At 7 a.m., Donice Ford-Benson is working in the rain on the unfinished 17th floor of 550 Vanderbilt. She’s checking a drain system but pauses for a moment because, even in the downpour, she can’t resist taking in the panorama of Downtown Brooklyn. The spot where she stands will soon be a balcony and belong to whoever buys the condo and the views. According to the developer’s website, the building will be “Setting the Standard for Brooklyn Living.” Construction is almost complete, and when it is, Ford-Benson will then be out of work. She’s been a union plumber for 17 years; it’s a familiar cycle of episodic work, one that has driven her family in and out of homelessness. Currently, her daily commute is between the new standard of living on Vanderbilt Avenue and the Help 1 shelter in East New York.Later, he returns to several individuals among the large group of shelter residents who are working poor. Ford-Benson lives with her husband and two sons at a shelter in East New York. She's had a tough time with housing, starting in the system in 1992, getting problematic apartment starting in 1997 with a Section 8 voucher, re-entering the shelter system, finding an apartment, then depleting her savings with rent.
We’re building condos at 550 Vanderbilt. The prices on these condos is crazy — $900,000 for a one bedroom. They started moving people in, so I’m homeless but I’m sitting here building, watching people live good. Some of these people have three bathrooms. The marble, oh my God. The cabinets, oh my God. The refrigerators. These people will have gardens. The roof is such a good site, especially early in the morning. I was on the roof the other day, and you can see all of New York City.A farm-to-table condo movement and a sales pitch
I grew up in Brownsville. Born at St. Mary’s Hospital. So what happens to the people from Brooklyn? We’re moving over for the whole new Brooklyn.
In Farm-to-Condo Movement Stakes Its Claim to Brooklyn Rooftop, the Wall Street Journal reported 4/5/17 about plots for residents on the eight-floor terrace of 550 Vanderbilt. And that includes a subdivision for Ian Rothman, a farmer and co-owner of Olmsted, the "trendy farm-to-table restaurant" that recently opened on Vanderbilt.
By contrast, 550 Vanderbilt is providing a terrace for do-it-yourself farmers who can afford condos priced at an average of $1,500 a square foot, with one-bedroom units starting at $890,000 and two-bedrooms at $1.495 million. The building is being developed by a joint venture between Greenland USA, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Greenland Group Co., and Forest City Ratner Cos., a subsidiary of Forest City Realty Trust Inc.
...The idea for the 550 Vanderbilt Ave. vegetable garden came from COOKFOX Architects, which designed the building. The firm follows a principle it calls “biophilic design,” or the creation of spaces that promote human well being by enhancing the connection between people and nature, said architect Brandon Specketer, who worked on the building.
...The condos at 550 Vanderbilt are part of the 22-acre $4.9 billion Pacific Park development anchored by the Barclays Center. It eventually will include 14 residential buildings with 6,430 apartments, many like 550 Vanderbilt connected by a park open to the public.
The condos went on the market in mid-2015, and about 60% of the apartments have been sold, Ms. Cotton said, including seven in the month since the building opened.No, actually, not a park. Sales are "slower than anticipated." The role of Chinese buyers seems significant.