Razing and Rebuilding Brooklyn Complexes Too Costly, Study Says

(Bloomberg) -- It would be far more expensive to demolish and build new subsidized housing than to repair existing facilities, New York City’s Independent Budget Office found after surveying physical conditions and finances at 15 of Brooklyn’s most problem-plagued projects.

The Brooklyn complexes, comprised of 16,465 apartments, house more than 39,000 residents. Rehabilitating them would cost $260,000 per unit or $4.3 billion total. Building new housing would amount to $410,000 per unit, not including demolition or land acquisition, said the IBO, a public fiscal watchdog that studied the issue at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The agency found that demolition of existing public housing would also be impractical because it would raise tenant concerns about losing their homes. Federal Housing and Urban Development funds that subsidize rents would be ineligible to finance new construction, the IBO said. Privately-developed affordable housing could be feasible when situated on city-owned property at the Brooklyn public-housing locations because buildings occupy only about 20 percent of their lot areas, the report said.

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