The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Tivoli Towers: A Primer On Your Tall Neighbor To the North
You've undoubtedly seen it. The tallest building to break the skyline in this part of town is not Patio Gardens or even Ebbets Field houses. It's Tivoli Towers, at Crown and Franklin. For many Leffertsians, the building is a mystery. It's always been intended as affordable housing, first as part of the legendary Mitchell Lama program (yes, you really can get into one if you're willing to be patient and vigilant). The building has become "private" via the purchase by developer Laurence Gluck in 2010, who intends to take it all market, though older tenants have been given increased Section 8 voucher payments to stay in their apartments. (Note: new Section 8 is almost gone. No program has taken its place, so at this point the vouchers are part of a dying program).
Honestly now, the whole point of Gluck's purchase was not to be some sort of loss leader. No, the point was to buy the building for a relative song (under $10 million in 2010) at the nadir of the housing market. Such good timing will undoubtedly pay off. And as apartments leave the various programs, Gluck will continue to make improvements that will eventually ensure market rate apartments cost just that.
Right now, Tivoli is part of a City-wide initiative to move subsidized housing residents into smaller apartments, if they are "over housed." I encourage you to read the DNA Info piece, which highlights how the determination has been made. Essentially, if you're getting subsidies, you can't hang on to an apartment that's bigger than you need. So you're being moved. (Not kicked out, as some folks claim. But still it's extremely disruptive).
I encourage you to read the following articles to get a better sense of what's going on there. And if you live in Tivoli or have experience there, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.
Rachel Holliday Smith's DNA Info piece.
Tivoli Towers from NY Times in 2010
A teaser from Rachel's article:
Federally-subsidized tenants at a Crown Heights high rise are fighting a plan to force them to move into smaller units, enlisting help from elected officials who are trying to convince the city to let them stay where they are.
Tenants receiving enhanced Section 8 housing subsidies at Tivoli Towers, a 300-unit building on Crown Street and Franklin Avenue, began receiving letters from the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development at the beginning of the year warning them that they were “over-housed” — or living in apartments that were considered too large for their needs under a new set of guidelines released last year. The letters gave the tenants 30 days to appeal the order, or prepare to move.
And finally, if you want to know what developer Laurence Gluck looks and sounds like when he's talking shop, here he is:
It occurs to me that plenty of you haven't experienced David Kramer of Hudson (developer of 626 Flatbush) talk about his past (quite interesting actually, given his current projects). I encourage everyone to give a listen. I hear a lot of demonizing about these guys, but truth be told they're people, and they play in a different universe than you and me, where their decisions are often made on simple rational market analyses. I'm done trying to convince you one way or another whether that's appropriate when it comes to people's homes. Give a listen, so you can put a person to the issue.