Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and Vinegar Hill (next to DUMBO) are home to one of the largest concentrations of public housing in the city. The Walt Whitman Houses (1,636 apartments), Farragut Houses (1390 apartments), and Ingersol Houses (1,802 apartments) are home to more than 12,000 residents. All these buildings are more than 60 years old and in need of repair. The New York City Housing Authority doesn’t have enough cash to cover the necessary maintenance of its aging stock of 178,895 units and is now proposing to build luxury and mixed income housing on empty parking lots, community centers, and playgrounds within the complexes.
The Farragut Houses are located in a plum location, smack dab in the middle of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnerships Tech Triangle, bounded by Downtown Brooklyn, the Navy Yard and DUMBO/Vinegar Hill. It is across the street from a coming “suburban style” shopping center in the Navy Yard. Built in the “tower in the park” style fashionable at the time (and since viewed as a failure), there is lots of underutilized space surrounding the towers. More than any other of the nearby housing projects, there is plenty of space where additional towers could be built without overcrowding the site.
Of course this would affect the school situation, adding hundreds of new residential units, thousands of people, and lots of school aged children to the area. The school zones serving the Farragut Houses are split amongst P.S. 287 Bailey K Ashford, P.S. 8 Robert Fulton and P.S. 307 Daniel Hale would be affected. P.S. 8 is already overcrowded. P.S. 287 will likely be full by the time these buildings are built. Clearly the city needs to plan ahead and assume that this is a real possibility that will further exacerbate the effects of unplanned for development in the area.
Hard to predict the future, but it is safe to say that there will be new development in Downtown Brooklyn that isn’t currently on the radar. We need to start planning to build a new school in the neighborhood now, before overcrowding becomes a major problem down the road.
An Article About the NYCHA Plan: http://gothamist.com/2013/02/06/nycha_wants_to_build_luxury_housing.php
The Mall Coming to the Navy Yard: http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2012/12/a-developer-selected-for-the-brooklyn-navy-yard/