Nearly 900 New Apartments To Be Built in Brownsville on Three City Owned Sites

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced several updates on commitments made in the Brownsville Plan, which include development plans for over 880 units to be built on three City-owned sites identified through the Brownsville Request for Proposals (RFP), as well as the installation of innovative, community-driven streetscape upgrades to improve public safety as identified through the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors. NYCx Co-Lab Challenges are open competitions co-developed by City agencies and community representatives to address the most pressing concerns of underserved New York City neighborhoods.

“The Brownsville Plan was designed to understand and capture the unique vision and voice of Brownsville residents to inform a holistic plan to revitalize the neighborhood. As a result of extensive community engagement, Brownsville will not only see over 880 high quality affordable homes rise from the ground, but also the vital community and commercial space that will promote opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and healthy living created in direct response to the community’s wants and needs,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I thank all of our partners in the community as well as the many city agencies, and local elected officials who have each taken a hand in shaping the future of Brownsville for their dedication and support throughout this process.”

“HDC is proud to support the Brownsville plan through these comprehensive investments in much-needed affordable housing and dynamic retail, cultural, and community space,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to the selected development teams and all our partners who will join us in bringing innovative and tech-driven solutions to transform this neighborhood into a safer, more affordable, and cohesive community.”

“Addressing longstanding inequities in health requires collaboration between city agencies, community-based organizations, and residents among other stakeholders,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. ”The First Annual Update to the Brownsville Plan demonstrates clear progress towards the goal of making sure that Brownsville residents can access the resources they need to live long, healthy lives.”

HPD also published its first annual progress report on the commitments made in the Brownsville Plan, which was created through a year-long planning process that brought together over 20 government agencies, 30 community-based organizations, and nearly 500 residents to identify neighborhood priorities, set goals, and form strategies to achieve them. Examples of progress include:

  • Activation of Osborn Plaza as the NYCxCo-Lab anchor site
  • Comprehensive security improvements at NYCHA campuses complete this past spring
  • A transformative renovation of Betsy Head Park that will begin construction this fall
  • The launch and expansion of family health programming at the new Neighborhood Health Action Center
  • Improved and expanded activities for children and young adults
  • Support for local small businesses, including storefront improvements

HPD will host a Community Open House and Reception in the fall to present on the Brownsville Plan progress report updates and provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about the proposals and meet the development teams.

Nearly 900 Affordable Homes to be Built in Brownsville

HPD has designated three development teams identified through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process that launched in August 2017 to develop each of the sites. The Brownsville RFP included approximately 173,000 square feet of City-owned land across three sites for the development of mixed-income and mixed-use affordable housing. Each site focused on one specific theme that addresses the community goals and strategies outlined in the Brownsville Plan.

Site A: The Brownsville Arts Center and Apartments (BACA)

Located along Rockaway Avenue and Chester Street, between East New York Avenue a­­­­­­nd Pitkin Avenue, this project will be led by a development team that includes Blue Sea Development Company, Gilbane Development Company and Artspace Projects. The development will contain approximately 230 units of affordable housing that will serve a range of incomes including extremely low-income and formerly homeless households. The building will feature 24,000 square feet of arts and culture space that will be the home of a dance and performing arts school run by Purelements, a music school run by Brooklyn Music School,and a media lab and arts center run by BRIC. The building will also feature a collaborative black box theater that will accommodate a range of uses, including theater, dance, music and film. The theater will provide continuous cultural programming and will be accessible to the community and general public for events. The community identified the need for cultural space that will increase access and opportunities for neighborhood residents and nurture Brownsville’s artistic community. HPD partnered with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to review proposals for this site.

Site B: Glenmore Manor Apartments

Located at the intersection of Christopher Avenue and Glenmore Avenue, his project will be led by a development team that includes the African American Planning Commission, Inc. (AAPC), Brisa Builders, and Lemle & Wolff. The development will include approximately 230 affordable homes serving a range of incomes and populations, including extremely low-income households, formerly homeless households and low-income seniors. It will feature 20,000 square feet of new commercial and community space that will be home to the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, as well as a sit-down restaurant, and salon run by a locally-owned beauty products company. The site will also feature space for the Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (CBEDC), and other partners who will expand their programming for young entrepreneurs and provide services for small businesses and nonprofits.

