CYPRESS HILL - After years of stalled plans, community leaders broke ground Monday on a $6.7 million retail and housing development in Cypress Hills.

The Cypress Hills Development Corp. led the push to develop the area at Fulton Street and Van Siclen Avenue, which is currently an abandoned lot. Officials, including Borough President Marty Markowitz, were on hand for the groundbreaking.

"We've been working on this project for the past 10 years," said Michelle Neugebauer, of the Cypress Hills Development Corp. "There hasn't been a lot of very vibrant commercial activity and we're expecting it to boom now."

The lot, which sat vacant for decades since many merchants left the location in the 80s, will contain 18 affordable apartments and six stores.

Organizers said people interested in living in the apartments should keep an eye out in local papers for eligibility requirements and how to apply.

The project is part of a broader plan to redevelop 32 blocks of Fulton Street. Construction is expected to last 15 months.