Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the selection of Coney Island Commons LLC to develop a community center and affordable housing complex in Coney Island. The residential component of the project will contain 152 cooperative residential units, more than 75 percent of which will be affordable for low- and middle-income families, and a 40,000-square-foot community center to be owned and operated by the YMCA of Greater New York. The $56 million project will create 240 construction jobs, 42 full-time jobs and 125 part-time jobs for the area, and provide residents with much-needed recreational and community facilities. The community center and housing project are the latest components of the Coney Island Strategic Plan, developed by the City and Coney Island Development Corporation with the support of local elected officials and the community, and unveiled by Mayor Bloomberg in September 2005.
“Coney Island, once one of the world's most vibrant and exciting destinations, is undergoing a tremendous renaissance,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To revitalize Coney Island and turn it into not only a year-round destination for visitors, but an increasingly attractive place to live and raise a family, we engaged the local community heavily, resulting in our Strategic Plan for Coney Island. This community center and affordable housing complex was one of the things residents indicated they needed most. By providing area residents with a center for active recreation and an affordable place to live, this project will go a long way to strengthening Coney Island’s residential community.”
Joining the Mayor at the announcement at P.S. 329, adjacent to the site, were New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Interim President and Coney Island Development Corporation (CIDC) Chairman Joshua J. Sirefman, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan, New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Emily A. Youssouf,
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia Jr., South Brooklyn Youth Consortium Executive Director Sheryl Robertson, Larry Hirschfield of Coney Island Commons and YMCA of Greater New York President and CEO Jack Lund.
“It’s no secret that the world’s most desirable homes are near beautiful beaches, and with this project we are proving that in Brooklyn, anyone can afford a world-class oceanfront address,” said Borough President Markowitz. “I commend the Mayor, EDC, Councilmember Recchia, the YMCA, and the partners of Coney Island Commons for helping to maintain our unrivaled diversity, for creating new jobs and recreational facilities for local residents, and for ensuring that Brooklynites and visitors alike enjoy Coney Island’s bright future.”
Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in fall 2008 and be completed in summer 2009. The development site is within the boundaries of the Coney Island I Urban Renewal Area and it is also within walking distance of Coney Island’s famous boardwalk and beach. Totaling approximately 160,000 square feet, the residential component of the development will consist of two buildings of seven and eleven stories that will include an assortment of studios, one, two and three-bedroom co-op units. The residential portion of the development will also include landscaped open space and parking for 84 cars, and is expected to be financed in part through HDC’s Affordable Cooperative Housing Program and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation.
“This is a historic day for Coney Island and one that has been a long time coming,” said Councilmember Recchia. “I am elated to see this community center that I have been working for since I first got elected come to fruition. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and EDC for working closely with the community and myself and turning this dream into a reality. This is another big step forward in the revitalization of Coney Island and I look forward to its bright future.”
“A major goal of the Strategic Plan for Coney Island is to strengthen Coney Island’s residential community and make it a better place to live, and the new community center and affordable housing complex will play a tremendous role in that effort,” said EDC President and CIDC Chairman Sirefman.
“The transformation of this vacant property into a vital mixed-use development with affordable housing will advance the revitalization efforts of Coney Island while ensuring that current residents can enjoy the area’s rebirth,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan. “By cultivating innovative partnerships through the Mayor’s ten-year $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan, 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 project is in keeping with Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of housing over 10 years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation and, at a cost of $7.5 billion, will provide homes for 500,000 New Yorkers.
“When we created the Affordable Cooperative Housing Program it was to meant to facilitate homeownership possibilities throughout the City,” said HDC President Youssouf. “The residents of the 152 apartments will be a validation of that offer. HDC development options have led to increased housing throughout the City and made HDC the number one issuer of affordable housing bonds in the nation, bringing in $1.8 billion to finance affordable housing in New York City in 2006 alone.”
The community center will include an aquatic center with a six-lane lap pool and family recreational lap pool, a full court gymnasium, fitness and multi-purpose rooms, a double height social room and office space. The community center will be owned and operated by the YMCA of Greater New York. Membership and program fees are affordable to all incomes due to the YMCA’s Sliding Scale Membership Program that uses a flexible rate structure to assure that no one is turned away due to financial circumstances. In serving New York City’s neighborhoods, the YMCA works as a partner with local schools to create complementary programs for youth and teens’ growth and development.
“The YMCA of Greater New York is proud to be a partner in this exciting development – one that is sure to become a community anchor in Coney Island,” said YMCA President Lund. “As one of the City’s leading youth service organizations, we will provide much needed after school programs, teen leadership initiatives, healthy kids programs, wellness initiatives, a vast array of other important services, and of course, plain old fun. The Y is committed to building strong kids, strong families and strong communities, and we’re very glad to have a presence here in Coney Island.”
“In the past two years, Mayor Bloomberg, Councilmember Recchia, EDC and CIDC have worked tirelessly to ensure the Strategic Plan is implemented,” said South Brooklyn Youth Consortium Executive Director Robertson. “The establishment of the multicultural center and affordable housing is the catalyst that will spur economic development for decades to come.”
Coney Island Commons, LLC, a three-part development team comprised of ELH Management, KB Companies and Galaxy General Contracting, was selected for the development as a result of a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the City in May 2006. Of the proposals submitted, Coney Island Commons’ proposal provided the greatest affordability in the residential component and required the least amount of subsidy. The City will convey the property to the developer for $1 and contribute $5 million for the construction of the community center.
“We are pleased to be part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace and his commitment to the development of affordable housing,” said Larry Hirschfield of the Coney Island Commons development team. “Our promise is to build a wonderful community center and 150 beautiful cooperative apartments providing substantial opportunities for affordable home ownership. These are building blocks in the continued growth of Coney Island.”
The development features sustainable design elements to conserve resources and energy and promote healthy living for resident and community, including energy efficient mechanical systems, water conserving fixtures, extensive use of natural light and lighting control, and use of recycled, regionally manufactured and renewable materials. Portions of the community center will feature “green” roofs planted with natural grasses and wildflowers native to a beach environment.
The Coney Island Strategic Plan calls for the enhancement of amusements and seaside attractions, establishment of a year-round entertainment destination and creation of economic opportunities for local residents, and it is serving as a guide for the comprehensive rezoning analysis currently underway.