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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

Over the last decade, Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue has gone through major gentrification. Residents in the area were infuriated when the 24-story rental building was first proposed for 626 Flatbush Avenue. Now the controversially tall luxury building called Parkline, with rents starting at $2,012 and going up to $4,430, is just one among a trend of new buildings with stunning views and superb amenities to hit the area. 

Jessi Arrington and Creighton Mershon spoke to The Post about their decision to make the move this year from Dumbo to Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The couple weighed two major trade-offs. The Post reports, “They could rent a bigger, older walkup in the townhouse-heavy neighborhood, or opt for a small pad in a brand-new building with stunning views and a play area for their 2-year-old daughter, Dottie Mae. The second, more weighty conundrum: Could they make peace with becoming gentrifiers?”

The 38-year-old Arrington, who runs a co-working space in Gowanus called Small City, told The Post, “We made a life decision that we needed to take money off our rent, which meant moving further into Brooklyn. Somebody is going to move into that [Parkline] apartment. If it’s us, we can try to become a part of the neighborhood as much as anyone could.”

The couple did end up deciding to move into a 500-square-foot studio in the Parkline. 

If you continue down Flatbush Avenue from the Manhattan Bridge past the bustling insanity of Downtown Brooklyn, then as you pass Prospect Park it splits into two relatively quiet and quickly up-and-coming neighborhoods of Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush.

In a recent article, The Post outlined some of the new major developments to hit these booming areas. The Post reports, “The contrast between northern and southern Flatbush Avenue is striking, but parallel trends emerge. Downtown Brooklyn is booming with new construction like mixed-use City Point, which opened this year with an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, Trader Joe’s, Target and more. Just a few miles down the road, the historic Kings Theatre, sparkling after a $95 million restoration, is spurring area development since its reopening in 2015.

Across the street from City Point and next door to Junior’s iconic cheesecake outpost, construction began last month on 9 DeKalb Ave., which will be Brooklyn’s tallest building. With 73 stories rising 1,066 feet and housing 500 rentals, the SHoP Architects-designed tower will dwarf everything nearby. In a merging of old and new, developers JDS and the Chetrit Group are incorporating the landmarked Dime Savings Bank into the supertall tower’s base and will lease it to a retail tenant when the project is completed in 2020.

About four blocks south, Alloy Development wants to redevelop an entire city block at 80 Flatbush Ave. with a 38-story building featuring residential, office and retail components, as well as a 74-story mixed-use building. The project will accommodate two schools for 700 students, plus 900 new housing units (both condos and rentals).”

Like the many other new super tall developments to hit the area, residents of the neighborhood protested Alloy as well, claiming it will draw more people to the already overcrowded Barclay area and overshadow the townhouses that make up the heart of the area. A petition was launched last month by the Boerum Hill Association with the slogan, “No Towers Over Brownstone Brooklyn.”

In an email, Alloy president AJ Pires said that 80 Flatbush will be made even better by the “robust community feedback,” and that he has plans for “great architecture” that will “add to the vibrancy of the area.” This year the project is expected to begin the city’s public review process, and by 2022 the first phase is scheduled to be complete. 

No one argues that the landscape of the area was remarkably different a decade ago. Though the buildings aren’t as tall and dense as those in Manhattan, new construction seems to be on par with Long Island City, as it fills with luxury condos and “glassy towers.” 

Two projects that will contribute to the transformation of the area are now being marketed by Citi Habitats. A 19-story rental building is planned to open in early-2018 at One Flatbush at the corner of Fulton Street corner. The building will have approximately 19,000 square feet of retail on the first and second floors, then apartments above that with an average square footage of 674. Though specific prices have not been announced for this project, Citi Habitats says that monthly rents for apartments in the area now range from $2,715 to $7,578.

Also slated to open next year is 470 Dean Street, across from Barclays Center. According to The Post, “It’ll have 63 rentals, 6,000 square feet of retail and a 110-car underground garage. Nearby rents run between $2,136 and $4,382. It’ll be competing with 461 Dean, which hugs the Barclays Center and, at 32 stories, opened in 2016 as the world’s tallest modular building. That 363-unit rental, where prices range from $2,311 to $5,907, is part of the ‘city within a city’ megadevelopment around Barclays Center called Pacific Park.”

This shift also means good bye to small shops and bodegas, who are being priced out of the area, making room for big brands like Whole Foods and Apple.

By Charles Bernstein