Skip to main content

New report on Prospect Heights: incomes rise, racial mix flip, shift in concerns from education/safety to affordability/diversity

Though Prospect Heights is absent in the Regional Plan Association's recent report on potential displacement, a new report from the Intersection | Prospect Heights project, We’re All Part of the Neighborhood, starkly details dramatic changes that indeed, point to past and potential ongoing displacement.

Consider the dramatic change in income in Prospect Heights, as detailed in the graphic below: as of 2014 (and surely rising), 40% of households earn six figures, up from 15% in 2000. That's well above projections, as noted lower down.

The report draws on federal statistics and also surveys sponsored by the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council in 2004 (366 respondents) and 2015-2016 (508 respondents). The surveys are not scientific polls, but the general trends they track have resonance.

Changing racial mix

Prospect Heights, once 53% black and 31% white, has in 14 years flipped to 28% black and 56% white.

Changing concerns

For example, between 2004 and 2015-6, residents surveyed recognize improvements in public education and security, while worrying about limited housing opportunities and declining socio-economic diversity.

"When asked if they expected to be living in Prospect Heights in five years, one third of 2016 respondents answered 'no' or 'I’m not sure,'" according to the report. Understandably, 73% of those earning less than $100,000 cited housing cost as a factor, but 60% earning over $100,000 also did.

"In this environment, it will be especially important to preserve what is left of Prospect Heights’ affordable housing, in particular in multifamily buildings in the southeast part of the neighborhood (e.g., on Lincoln Place and St. Johns Place), and in the northwest part of the neighborhood (below the Atlantic Yards project, e.g., Dean Street and Bergen Street)," the report states.

A racial divergence

Queried about Prospect Heights' strengths, white respondents--who presumably have a different perception of what constitutes an ideal social mix--see more diversity and community than do black ones.
What's next

In the future, nearly all respondents expressed support for more independent retail (94%), local restaurants (90%), and arts and performance spaces (89%). Of course, some independent retail and restaurants are more affordable than others, and when rents continue to rise, the mix changes.

Understandably, newcomers--residents with less than six years in Prospect Heights, and likely younger--were far more likely to support more bars. Similarly, such newcomers (59%) like contemporary architecture, compared to 39% of others.

"A slight majority (51%) would support increasing density if new buildings include affordable housing—a cornerstone of Mayor de Blasio’s housing program," the report states. (That also is a justification for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park; I'll address the report's findings re AY/PP separately.)

As displacement pressure on tenants and businesses increases, new residents will likely "be both whiter and more affluent than the existing community." The report suggests supporting current affordable housing and trying to "improve the affordability of new subsidized housing." (That's also a nod to Atlantic Yards, given the lack of affordability.)

"The community should strive to find ways to support local businesses as they manage through transition in the neighborhood and absorb increased rent cost," the report says. That's not simple, until and unless there are policies like commercial rent control.

Other challenges include "infrastructure strain, including traffic calming and pedestrian safety initiatives, new school construction, and streetscape improvements."

The report ends by suggesting that working "public and private partners to build engaging common spaces that residents experience collectively and that foster and extend a sense of community." Such spaces, presumably, could be indoors as well as out. But the delayed Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildout, however, means that that "park," at least, will take a while.

From the environmental reviews

Note that the 2006 Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement suggested that, within the the ¾-mile study area--an area well beyond Prospect Heights--households earning $100,000 or more would go from 16% of the population in 2000 to 21% without Atlantic Yards by 2016, or 25% with the project, assuming it was fully built out.

The reality was starker, in the court-ordered 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (p. 41 of Chapter 4A) regarding Phase 2 of Atlantic Yards, as shown below.

The study area had changed faster than predicted, with already 34.5% earning over $100,000 by 2011. According to the document, without Phase 2 of the project, there'd be 40.7% earning six figures by 2035, but with the project, there'd be 42.9% by 2035. Current trends suggest those estimates may have been conservative.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …