Brooklyn's Not (That) Afraid of the Projects Anymore

It's still tree-lined. (Bing Maps)

Who’s afraid of public housing? Not Brooklyn! The borough, newly named the coolest city on the planet, has not let the proximity of public housing complexes affect ever-increasing real estate prices, The New York Times reports. More specifically, a steady flow of professionals and young families have moved into the Boerum Hill neighborhood despite the looming public housing towers on either side.

On Warren Street between Bond and Nevins, home values are on the rise. Despite being flanked on either end by massive developments, affluent buyers have been snatching up property on the block. Although prices have fluctuated in recent years with the wavering markets, it seems clear that buyers aren’t getting the “your new home is next to the ghetto” discount anymore.

At the condo development, for instance, sales fell from a high of $588 per square foot in 2008 to a low of $305 per square foot in 2009, but rose to $639 per square foot last year for a four-bedroom apartment that went into contract at $1.15 million, according to Streeteasy.com. On a stretch of Bergen Street two blocks away, farther from the projects, sales prices for single- and multifamily homes generally ranged from a low of $374 per square foot in 2007 to $694 this year, having reached a high of $1,079 at the end of last year, for a fully renovated single-family town house that retained many of its original details, according to available data from Streeteasy.

Still, there is some cause for concern. Neighbors worry about the crime rate and the ability of police to patrol the area effectively.

Residents say that they do not worry so much about the presence of public housing as about what they see as a lack of police enforcement in driving away drug traffic. Dealers hang out at the corner of Bond, where a 16-year-old girl was shot to death last year, said Steven Turner Hart, a writer who has lived on the block since 1998. At Nevins, an abandoned building plays frequent host to crack addicts, he said.

Crack addicts, shmack addicts! The friendly neighborhood junkie isn’t bringing down real estate prices like he used to.

eknutsen@observer.com Brooklyn's Not (That) Afraid of the Projects Anymore