De Blasio’s affordable housing efforts sink in Spring Creek

Mayor touted the East New York project during his mayoral run
August 31, 2015 11:00AM

It doesn’t matter if a unit is affordable if it doesn’t exist.Mayor Bill de Blasio promised the Spring Creek project in East New York would be a model for his effort to bring 200,000 affordable units to the city over 10 years, but development at the site has languished as the city drags its feet.

A total of 1,803 affordable units were planned for the site, developed by Nehemiah, Metro Industrial Areas Foundation and Monadnock Construction, but a mere 300 have come online so far, built by the Nehemiah housing non-profit, run by the East Brooklyn Congregations. The city’s Department of Design and Construction promised to bring infrastructure – gas, sewer and utility lines – for 225 homes and 1,295 apartments at the site. Now, DDC says the improvements won’t be ready until “late 2017,” the New York Daily News reported.

The delays came partly as a result of contaminated soil discovered at the site, a former garbage dump.

“Mayor de Blasio moved quickly to get rid of Elmo and topless woman from Times Square,” said Grant Lindsay of Metro IAF. “Unfortunately, he wasted the last 20 months taking soil samples in Spring Creek.”

Some of the developers now say the extra costs from the delays will cut into the affordability of the units that will ultimately be built, the Daily News reported.

A spokesperson for the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Elizabeth Rohlfing, said rents will not be affected by “additional remediation” and that delays of six to 12 months “should not materially affect” the units’ affordability. [NYDN] Ariel Stulberg