Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NextGeneration plan to sell off NYCHA property to pay for additional services to the cash-strapped agency is kicking off at the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene with a 16-story building holding 145 affordable apartments earmarked for seniors from the LBGT community.
NYCHA along with the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) yesterday announced the plan along with construction of affordable apartments for individuals and families on the Van Dyke Houses parking lot in Brownsville.
BFC Partners was chosen as the developers of the Ingersoll project through a competitive request for proposals (RFP), and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) was chosen as the non-profit to provide a range of community services at the site.
“We are honored and excited to be partnering with SAGE to deliver New York City’s first senior housing project designed to accommodate the LGBT Community,” said Don Capoccia, Partner of BFC Partners. “I commend NYCHA for their vision in recognizing the opportunity this project presents, and for their determination to keep New York City in the forefront of innovative housing models.”
“For too long, LGBT elder pioneers in New York City have lacked access to housing where they are welcomed for who they are,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “There is still so much to be done, but Ingersoll will serve as the cornerstone of the National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative launched by SAGE in 2015 to transform the landscape of LGBT housing across this country.”
The site is located on Ingersoll Houses green space on Myrtle Avenue between St. Edward Street and Portland Avenue
Under the Van Dyke Houses plan, the Dunn Development Corp. will construct a 13-story building that will include 188 affordable apartments for individuals and families with low to very-low income. The project site is located on what is currently the Van Dyke Houses parking lot and garbage area on Blake Avenue between Mother Gaston Boulevard and Powell Street.
The development will feature a new walk-in urgent care center and a wellness center, with a demonstration commercial kitchen and exercise studio that will be operated by Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (BMS.)
Additionally childcare provider Friends of Crown Heights proposes an early childhood education center at this site. After-school programs are also proposed, such as boxing and dance provided by Brownsville Boxing Center and arts and technology programs through the non-profit Beam Center.
“We’re excited to deepen our investment in the Brownsville community, bringing affordable housing, jobs and community services including health care, early childhood programs and youth programs to the neighborhood,” said Martin Dunn, president of Brooklyn-based affordable housing developer Dunn Development Corp. “The project name, Dumont Commons, evokes our vision for the building as a centerpiece of the community, a focal point for the neighborhood and a place that brings neighbors—from NYCHA and beyond—together.”
The developers and participating partners were chosen after NYCHA and HPD released a Request For Proposals (RFP) last summer inviting those entities and M/WBE firms, to submit proposals for the design, financing, construction, and operations of 100 percent affordable new housing developments at NYCHA’s Van Dyke, Ingersoll and Mill Brook (in the Bronx) properties.
“The selected proposals are incredibly strong and reflect the community conversations we had with residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “We are excited to partner with residents, HPD and our development partners to see these plans take shape as part of the Mayor’s long-term vision for more affordable housing in New York City.”
Additionally, NYCHA officials have been meeting with members of the housing developments and people in the community to discuss the projects and get their participation, but many living in the developments felt and still feel that NextGeneration was a done deal whether tenants want it or not.
“They made it official but nobody called from NYCHA to tell me. They (the City) don’t have respect or courtesy for anybody,” said Van Dyke Tenant Association President Lisa Kenner, adding she has concerns that any money made from NextGeneration will actually go into much-needed repairs in public housing.