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It was a wasteland, wedged among the Belt Parkway, a garbage dump, and two creeks. Its nearest neighboring community, East New York, was sinking fast. Far from the subway, schools or other infrastructure, the site’s development had an inauspicious start.

Now, more than 30 years later, 5,881 units of affordable housing, which succeeded against great odds, are about to be sold in Brooklyn for a reported price of $1.3 billion. Existing tenants are concerned that their apartments will lose rent subsidies and the resulting increases will lead to displacement. Politicians and government officials are promising to keep Starrett City affordable. Meanwhile, owners and developers are concerned that such promises jeopardize statutory provisions that allow Mitchell-Lama buildings to return to the private market after 20 years.

In this Urban Prospect, author Harold Shultz examines the complex issues that could undermine the project’s ongoing financial and physical viability. Download a pdf of the full report here.