Mosley Says Affordable Housing Outweighs Aesthetic Gentrification

Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) this week gave political support to the massive mixed use housing/retail project proposed for 960 Franklin Avenue, saying housing for working folks overshadows shadows.

The project site sits on a large Franklin Avenue lot between Montgomery Street and Sullivan Place in Crown Heights. The proposal calls for nearly 1,600 units of housing in two buildings, each over 40 stories high with ground floor retail space.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley

In our current climate, where rapid gentrification, large-scale development and community displacement has led to the worst housing crisis in decades, it has understandably become the norm to immediately rebuke developers who saunter into our neighborhoods, selling our community half-genuine promises. However, I have numerous reasons to remain optimistic when it comes to the substantial affordable housing proposal slated for the old Spice Factory on Franklin Avenue,” said Mosley .  

Mosley pointed out that currently within Brooklyn’s Community Board 9, 66.3% of the population is black and another 9.6% is Hispanic. With 76% of the population being people of color, and the existing rent burden seeing 49% of the population spending 35% or more of their income on rent, the proposed ratio of actual affordable housing will allow this population to experience some relief from existing rents and unaffordability.  

“Located between Prospect Park and Ebbets Field, this site is slated to include approximately 1,600 housing units – 50% of them being for lower, middle and moderate income families,” said Mosley. “Of the affordable units proposed – 40% of them will accommodate families at or below 50% AMI, with incomes as low as $36,550 for a single person – 20% of them will accommodate families at or below 80% AMI, or a two  person household making $66,800 – 20% of them will accommodate families at or below 100% AMI, or a three person household making $93,900 and the remaining 20% of them will accommodate families at or below 120% AMI – true newly union constructed and permanently affordable housing for Brooklyn’s struggling working and middle class families.”

Mosley said additionally to this substantial level of affordability, which is something that has been missing from many of the development projects in Central Brooklyn, the project will be 100 percent union built and union financed.

Mosley said while he understands and sympathizes with local residents’ concerns over the height and shadow impact these proposed housing towers would have on the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, located on the east side of Prospect Park, it is his understanding that the developer has been working closely with the city’s planning department, including restructuring the tower design to mitigate shadow impact, and updating the contextual zoning.

But Mosley said mitigating shadows aside, affordable housing, particularly in the Southern Crown Heights/Lefferts Gardens area is scarce, and the landscape of the community is rapidly changing.

This proposal for the [former] Spice Factory site does not include luxury condos, nor does it strictly offer services and benefits to the few at the cost of the many. In fact, this is one of the few proposals I’ve seen come through my district that offers truly substantial bands of affordability and benefits for working class families,” Mosley said.

Before we prematurely oppose the developer, we must come together and have a conversation with the developer to learn what this deal really entails. As such, I commend the developer and the Department of City Planning for working together to ensure this project meets the needs of our community, while simultaneously addressing affordable housing, union labor, and environmental preservation,” he added.

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