prospective tenants of the new affordable housing will have to undergo credit checks and income verifications to ensure that NYCHA is in compliance with the federal government’s funding requirements. To help former residents meet the new financial standards for the affordable housing units, NYCHA’s Office of Resident Empowerment and Economic Sustainability has partnered with the non-profit groups, Credit Where Credit Is Due and Brownsville Partnership to offer a free Financial Management and Education Program exclusively for former Prospect Plaza residents.

“I have a bit of a credit problem but nothing too big,” said a former resident who has been attending meetings since planning for the new community began. “If I get help, it will make me feel confident that NYCHA is doing something for me.”

NYCHA Board Member Margarita López called on all the former Prospect Plaza residents to take advantage of the credit counseling opportunities because Prospect Plaza will be re-built and they need to be ready when it’s time to return. “We are not going to leave one stone unturned until we talk to every former tenant to offer them the opportunity to come back,” said Commissioner López.

By Zodet Negrón
July 19, 2011

View photos from the meeting (Flickr)