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April 15, 2011

Tucked Between Past and Future in Brooklyn


The New York Times
by Joseph Plambeck

On the north side of Prospect Heights in northwestern Brooklyn, construction workers are busy building the Barclays Center, the future home of the New Jersey Nets.

On the neighborhood’s south side sit several of the borough’s most venerable cultural institutions and attractions.

And in between is an evolving neighborhood that is also a blend of the old and the young, the established and the newcomers.

When Honey Moon Ubarde and her husband were moving to New York from San Francisco in 2007, they knew they needed space. They had lived in Manhattan before, but now with two young girls and several pets, they set their sights on Brooklyn. They ended up in Prospect Heights, buying a town house for about $1.3 million.

Some friends questioned the location, Ms. Ubarde, 34, said, but she had no doubts. “We were surprised that more people hadn’t moved here,” she said, “that more people didn’t see everything that’s around this location.”

Her home is just a few blocks from some of Brooklyn’s most heavily trafficked destinations, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park.

Brokers and residents say that in the last decade there have been many families of new arrivals sharing Ms. Ubarde’s response to the area.

As Michael Ettelson, an agent for Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, put it, Prospect Heights “went from a neighborhood many people hadn’t heard of to a place that a lot of people want to be.”


NoLandGrab: But didn't Bruce Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation claim the neighborhood was blighted?

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Times Real Estate section returns to Prospect Heights, finds not blight but "a place that a lot of people want to be"

The latest Living In/Prospect Heights, Brooklyn article for the New York Times Real Estate section, online now and destined for the Sunday paper April 17, is headlined Tucked Between Past and Future in Brooklyn, and should be read in concert with the four previous "Living In" articles published from 1985 through 2005, which I cataloged in October 2006.

In 1999, the headline was A Diverse Neighborhood Spruces Up in a Turnaround, while in 2005 it was A Neighborhood Comes Into Its Own.

While Prospect Heights is more economically diverse than, say, neighboring Park Slope, thanks to a larger number of rent-regulated buildings, you wouldn't get that from the latest article. (It does quote a resident as saying the drug dealers are long gone.)

The Times reports:

Another big change is the Atlantic Yards development, Bruce C. Ratner’s 22-acre residential and commercial project, which includes the Barclays Center and has many vocal critics. So far, several brokers said, the project has not substantially affected real estate prices. The arena is scheduled to open in September 2012.

Atlantic Yards, Mr. Ettelson said, was a bigger concern among prospective buyers four or five years ago, when all people had to go on about the development was drawings and the like. Now, he said, “they see a stadium going up, and people are not necessarily positive about it, but they feel more confident.”

Well, there's likely a tension between wanting a scarce and valuable resource--a row house in a desirable neighborhood near transit--and coping with the increase in traffic on select streets.

I'd suggest that "prospective buyers" should not be chosen as the primary constituency for judging the impact of Atlantic Yards. What about the people who live there?

Posted by eric at April 15, 2011 11:19 AM