Two affordable housing projects coming to Brooklyn
by Benjamin Fang
Sep 02, 2020 | 467 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The development at 1921 Atlantic Avenue will be home to 236 units of affordable housing.
The development at 1921 Atlantic Avenue will be home to 236 units of affordable housing.
The project for 461 Alabama Avenue will add another 71 units of supportive housing to Brooklyn.
The project for 461 Alabama Avenue will add another 71 units of supportive housing to Brooklyn.
Despite the budgetary constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, city agencies announced last Thursday that they have financed three new housing developments that will collectively create 400 affordable homes.

All three projects, two of which are in Brooklyn, will be led by minority and women-owned businesses enterprise (MWBE) development teams.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC) also funded the developments without using direct city capital dollars.

“A new reality requires a fresh approach, which is why we’re deploying new financing methods that will deliver stability for countless families in an extremely uncertain time,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Despite the funding challenges that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to champion the people of this city by providing affordable housing for those who need it most.”

The first development, at 1921 Atlantic Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is a joint venture by the developers Thorobird and Dabar Development. The 236-unit affordable development will serve low-income and formerly homeless New Yokers.

The project includes a grocery store and community facility space that will promote entrepreneurship, housing assistance, health care and the arts to the community.

Both developers were selected through HPD’s Building Opportunity Initiative, which empowers MWBE firms to lead the development of 100 percent affordable housing on city-owned sites.

Another site, located at 461 Alabama Avenue in Brownsville, will be led by CB Emmanuel Realty and the nonprofit group Services for Underserved (SUS). The project will transform a 10,000-square-foot lot into a 71-unit supportive housing development.

SUS will provide on-site services for the formerly homeless residents. The building will also contain a recreation room, landscaped courtyard and shared rooftop space. CB Emmanuel Realty was also chosen by the Building Opportunity Initiative.

A third project, Victory Commons in the Bronx, will include 95 units of affordable housing.

“These latest developments will help to build more affordable and inclusive communities, cultivate valuable partnerships with minority and women-owned businesses, and foster economic growth through job creation,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin.

All of the projects are being financed without drawing down on the capital budget, according to the agencies. They are substituting the use of HDC subsidies and reallocating the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Both HPD and HDC said they will seek to leverage federal and city resources, as well as creative partnerships. The city is also prioritizing projects that serve seniors, the homeless and the lowest-income New Yorkers.

So far, the city has built or preserved 165,000 affordable homes during the de Blasio administration, which aims to build 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

“In spite of the tremendous difficulties we face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remain committed to creating and maintaining affordable housing, especially for New Yorkers who are homeless or have very low incomes,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair of the Senate Committee on Housing. “In fact, COVID-19 has made access to a safe and secure home more important than ever.”

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, whose district includes Bed-Stuy, said in a statement that she’s pleased to welcome the project at 1921 Atlantic Avenue to her community.

“One-hundred percent affordable developments that serve low-income New Yorkers are rare,” she said, “and still desperately needed by my constituents.”

Thomas Campbell, managing member at Thorobird Companies, called the creative financing for 1921 Atlantic “a phenomenal model for our nation.”

“We are proud and looking forward to helping create affordable homes for those that need it most,” he said in a statement.
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