Outside of the East Village, the leafy brownstone neighborhoods of Brooklyn are the defacto homesteads for New York’s entertainment types. Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger "moved to Brooklyn for light and space and air," the actress has said, and their neighbors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard got a $1.75 million brownstone last year with no less than seven fireplaces.
But what about the non-millionaire types who want that light and space and air and fire? On the northern border of Mr. Ledger’s old neighborhood, Boerum Hill, a sustainable 97,000-square-foot affordable-housing building for artists, called the Schermerhorn House, was just topped off.
Besides its “post consumer waste” glass façade, the building between Smith and Hoyt streets is getting a second-floor “green roof” terrace and a 199-seat performance space for dance and theater. That’s because about half of the 217 residents will be “local artists, actors and entertainment professionals”–the others spaces are reserved for “people transitioning out of homelessness, and people living with AIDS,” a press release said today.
David Beer, the director of real estate development for the non-profit Common Ground (which is building Schermerhorn with The Actors Fund), said the project took about $40 million. He told The Observer that the money came from developers Time Equities and investors Hamlin Ventures, who were required to create some affordable housing when they bought a vast chunk of local land.
On the other hand, according to a previous release, the moneymen voluntarily doubled the amount of affordable units they’d be building. Capitalists can be kind too!
The building opens next spring, and Mr. Beer said New Yorkers can contact the Actors Fund to ask about applications. But be warned: “It was a bit of a technical feat to build this residence, because it’s over three subway lines; the tunnels are directly below our building,” Mr. Beer said. On the bright side, he promised there won’t be subterranean noisiness or rattling.