Site C: Livonia 4

This project will be developed by a team that includes Radson Development, Community Solutions and Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation. Livonia 4 is a multi-site development comprised of a series of parcels along Livonia Avenue between Powell Street and Mother Gaston Boulevard with an additional parcel at the intersection of Livonia Avenue and Amboy Street that will include over 420 units of affordable housing over four sites that will serve a range of incomes and populations, including extremely low-income households, formerly homeless households and low-income seniors. The largest site will include a new supermarket, café and a rooftop greenhouse that will serve as a new local source of fresh produce for distribution to building residents and the community through the supermarket and café. The remaining three sites will feature additional community gardens, social services, a new senior center and a youth and family recreation facility.

The Brownsville Plan is leading to the creation of over 2,500 new affordable homes, representing more than $1 billion of investment. Over 500 affordable apartments and for sale affordable homes are currently under construction. In addition to new development of vacant City-owned land, including the RFP sites, the plan also coordinates over $150 million in critical neighborhood investments, many of which are under way now or already complete.  

NYCx Co-Lab Challenge Winners

Proposals were selected from a pool of 24 applicants to the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors, through a technology competition focused on activation of public spaces after dark, in alignment with the findings from the MOCJ-led Neighborhood Activation Study—for support of up to $20,000 in funding—to pilot their solutions. The two selected proposals are:

Ville-luminate the Block, a project created and led by Brownsville youth with support from the Brownsville Community Justice Center, The Brownsville Partnership, and Peoples Culture—is designing and installing a 3D projection system in Osborn Plaza on the Belmont Avenue Corridor. Brownsville youth are adapting new technologies, coding, and installing an interactive projection system responsive to sensor-monitored pedestrian activity. When an individual walks within a certain proximity to the projection or when a certain number of individuals enter the plaza, it will shift brightness, color, or imagery. The project will serve as an adaptable and accessible platform responsive to the corridor’s needs—showcasing community created art and projects. The installation will debut on August 25, 2018.

Anyways Here’s the Thing, will augment the existing street lamp posts along the Belmont Avenue Corridor with programmable, networked, decorative LED light strips that respond to passing pedestrians with fluctuating radiance. As pedestrians pass under the lamps the lights will shine brighter and trigger other nearby lights, creating wave-like effects.   The animations, which will also be triggered by external data such as bus arrival times at the nearest bus stop, will create an active, responsive atmosphere that subtly indicates the presence of activity and reinforces the use of Belmont Avenue after dark. In collaboration, youth from the Brownsville Community Justice Center’s Tech Lab will design their own lighting choreographies and learn coding to program the lighting system. The installation will debut in October 2018.

“As a lifelong resident of Brownsville, I have dreamed of my beloved neighborhood once again becoming a safe and desirable community for its families and a destination attraction for all. About a decade ago, residents began to draft a plan leading to the 100 Days Brownsville initiative in 2014. Today, I am proud to see those plans finalize with the selection of developers and community based partners that will create not only newly constructed affordable housing, but a cultural arts attraction and urban tech hub that will foster future partnerships. With these selections, today is a proud day for Brownsville and I look forward to the process ahead leading to meaningful ribbon cuttings,” said New York City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (District 41).

“The Brownsville community worked hard to come up with a comprehensive plan that serves the needs of the community. I am excited to see the promises of the plan being delivered, such as today’s announcement of 880 units of 100% affordable housing and job and small business opportunities. The Glenmore Manor site in my district will bring not only sorely-needed affordable housing, but also, good paying jobs led by an MWBE with retail and a community space,” said New York City Council Member Rafael Espinal (District 37).

“The Brownsville RFP is an example of true community inclusion in its plan for innovative revitalization and twenty- first century growth, as its design was a result of a yearlong collection of neighborhood input; our development team is truly humbled and excited that our vision of entrepreneurial development through the Brownsville HUB and high-quality housing for all members of our community embodied the same vision communicated by the residents of Brownsville. We look forward to bringing this vision to reality with the support of the Brownsville community, “said Brisa Builders CEO Ericka Keller Wala.

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