Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg broke ground today on a 227-acre site in East New York where nearly 2,200 new affordable homes, including 125 units of senior housing, will be constructed, new retail stores will be developed, and new streets and sidewalks will be paved. Today's groundbreaking marks the culmination of a nearly 20 year endeavor to create a mixed-use community on a former landfill site. The Nehemiah Spring Creek Houses at Gateway Estates, a new 227-acre mixed-use community, will consist of affordable housing for nearly 7,000 people, a 625,000 square-foot retail center, more than 100 units of housing for seniors and a public school. Sale prices for single family homes will begin at $158,300 and homeowners are expected to begin moving into the first group of completed homes by the end of 2007. This development site is known as the Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Area, which previously served as a municipal landfill. The development will require installation of streets, sidewalks, and storm and sanitary sewers, which will be constructed by the Department of Design and Construction concurrently with the housing and financed with funding from the sale of a parcel of land to The Related Companies. Financing for the first phase of housing construction will be provided by a loan through Community Preservation Corporation, (CPC) as well as loans from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the St. Paul Community Baptist Church of Brooklyn. The City will also provide direct housing subsidies of $46,000 for each of the single-family home, as well as $30 million in infrastructure costs. An additional 2,000-plus units of affordable housing will be built on the 227-acre site in the years to come.
"Today's groundbreaking demonstrates our Administration's commitment to cultivating innovative partnerships and pioneering new tools through the ten-year $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan, which will provide 165,000 affordable homes for 500,000 New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This partnership between the City, private business and local churches will enable us to transform vacant land into affordable housing, retail and community amenities. We are harnessing Brooklyn's economic success to provide the capital needed to develop essential infrastructure and build a new neighborhood that will be affordable to working New Yorkers."
The 227-acre site will be developed through a not-for-profit joint venture comprised of Nehemiah HDFC, the housing affiliate of the East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), and Gateway Center Properties Phase II. The Related Companies is the managing member of Gateway Center Properties Phase II. Nehemiah HDFC will develop 1,500 affordable homes. Gateway Center Properties Phase II will develop nearly 700 affordable homes and a 625,000 square-foot retail center, to be called Gateway II.
The Related Companies will purchase the commercial property from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development at market-rate. The revenue from the sale of the commercial property will finance the required infrastructure development needed to support residential development.
"The leaders of EBC and Metro IAF have fought long and hard for this latest phase of Nehemiah construction and commend Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Donovan on their consistent support and commitment to our vision of quality, affordable housing for all New Yorkers," said Reverend David K. Brawley, co-chairman of East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC). "We look forward to working with the Community Preservation Corporation and The Related Companies to create a new community of homes, parks, schools, shops, and other amenities."
In 1989, HPD selected Starrett Housing Corporation, as part of a public RFP process, to develop both affordable housing and a retail center on the western part of the site the Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Area. Nehemiah HDFC was selected to develop housing on the eastern portion of the site. In 1999, Lawrence Ruben, Inc. and Blackacre Capital Partners LP, the joint owners of Starrett Housing Associates, presented HPD with a plan for developing the regional retail section of the Gateway Estates project, Gateway Center. The Related Companies became a member of the development team that same year.
"We are really pleased to work with the City and Nehemiah once again to create affordable housing in East New York, right in the heart of the Nehemiah Homes, one of our most successful affordable home ownership projects," said President and Chief Executive of the Community Preservation Corporation Michael Lappin. "Our flexibility as both a lender on the nonprofit side and as a for-profit developer increases our ability to significantly impact low-income communities throughout Brooklyn."
Building on the success of the existing Gateway Center developed by affiliates of The Related Companies in 2002, Gateway II will feature both well-known national retailers and numerous smaller retail spaces that will ensure local, community-based businesses and restaurants have an opportunity to take part in this exciting project. An inviting new "Town Center" will be developed at the entrance to the shopping center and additional retail spaces will occupy the ground floors of buildings situated along a grand boulevard through the affordable housing site.
"We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Nehemiah in the effort to bring both affordable housing and new economic opportunities to the residents of Brooklyn," said Related President Jeff Blau said. "We look forward to building on the success of the Gateway Center and providing Brooklyn with the convenient, high-quality shopping experiences this borough deserves."
Mayor Bloomberg also announced today that the City has started construction or preservation of 17,393 units of affordable housing in fiscal year 2006 under the New Housing Marketplace Plan which represents more than 115% of the target for the year. 64,493 affordable units have been started since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002. In the past two years, HPD and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) have started construction of 13,391 new affordable units, more than double the number of new units than were started in the highest two years of new construction in Mayor Koch's housing plan.
"Mayor Bloomberg's administration is working to ensure that the people who make our City's economy strong can afford to live here," said Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "We are building new housing across the City, including new affordable homes. Through innovative partnerships we are making the needed investment in housing so the city can continue to grow and working New Yorkers can afford a good home to raise their families."
"The Gateway Estates project will make a significant contribution to the Mayor's goal for affordable housing for New Yorkers," said Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner David J. Burney, AIA. "DDC is happy to be a partner with HPD and the Nehemiah Development Corporation by providing the essential infrastructure for these new homes. Together we are building a brand new neighborhood that will be a beautiful addition to the City."
"Gateway Estates will not only provide a significant number of affordable houses, it will also become a wonderful new neighborhood to live and shop and raise a family," said City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden. "This development will further the Brooklyn renaissance under the leadership of the Bloomberg administration."
"This is what we mean when we talk about smart development: mixed-use, income-diverse communities with street-level commerce," said Borough President Markowitz. "This is not a case of 'If you build it, they will come.' This is based on the belief that 'If you build it, they will stay' - and that's what we want Brooklynites to do: stay, participate in, and benefit from the Brooklyn Renaissance today and in the days ahead."
Joining Mayor Bloomberg at the groundbreaking was Council member Charles Barron, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan, Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, Reverend Johnny R. Youngblood of the East Brooklyn Congregations, Related President Jeff Blau, and CPC Senior Vice President and Director of Loan Organizations Jack Greene.