Espinal, City Eye Developers For Cornerstone ENY Project

An Art Rendering Of The City Owned Dinsmore-Chestnut Site In East New York.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Rafael Espinal (East New York, Bushwick, Ocean Hill/Brownsville) today announced they are seeking a developer for the city-owned “Cornerstone” site of the massive East New York rezoning plan that allows for more buildable density in exchange for the creation of more affordable housing and a host of community perks.

The 28,540 square feet parcel is bordered by Dinsmore Place, Chestnut Street and Atlantic Avenue. According to the Request for Proposals (RFP) that the city’s Department of Housing Preservation (HPD) and Department of City Planning (DCP) are issuing, the developers must include up to 200 affordable housing units that meet the income needs of the neighborhood, quality commercial and community use as well as open space and environmentally friendly features.

City Council Member Rafael Espinal at today’s press conference explains plans fro the City owned Dinsmore-Chestnut site in East New York.

Many job opportunities affiliated with the Dinsmore-Chestnut site will be filled through HireNYC, the largest targeted hiring program in the nation, to help New Yorkers access training and jobs through the City’s purchases and investments.

“The City-owned lot at Dinsmore-Chestnut has been vacant for decades: a tragic and all-too familiar symbol of previously unfulfilled promises and a lack of investment in East New York,” said Espinal. “With the East New York Neighborhood Plan that passed the City Council a mere eight months ago, and the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to building affordable housing, this site is finally being put to effective use.”

The planned development follows months of negotiating between the administration and Espinal to make East New York the first of de Blasio’s citywide Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) plan. Before Espinal signed off on the rezoning, he was able to get some $267 million in neighborhood investments. In addition to today’s release of the Dinsmore-Chestnut RFP, the investments include:

  • The New York City School Construction Authority is developing a 1,000-seat public school adjacent to the Dinsmore-Chestnut affordable housing site.
  • Job opportunity assistance is now available to the community through the new East New York Workforce1 Center located at 2619 Atlantic Avenue, opened Mon-Fri 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM. For more information on this center and others across the city, visit the Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) contact Workforce 1 webpage.
  • The Administration is working with Phipps Houses on the development of 100 percent affordable housing with extensive public space on the former Chloe Foods private site. Demolition of the existing structure is underway to make way for development.
  • In the coming weeks, the East New York Homeowner Help Desk will be launching to help homeowners in the East New York neighborhood. This Help Desk will offer a range of services, including advice and assistance with foreclosure prevention, guidance on scam avoidance, advice on home repair and other programs like weatherization loans and assistance with addressing scams.
  • Community Retrofit NYC is also underway in East New York. This is a free program by the city to support small and mid-size building owners in Central Brooklyn and Southern Queens to pursue energy and water upgrades.

“Working together, we have seen significant progress under the East New York plan. As we continue to deliver affordable housing, jobs, parks, roads and schools, we are following up on our promises and fighting every day to make our City fairer and stronger,” said de Blasio.

DCP Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod said that thanks to Espinal and the East New York community, the city has created a comprehensive plan, including not just zoning, but also essential public investments to improve the quality of life for current and future neighborhood residents, enhance economic opportunities and foster a thriving community.

“Today’s RFP to transform a vacant major site along Atlantic Avenue should reinforce to the people of East New York and to residents of all neighborhoods that work with us to increase residential capacity and affordable housing, that the City keeps its commitments and will remain alongside them to realize their vision for the future,” said Weisbrod.

Espinal said the issuance of an RFP for this major cornerstone of the ENY Plan, is a crucial step toward the realization of the goals and sustained growth for the community. “I look forward to viewing the creative proposals and taking part in the upcoming process,” he said.

Plans for the development of this site were shaped by community input through HPD’s Community Visioning Workshop series in June 2016. Applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to the report summarizing community visions.