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The Jaxson: Affordable Housing In Brooklyn Could Fight Effects Of Gentrification

aerial photo of the site of the future complex
Jacksonville Daily Record
Vestcor plans to build a five-story, 133-unit apartment building on a 1.16-acre site along Spruce Street between Jackson and Stonewall streets in Brooklyn.

An affordable housing complex is on track to break ground in Brooklyn this year.

As Mike Field tells WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo, the project could help those who were pushed out of the once-thriving working-class neighborhood, move back.

Field says the multi-family development on Spruce Street is Vestcor’s fourth such project in the city's Urban Core — the first three were in LaVilla — and is the first development of its kind in Brooklyn in more than three decades.

Today, single-family homes that survived a wholesale razing in the 1980s are falling into disrepair. Some of them are not even connected to city sewers, Field says.

For the families of “legacy” Brooklyn residents to return, affordable housing is needed. That way, they can be part of the area’s rebirth.

“Brooklyn has the potential to be a really great urban neighborhood in the Southeast, but to live up to that reputation, the neighborhood’s future can’t erase its past,” Field said. “I think the key to avoiding the effects of gentrification in Brooklyn first revolves around, first, respecting what made the neighborhood special to generations of people, as well as providing an environment where affordable housing is successfully integrated into the neighborhood’s rebirth.”