Turning Luxury Condos Into Affordable Housing

Housing advocates and policymakers in Brooklyn are working with developers to take half-finished luxury condos (stalled out by the economic crisis) and transform them into affordable housing.
April 19, 2009, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"'There are hundreds of units of empty luxury apartments that developers are unable to sell or rent because of the declining housing market,' said Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes some of the newest high-rises in Brooklyn. 'It makes sense to figure out a way to convert those empty luxury units into affordable housing for the community.'

The plan is seen by advocates and even some developers as a creative if untested strategy for easing the city's housing woes as credit tightens and prices plummet.

'When we see vacant units around, often times we can fantasize about relieving the homeless crisis, and also the overcrowding issues that we have,' said Michelle de la Uz, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn. 'It's an idea that resonates.'

Jeffries' plan, which he calls Project Reclaim, got its first major boost in February, when Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) featured a similar blueprint in her State of the City address."

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Published on Monday, April 13, 2009 in City Hall
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