NYCHA’s plans for market-rate housing in East Williamsburg are on hold

City paused plans amid opposition from politicians and residents
May 06, 2019 09:31AM

Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg and Council Member Antonio Reynoso

Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg and Council Member Antonio Reynoso

In the midst of a budget crunch and an administrative overhaul, the New York City Housing Authority is hitting pause on yet another development plan.

The city has postponed plans to lease a parking lot at Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg to private developers, Politico reported. The project has faced opposition from residents of the 11-building complex as well as the local city council member, Antonio Reynoso.

“We need to make sure that whatever we do related to development, we gotta get the bang for our buck,” Reynoso told Politico. “Whatever we do on these projects, we can’t just give away land and do infill if we’re not going to make a dent in the capital needs.”

The Cooper Park plan, proposed in 2017, would have a private developer to build up 250 units on the site, half of which would be market rate. Proceeds from the lease would go to the housing authority’s capital program. In December, then-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen referred to the initiative to build market-rate housing on vacant NYCHA sites as a “failure.”

Reynoso says he would only support the project if the ground lease brought in at least $60 million a year, which he sees as unlikely for a development of this size.

The council member has proposed an alternative involving private housing for low-income seniors who live in multi-bedroom NYCHA apartments, which could be freed up for larger families.

Residents of the complex have joined forces with tenants at other NYCHA developments to oppose the current proposals as well.

Although the city told Politico it is still pursuing development plans at Cooper Park, it has not yet issued a solicitation for developers.

Council member Reynoso recently went head-to-head with the city over another issue in his district, voicing his opposition to a rezoning plan for an industrial section of North Brooklyn. [Politico] — Kevin Sun