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Brooklyn’s Culver El affordable housing development opens 20 years after planning began

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The Culver El Affordable Housing Development in Brooklyn finally held its grand opening Sunday afternoon after a storied history under construction. 
Photo by Dean Moses

The Culver El Affordable Housing Development in Brooklyn finally held its grand opening Sunday afternoon after 20 years of starts and stops along the planning and construction process.

Culver El Affordable Housing has been in development for over two decades with the process spanning four New York City mayors, and on Nov. 27 it was at last officially opened. The Borough Park development is designed to offer permanent affordable housing to low-income and middle-class families.

“My mother passed away recently, and she never complained,” state Senator Simcha Felder said at the grand opening. “I said to her once if you had to complain what is the one thing that aggravated her during her life and she said moving from apartment to apartment, not having a permanent place to live. I say if that was the only thing that my mother would complain about, what a wonderful, wonderful thing for you to be able to enable families to have a permanent place to live and to enjoy.”

The reception was held inside 1240 37th Street and was attended by a litany of elected officials. Photo by Dean Moses

The reception, held inside 1240 37th St., was attended by a litany of elected officials and representatives, such as state Senator Roxanne Persaud, City Comptroller Brad Lander, and more. Although the date officially marked the grand opening, Culver El already houses a number of families that for many seemed to take a lifetime to build.

Lander lamented the 20 years it took the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization to finally cut the ribbon some three years after ultimately completing the project, acknowledging that the city is in desperate need for more housing. Yet he also beamed that families are finally able to benefit from the condos.

Comptroller Brad Lander
Comptroller Brad Lander. Photo by Dean Moses

“It took much longer than it should have taken, and we have to learn from that actually, because we need to produce housing a lot faster,” Lander said candidly. “I think it’s important to recognize that the vast majority of the affordable housing that we build in New York City today, is rental housing, and of course we need a lot of rental housing for people but boy we need homeownership opportunities for working, low-income and middle-class families.”

With the area serving a primarily Jewish community, Lander also drove home the importance of establishing safe spaces as anti-Semitic hate crime and rhetoric climb across the country both in person and on social media, with the comptroller even taking shots at former President Donald Trump for hosting dinner with white supremacists.

Following opening remarks, speakers, politicians, and community leaders gathered in the rain to officially christen the Culver El Affordable Housing Development open by cutting a ribbon.

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