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Developers Break Ground on Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards

 Greenland Forest City Partners broke ground on 535 Carlton Ave. on Monday, an all-affordable apartment building that is part of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development.
Groundbreaking at 535 Carlton Ave.
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Work has officially begun on the first building of entirely affordable units at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development in Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, longtime developer of the site Bruce Ratner and several members of the Shanghai-based company Greenland Group  which now has a controlling interest in the property  kicked off the construction of 535 Carlton Ave. Monday morning with a ceremonial groundbreaking at Dean Street, where all 298 units will be rented to low- and middle-income residents.

“For our community, which has seen not years but decades of rising costs and gentrification, this development offers the chance to have a huge number of affordable units that people from this community can live in and continue to be Brooklynites,” de Blasio said.

Plans for the new Prospect Heights building were released this summer with renderings showing the 18-story terraced, brick building with first-floor retail space and a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments designed by the architecture firm COOKFOX.

Fifty percent of the building’s units will be rented to households making between 145 and 165 percent of the area median income, which in 2014 would be between $121,655 and $138,435 for a family of four, the developers said. The rest of the units will be rented to households making as little as 40 percent of the area median income, which this year is $33,560 for a family of four.

Greenland Forest City Partners, the new entity behind the project, sped up the timeline for construction at the Carlton Avenue building after striking a deal with the state, mayor’s office and several community groups this summer to complete all affordable housing at the site by 2025.

Work will also begin this month nearby at 550 Vanderbilt Ave. at Dean Street, a market-rate condominium, according to developers. To prepare for work at both buildings, workers have erected a 16-foot-high construction wall around the south side of Dean Street, west side of Vanderbilt Avenue and east side of Carlton Avenue that will remain for the two years of construction.

The 298 units at 535 Carlton Ave. will be included in the de Blasio administration’s goal of preserving or creating 200,000 units of affordable housing in the city in 10 years. Both the mayor and the developers praised the work as part of that larger goal.

“Today is a celebration,” said I-Fei Chang, CEO and president of Greenland’s U.S. branch. “We are committed to doing everything we can to keep this neighborhood diverse, affordable and accessible for all New Yorkers.”

According to the deal struck this summer, Greenland must start construction on the next building with affordable housing, a 23-story tower at 30 Sixth Ave. at Dean Street, before March or face millions in fines.