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New York City Plans to Topple Public Housing TowersNew York City - Philadelphia tore down 21. Since the 1990s, public housing high-rise buildings have come tumbling down by the dozens across the country as cities replace them with smaller suburban-style homes that do not carry the stigma of looming urban despair and poverty.
New York City has long been the great exception, and red-brick towers still dominate the skyline from the Lower East Side to East Harlem, from Mott Haven, in the Bronx, to Bushwick, Brooklyn. In the past decade, the authority has chosen to renovate rather than tear down its aging housing stock, often at great expense. Prospect Plaza — three 12- to 15-story towers in Brownsville — is plagued by neither despair nor poverty: It has been vacant since 2003, when the last tenants were moved out with the promise they could return to refurbished apartments. One recent evening, the sole occupant of Prospect Plaza — many of the windows on the upper floors have been removed, giving the buildings a hollowed-out look — was a security guard in a ground-floor office. Agency officials say they want to tear down the 35-year-old buildings and erect new apartments in their place. Ilene Popkin, the agency’s assistant deputy general manager for development, said it would cost $481,000 to renovate each of the 269 apartments. The authority has completed the first two phases of its Prospect Plaza redevelopment plan, involving not the actual housing project itself but 37 two-family houses and 150 rental units in four-story town-house-style buildings that were constructed on nearby lots formerly owned by the city. Several former residents of Prospect Plaza and groups that represent public housing tenants said they did not support the demolition, in part, because it was unclear to them that the authority intended to replace the old units with the same number of new public housing units.
The cost of demolishing the towers and building the new apartments is estimated at $138 million.
Michaels Development Company, a real estate company based in New Jersey, was hired in 2003 to rehabilitate the three towers, but the agency terminated its agreement with Michaels in 2007. Michaels sued the agency in April 2008 for breach of contract, accusing it of mismanaging the project and of failing to compensate the company for $5.6 million in predevelopment and other costs. In court documents, the agency denied many of the company’s assertions, stating that Michaels breached the agreement by failing to obtain commitments from lenders willing to invest in the project.
Even as the three towers sit vacant on Prospect Place near Saratoga Avenue, they continue to be a costly expense for the cash-strapped authority, which has paid a security firm $25,000 a month since 2005 to keep watch over the buildings.
Preference for the new public housing units will go to former residents, many of whom were relocated to other public housing in Brooklyn. At the community meeting, Priscilla Davis, 40, a former tenant, said she would not believe anything the authority told her until she was handed the keys to her new apartment. When frum Jews get government money, it a good use of tax dollars.When anyone else gets government money, it is socialism. We've sent you a confirmation email, please click on the link in the email to confirm your subscription.
STV is the construction manager for this $100 million task order contract with the New York City Housing Authority, which provides affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents of New York City. New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score News Crime U.S.


In what is the citya€™s newest neighborhood, Spring Creek Nehemiah (as residents call it) is home to 233 first-time homeowners who won the right to live at Nehemiah in a lottery sponsored by the citya€™s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, a major partner in the project.
From left, proud Nehemiah owners Milagros Gerez, Walja Moody, Linda Boyce, organizer Grand Lindsay, Roxanne Thomas, Elizabeth Daniel, and Dawn Brown. Built in partnership with East Brooklyn Congregations and designed by architect Alexander Gorlin, Nehemiah is composed of prefabricated one-, two- and three-family homes assembled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
When completed by 2016, over 1,525 new homes and apartments will be built on these streets tucked in behind Related Companies Gateway Plaza Mall, Belt Parkway, and two state parks opening by 2014. Grant Lindsay, an organizer for East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), knows a tight-knit neighborhood has more power combating local problems.
Dawn Brown lives across the street from a football field that serves as a practice and game-day facility for Thomas Jefferson High School. Homeowner Elizabeth Daniel got burned in a Canarsie foreclosure scandal, losing a down payment.
A philosophical architect with a conscious, Alexander Gorlin was aware of the importance architecture would have in the community. Boyce, who has a corner one-family across from the new school, redesigned her kitchen with granite countertops and custom-made cabinetry.
But now, for the first time in its 75-year history, the New York City Housing Authority wants to knock down an entire high-rise complex, Prospect Plaza in Brooklyn — a move that has surprised and angered a number of former tenants and advocates for low-income housing.
Its decision to demolish Prospect Plaza was not the result of a sweeping policy shift, but of the failure of a renovation project that became bogged down in years of administrative, financial and legal problems.
The window frames and doorways on each tower’s bottom three floors were sealed shut with cinderblocks or metal gates. Officials initially planned to leave the towers standing and reconfigure the apartments, by eliminating some units to create bigger living rooms and bathrooms, but those plans were scrapped by the authority’s new leadership because demolition made better financial sense. One was torn down in 2005; the plan was to use that space for a new community center, shops and additional housing.
In 2007, the agency also knocked down a number of two-story buildings as part of the redevelopment of the Markham Gardens complex on Staten Island. Agency officials have not decided how many of the new apartments will be public housing, but they said that former residents and community leaders would help make that determination. Part of the financing will come from a $21.4 million federal grant the authority was awarded in 1999 to revitalize Prospect Plaza, of which about $17 million remains. The project stalled in part because it took the agency three years to finish the development agreement and because of turnover at the authority, according to the lawsuit. An agency spokeswoman said Michaels was paid about $4 million from the federal grant for architectural, engineering and environmental review work.
The demolition, which must be approved by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, is planned for this fall, with construction scheduled to start in 2012. Milton Bolton, 50, a former resident and the president of the still-intact Prospect Plaza Tenants Association, held up a thick draft of a 1998 application for the federal grant and said, “It’s hard to have trust.” More than three dozen tenants have died since 2003.


STV is managing pre-qualification, bidding, awards, construction and closeout for major capital improvements at various developments throughout the city.
Homeowners put down as little as $8,000 to purchase their houses, which ranged in price from $158,000 to $488,000. In September, three new schools will open on a $75 million campus constructed by the Department of Education. The single mom jokes about her master bedroom being the a€?mistress bedroom.a€? Taking pride inside and outside the home, Brown cuts the grass along the practice field fence herself.
The high schoola€™s principal, Courtney Winkfield, sees a link between the neighborhood and the school.
Baltimore took down 21 as well, and when 6 of them came down in one day in 1995, it threw a parade.
Kelly acknowledged “bumps along the road” for the project in the past, but they stressed their desire to rebuild the neighborhood. She started saving again, and received word in 2010 that she had won the right to own a home in Nehemiah. Wea€™re going to make sure this place is the best it can be.a€? Walja Moody came to New York from Alabama. Gorlina€™s take on the updated brownstone for middle-class New Yorkers was honored in an exhibition on prefab houses at the Museum of Modern Art.
Popkin and other officials said the three buildings had deteriorated from vandalism and exposure to the elements, and were out of context with the neighborhood.
They look around, admiring multi-colored boxy houses with big backyards, private driveways, and patches of front gardens.
She forgot she applied for a Nehemiah home until 14 years later when the application arrived. The new apartments — including public and private housing, not only for the poor but also for low- and moderate-income families — are likely to be built in low-rise buildings. Agency documents describe the project as “mixed finance,” meaning it will be paid for with public and private dollars, with some of the money coming from the sale of federal low-income housing tax credits. There were very few frum families where I lived.I played with kids of all colors, religions, and nationalities.
The apartments were a little small and very basic, but, as a kid I didn't feel I was lacking anything.



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