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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 14-06
Monday, July 24, 2006

Neill McG. Coleman (212) 863-8076

City Announces Opportunity for Mixed-Use Development at the Brig Site in Wallabout, Brooklyn

Plan Includes Affordable Housing, Retail and Community Space

Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan announced today that the City is releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the Brig site in Wallabout, Brooklyn. The site of a former prison will be redeveloped to create approximately 400 new housing units, of which more than two thirds will be affordable housing. It will also include commercial and community facility space, and open space.  The RFP follows an International Design Workshop hosted by HPD in December 2003 and a Community Task Force on the future of the site announced by Mayor Bloomberg in July 2004. The 103,000 square foot site is located in the Wallabout section of Brooklyn and is bounded by Flushing Avenue to the north, Park Avenue to the south, Clermont Avenue to the east, and Vanderbilt Avenue to the west. The affordable housing built will be part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years.

“This redevelopment will help transform the Brig site into a real resource for the Wallabout community and provide much needed housing, including affordable housing,” said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. “Community involvement has been key to ensuring we realize the full potential of this site and I want to thank members of the Brig Community Task Force for the time and talent they have donated to this important effort.  Once complete, the site will include affordable, market rate and permanent supportive apartments, a community facility, neighborhood retail space and open space.  New York City’s success in reducing crime, reforming our schools, and building our economy is creating a major new challenge: providing affordable housing for all those who want to share in that success. The Mayor’s $7.5 billion Housing Plan will provide homes for 500,000 New Yorkers over ten years, more than the entire population of Atlanta.”

The residential component of this redevelopment will include a mixture of homeownership and rental units as well as supportive housing.  Supportive housing is subsidized permanent housing with social services. A minimum of 50% of all homeownership and rental units, not including the supportive housing units, must be affordable with at least 30% of the units for middle-income families and 20% for low-income families. At least 75 supportive housing studio units must be provided and affordable to low-income families, many of whom will be formerly-homeless.  Preference will be given to proposals that provide the maximum affordability to a range of incomes using the least amount of subsidy. The commercial space will be located on the ground floor along Flushing Avenue.  Landscaped open space and a community facility with a minimum of 15,000 square feet of space will be part of the redevelopment.  The site will be conveyed to the selected developer for a nominal fee of $1.00. 

As a pilot for New York City’s Design and Construction Excellence Initiative, this project should serve as an outstanding example of high-quality, sustainable design and construction that is financially feasible and responsive to the community.  All buildings in the project must achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is a green building rating system, developed by the US Green Building Council that provides a list of standards for environmentally-sustainable construction. Proposals will be reviewed by HPD with input from the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC).   

"This is an exciting project and DDC is happy to be able to assist HPD in implementing the Mayor's Design + Construction Excellence Initiative as part of the development process. This redevelopment will set a precedent by bringing the highest quality professional expertise to an innovative project that will enhance the quality of life for future residents and the community as a whole," said DDC Commissioner David J. Burney, AIA.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said “Creating more affordable housing is Job One in Brooklyn, and I commend the community’s collaboration with the City to ensure that the Brig helps preserve our unrivaled income and ethnic diversity. Homeowners and renters will live side by side in a building designed with cutting-edge green technology, and mixed-use functions, the Brig is the key to unlocking a better future for the Wallabout area and is an asset for all of Brooklyn.”

"The lack of affordable housing, and displacement of working class and poor people is the number one issue that my office confronts. This project was developed with input from the community, and with emphasis on providing affordable and supportive housing to local residents. I thank Commissioner Donovan and his staff for all of their assistance, and am so pleased to be a part of a project that will make a great difference in addressing the affordable housing crisis in this community,” stated Council Member Letitia James.

Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol said, “Every step we take to provide affordable housing opportunities within our neighborhoods is important to maintaining our borough as a strong, healthy, viable and safe place for New York’s families to live.  The Brig Redevelopment site allows us to continue to move forward in that direction.”

The Brig was built in the early 1940s and served as a naval prison. After the closing of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1966, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service used the Brig as a detention center until 1984 when, faced with severe overcrowding in its prisons, New York City sought ownership of the prison for its lower risk prisoners. The Brig served as a minimum-security prison until it was closed in December 1994. The last occupants of the Brig were volunteer workers involved in the post-September 11th cleanup effort.  HPD completed demolition of the Brig building and site clearance in August 2005.

HPD hosted an International Design Workshop in December 2003 to create a vision for the redevelopment of the site.  Community residents, local business and community-based organization leaders, elected officials, and staff from HPD and other City Agencies participated.  The three-day workshop resulted in a set of planning principles, a tentative development program, and a conceptual site plan.  Following the workshop, HPD established a 14-member community task force to help the City refine the site plan and continue the dialogue with area residents, community representatives and elected officials.  The Task Force met five times and its members approved the RFP program. The Task Force will continue to inform the development of the site by providing feedback on the top three proposals selected by HPD.

The development team will be selected based on an evaluation of professional qualifications and experience, feasibility of the proposal, affordability of residential units, quality of design and construction, and other factors as noted in the RFP.  A pre-submission conference will be held at HPD on August 2, 2006 and responses to the RFP are due on November 1, 2006.  Construction will likely begin in late 2007.

Electronic versions of the RFP are available on HPD’s website ( and hard copies can be purchased at HPD for a $75 non-refundable fee in the form of a certified check or money order payable to the New York City Department of Finance.

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.

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