FLATBUSH — A new affordable housing complex is set to replace a Caribbean-American marketplace in the neighborhood, bringing 166 apartments and new commercial space to the area, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced Tuesday.
The city chose BRP Companies to develop the new project at the corner of Flatbush and Caton avenues on the site of the Flatbush Caton Market, an indoor shopping center built in 2001 for products and textiles from the Caribbean.
At a press conference at the site Tuesday, the NYCEDC, the developers and current managers of the market unveiled renderings for the site, which show a multi-level, brick and glass building with first-floor community and retail space that will be used once again by the market’s 45 vendors after the new project is completed.
“During construction, [BRP] will provide temporary space in the area for the current vendors, they’ll pay for their relocation costs, so that even through the development process, the market’s vendors will have a solid home until they return to a new, expanded, upgraded market,” said NYCEDC president Maria Torres-Springer at the event.
A rendering of the front of the planned Flatbush Caton Market project shows its first-floor retail space with residential units on the upper floors.
Of the mixed-use building’s 166 units of affordable housing, 20 percent will be set aside for low-income residents, 30 percent for moderate-income and 50 percent for “middle-income,” the city said, with precise income requirements to be determined based on the “AMI” or area median income of the neighborhood.
In addition to market space and housing, the rebuilt Flatbush Caton Market building will include room for classrooms and “incubator space,” meant for entrepreneurial training in business development and management skills, Torres-Springer said. This element in particular impressed Dr. Roy Hastick, Sr., founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which manages the market and will have a permanent home in the market there when the new building is done.
“We have to focus on the micro-entrepreneurs that will be helped here at the market, nurturing [them] to become entrepreneurs — to move from the market to Church Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, downtown Brooklyn — so they become viable entrepreneurs [and] make a contribution to this economy,” he said in front of the market building on Tuesday.
The Flatbush Caton Market, built in 2001 at the corner of Flatbush and Caton avenues in Brooklyn, sells Caribbean goods, textiles and food from about 45 vendors. (Photo credit: DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith)
The developers on the project, BRP Companies, have been involved in many mixed-use and affordable housing projects in the city, including The Crossing at Jamaica Station in Queens and The Renny in Harlem. The co-founder of BRP, Meredith Marshall, said the Flatbush project “means a lot” to him personally, because he grew up in the area.
“They couldn’t have selected a better developer for this project because we’re from the community, we know the community and we’ll build what’s right for the community,” he said.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also offered assurance to the larger community that the project would strengthen the community, not detract from it, saying “development is not displacement.”
“Communities that have held down these neighborhoods before they were fancy and attractive and appealing have the right to be part of the branding of these communities,” he said.
The new project is designed by architects at Freeform + Deform in Clinton Hill. A ground breaking date for the project has not yet been set.