Take a stroll down 37th Street in Borough Park and you cannot help but feel the excitement in the air. Construction at the Culver project is moving along at a phenomenal pace. Nine newly built condominium buildings now grace the block – and they are quickly nearing completion. Community activists and elected officials who were involved in making the project a reality, often stop by to see for themselves the fruits of their labor.
As passersby notice the nine attractive buildings, many stop to ask the contractors how they can apply to purchase one. They are typically directed to the sign displaying the number of the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO), the non-profit community sponsor of the project. And call they do! In fact, hardly a day goes by at SBCO when we are not inundated with calls inquiring about the project.
It is beautiful to note that while no marketing of the project has yet been done, the calls are coming from all segments of this ethnically diverse neighborhood. This has been a tremendous source of encouragement and confirms the vital need for more affordable housing in the area.
As construction passes the eighty percent mark, we now see the end in sight and have begun making plans for the commencement of marketing. When available, applications will be mailed out to those on the inquiry list, advertised in local print media, available on the web and through calling the SBCO office.
In April, 2005, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans to rezone a six-block area that will allow for the creation of several hundred new units of housing in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The re-zoning and designation of the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO) to develop city-owned land for affordable housing, will create much-needed housing in a community where opportunities for residential development is restricted, as well as enable the expansion of one of Brooklyn's fastest growing communities.
Borough Park is a community whose population has grown by 15.6% in recent years while there has only been a 4.5% increase in housing stock. The Culver Estates site was formerly a right-of-way for the discontinued elevated railway. The 50' wide strip of largely undeveloped land, running along 37th Street in Borough Park, was being used for parking and storage. In accordance with the Mayor’s housing plan, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) rezoned the six-block area to allow for future residential growth. In addition to the rezoning, two City-owned blocks were designated for the development of affordable housing, by SBCO.
The housing project will be located on 37th Street, between 12th and 14th Avenues. The design plans call for the development of 17 four-story structures, with one unit per floor, totaling 68 units. Eight buildings will be built on the block between 13th and 14th Avenues (Zoning Block 5300), and nine structures on the block between 12th and 13th Avenues (Zoning Block 5295). Each building will be approximately 40' x 40', and will provide two off-street parking spaces – one of which will be handicapped accessible.
Construction of Phase I - located on 37th Street between 12th and 13th Avenues is currently underway with an estimated completion date of December 2017.
When will you be marketing these condos?
The marketing process has already begun. Watch local media outlets for notification of pre-purchase educational seminars and for other details. Actual marketing of the units will most-likely begin in the late fall.
Are these apartments for rent of for sale?
This project is part of the NYC New Foundations Project, a streamlined, HPD homeownership program established to develop infill sites in neighborhoods that lacked home ownership opportunities and to encourage small developers and contractors to create affordable housing.
How much do I need to earn to be eligible for these units?
At least one third of the units in the project must be affordable to households earning up to 80% of area median income (AMI). Additional tiers of affordability are for households earning between 80% and 110% of AMI.
Are there any preferences as to who will receive these units?
The project gives preference on some of the units to those with disabilities and to those currently residing in local neighboring Community Boards.
Who decides who gets the units?
The Community Sponsor will market the sale of these units as per a marketing plan approved by HPD. Applications are received into a locked post-office box. Sponsor then opens lock-box in the presence of HPD and enters all applications into Housing Connect – a database controlled by HPD. Housing Connect will generate the winners of the lottery following HPD specified criteria and community preferences. Sponsor does not determine who is selected in the lottery. Please note that all duplicate applications are automatically disqualified.
I am not sure I can qualify for a mortgage, is there anyone that can help me out?
SBCO will be sponsoring several pre-purchase educational seminars in an effort to help members of the community determine homeownership eligibility and to begin preparing their documents necessary for securing a mortgage. SBCO’s counselors will introduce you to several mortgage products available and will give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Private counseling sessions are also available by calling the SBCO office at (718) 435-1300 to schedule an appointment.
I have a good job, but do not have an adequate down-payment, is any assistance available?
Speak with the knowledgeable homeownership counselors at SBCO who will introduce you to the various down-payment assistance options that are available. As a HUD approved counseling agency, SBCO has access to many bank CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) products that may not be available through traditional mortgage brokers.
My Bank tells me I need financial counseling, where can I get it?
As part of the counseling process, SBCO’s certified counselors will provide the financial counseling required by many financial institutions.