Out of all the projects that have come under public scrutiny, 626 Flatbush Avenue seems to have received the brunt of the community’s ire. With many people citing the construction project as a first step in the relocation of many residents in the area and the eventual gentrification of the area as a whole. The reason why there has been so much public backlash can be explained through the fact that this building is by and large a luxury apartment complex. Unsubsidized housing units (which are 80% of the planned units) will cost upwards of 1850$ a month. This is in obvious contrast to the primary working-class neighborhood.
So, you might be asking yourself “why is having a luxury apartment such a big deal?” You’d be forgiven for not truly understanding what it means to have new construction projects that obviously don’t cater to the demographics of the area. This apartment complex is obviously being built to attract a wealthier demographic to the area. If this proves successful then other landlords in the area might get it in their heads that it’d be possible for them to make much more money renting out their units to this new clientele. The result of this is that current residents eventually get pushed out of their homes through tactics such as buyouts and other, less scrupulous, means.
It’s not like there isn’t precedent for this sort of thing; many residents of the Chinatown/Lower Manhattan area have reported an increased effort to relocate them when real estate in the area began to appreciate in value. The tenants of Flatbush have taken to protesting the construction of this building, but to little avail. Now, tenant run groups such as Imani Henry’s “Equality for Flatbush” are reaching out to current residents to defend against the landlords that would push them out to make way for wealthier tenants.