Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, which is currently in the spotlight thanks to the controversial Industry City rezoning, is in desperate need of affordable apartments to alleviate a severe housing shortage, according to a report.
The report by the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee found that only 1,000 new housing units were constructed in Sunset Park since 2014. Of those, only 80 were designated “affordable” through the city’s voluntary inclusionary housing program, and none were created through the mandatory inclusionary housing program, the Brooklyn Paper reported, citing data from the report.
The report comes as the City Council is poised to vote on a potential rezoning of Industry City on the neighborhood’s western edge. The developers behind the Brooklyn complex are seeking to rezone the 35-acre waterfront campus to allow for more retail, academic space and offices. The City Council has until early November to vote on the proposed rezoning, but critics worry that the rezoning could lead to an even greater strain on housing in the neighborhood.
The median gross rent in the area is $1,630/month, according to the report, which is slightly higher than that of NYC as a whole. The nonprofit also found that Sunset Park’s housing stock is among the oldest in the city, with over half of the area’s units constructed before 1939.
Meanwhile, the neighborhood’s population has seen modest growth over the past decade: The number of Sunset Park residents grew to 143,847 in 2018, from 126,230 in 2010, according to the report.
“The neighborhood simply does not have enough apartments to support the influx of new residents and recent immigrants and to alleviate overcrowding,” the report said. “New solutions are required to address the current housing pressures and combat the threat of displacement.”
Those solutions should include tenant protections and the construction of affordable apartments on underutilized land, the report said, as well as rezonings that encourage the development of low-income housing. [Brooklyn Paper] — Keith Larsen