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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 29-07
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Contact: Seth McM. Donlin, HPD (212) 863-5176


Residential and Commercial Development to Include Affordable Housing and Public Space Along the Canal

Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan announced today the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to build a mixed-use development consisting of community, commercial, and residential spaces to be located along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Located on roughly 5.8 acres of land at 5th and Smith Streets, the development will create at least 400 units of mixed-income housing, at least half of which will be affordable to low-, moderate-, and middle-income families, as well as a significant component of housing set aside for low-income seniors. The project will also include commercial space as well as community facility space and will include large amounts of newly landscaped open space, particularly along the canal itself.

The RFP is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to integrate the Gowanus Canal corridor with the vibrant surrounding communities of Carroll Gardens and Park Slope through redevelopment of underutilized land into spaces for residents, local business and community groups to call home. The RFP is the result of a lengthy community visioning process in which community residents, community-based organization leaders, elected officials and staff from HPD and other city agencies participated. The affordable housing will be part of the Mayor’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to build or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years, the largest municipal affordable housing initiative in the nation’s history. As of July 2007, the affordable housing plan has already financed nearly 65,000 units of affordable housing.

“Public Place has lain vacant for far too long and its cleanup and redevelopment will remove an eyesore from this neighborhood,” said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. “Now, thanks to the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan—a ten-year plan to create affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers—not only will this development provide new commercial space, dynamic new community resources and necessary affordable housing, it will do so in a way that sets a precedent for future developments by integrating sustainable design features with substantial affordability.”

Located at the southeast corner of 5th and Smith Streets and bounded to the east by the Gowanus Canal. The development’s affordable component will consist of at least 400 rental and/or cooperative units located above the community and commercial spaces of which a significant portion will be set aside for senior citizen housing.  Twenty percent of the total residential units must be affordable to households of four earning up to $56,700 or up to $39,700 for a single household.  A further thirty percent of the residential units must be affordable to households of four earning up to $92,170 or up to $64,480 for a single household. And one hundred percent of the senior housing must be affordable to seniors making no more than $34,020 for a couple or $29,760 for a single senior.

The development must include a community facility component that will add to and enhance the current inventory of community and cultural uses and spaces available in the neighborhood. Preference will be given to projects that include a boathouse, youth/teen center, community space, or artist studios and/or galleries.

The development must also incorporate a significant amount of landscaped open space. Open space must be located adjacent to the Gowanus Canal and should be designed to allow for and encourage public use. In addition, the project is subject to HPD’s New Construction Sustainability Requirements, which mandate design practices and materials that ensure healthy indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of environmentally preferable products.

"The whole Gowanus community is eager to see something positive happen at the Public Place site, which has been a forlorn, contaminated brownfield for more than a generation,” said Jerry Armer, at-large member of the City's Public Place Task Force and former Chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 6. “A mixed-use and open space development approach that takes advantage of the opportunities to create more public parkland and green space with waterfront access seems to have the broadest community appeal and support. With continued leadership from the City's administration we have every reason to be optimistic."

The designated development team will be selected based on an evaluation of innovative architectural design, professional qualifications and experience, including green development experience, feasibility of the proposal, affordability of residential units, and quality of design and construction, as well as other factors noted in the RFP. A pre-submission conference will be held on July 31, 2007 at 2:00 P.M. at HPD and responses to the RFP are due by hand on October 11, 2007 no later than 4 P.M.

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.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development's 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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