Church hopes to create concept of urban village in East New York

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EAST NEW YORK -

A church in Brooklyn is hoping to use its unused space to create an urban village with affordable housing.

For 13 years, Rev. A.R. Bernard has been tossing around the idea of an urban village -- a mixed-use space with housing, shopping and community resources, all on land owned by his church, the Christian Cultural Center.

"Four and a half acres of it is undeveloped, that we're using for parking," says Bernard. "We will replace that use with a parking garage and the 6 acres that we are on currently."

Over three years, the church met with developers until it settled on Gotham Organization and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism.

There will be 2,100 apartments, and the area will include many amenities.

"We want people to stay and not dream about how they can get out of this community," says Bernard. "So it will have restaurants, supermarket, grocery stores, all the things that you need, close at hand."

There will also be a performing arts center and an educational building.

The church is working on the formal request process but hopes to have shovels in the ground by 2020.

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