Affordable areas attract young professionals

September 15, 2008 1:13:06 PM PDT
The housing crisis and falling prices are hitting communities throughout our area hard. But some neighborhoods are using it as an opportunity to attract new people.Franklin Avenue is one such place, and it sure has come a long way.

"No one wanted to walk down the street, there was a large drug problem, lots of street crime," Paula Roth said.

Yet Roth, a freelance journalist who has lived in this Crown Heights neighborhood for 14 years, is seeing changes once again.

More and more, young professionals are finding the area more affordable than nearby Park Slope or Prospect Heights.

"This has become a mecca for people who want to be a New Yorker, want to be in Manhattan, but just can't afford it," area resident Mark Last said.

Researching a newspaper article, Roth made another discovery.

"You can save at least $300 on a one-bedroom apartment in Crown Heights versus just three or four blocks away in Prospect Heights," she said.

That change is also evident when you talk to people who are investing new money in the area, like Matthew Roff, co-owner of the recently opened Franklin Park.

"This area is definitely on the cusp, and probably the next one to blow open," he said.

Matthew and his business partner opened the bar and beer garden in an old mechanics garage with lots of outdoor space just off Franklin Avenue.

"Having outdoor space in New York City is like having a parking spot," he said. "It's like gold."

And now, with new luxury condos being built in the area, Loretta Roundtree says she's worried that lower income residents may be forced out.

"You take an average working woman that has two kids, and she has a pretty decent job and she brings home $2,000 a month," she said. "She can't pay $1,600, $1,700 a month rent."

Larry Ross sees the changes in other ways.

"The neighborhood has lifted itself up, and I kind of like that," he said. "And I also like the mixture of people."

Along with a mixture of changes.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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