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Crown Heights Degentrification Watch: Gimme Shelter!

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A bomb went off in February when some politicians called for a city plan to buy up unsold new luxury condos and turn them into subsidized housing for middle-income families, but the Daily News reports that Crown Heights is already way past that point. A 67-unit development on the east side of the neighborhood, where the developer hoped to get prices of $250,000 to $350,000 per apartment, is now being used as a homeless shelter. When the building, at 1040 East New York Avenue, wouldn't sell, the developer signed a 10-year deal with the Bushwick Economic Development Group?which now gets paid $90 per night by the city for each of the apartments (that's $2,700 every 30 days) currently being used by homeless families.

"At least we still own the building and we are paying our mortgage," says the developer, and at least the building isn't a Ghost Tower, say city officials. But not all the neighbors are pleased with this arrangement. One, who inquired about renting a unit in the building before finding out it was a shelter, said, "I'm a hardworking taxpayer, and I don't think homeless people should be living better than me." Are they really living better? It's easy to find out! The Daily News, in what has to be a first, includes a bit of homeless shelter floorplan porn in the story. Ballroom extension? If the tenants are holding regular galas, they really are living the high life!
· City turns upscale building in Crown Heights into homeless shelter [NYDN]