Livonia Commons Project Will Create 270 New Low-Income Rental Apartments, New Community Facility and Commercial Space
Brooklyn’s First Facility from The Boys’ Club of New York to Serve Local Boys and Girls – Will Provide Art, Music, Athletics, Academic Support, and More
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua announced today that Dunn Development Corp. has been chosen through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop the first phase of the Livonia Avenue Initiative in the East New York section of Brooklyn’s Community District 5. The four City-owned development sites in Phase I, collectively named Livonia Commons, are located on Livonia Avenue between Pennsylvania Avenue and Williams Avenue. The Livonia Commons project will create 270 new units of low-income rental housing, approximately 11,000 square-feet of new ground-floor retail space, and 21,000 square-feet of community facility space. Additionally, a fifth parcel of City-owned land will be developed by The Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY) as their first location in Brooklyn, and will provide youth programming and facilities for the young men and women of the community. This is the first of multiple phases of the Livonia Avenue Initiative, which seeks to continue the City’s transformation of the corridor into a vibrant mixed-use area by adding new affordable housing and creating retail opportunities along Livonia Avenue.
The Livonia Avenue Initiative is part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). The NHMP is a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of Fiscal Year 2014. For every dollar invested by the City, the Plan has leveraged $3.41 in private funding for a total commitment of more than $20 billion to fund the creation or preservation of over 140,920 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; 5,281 of those units are in Brooklyn Community District 5 where the Livonia Commons (Phase I) project is located. Over all, East New York has been a focus of affordable housing redevelopment activity during the Bloomberg Administration, with nearly 8,600 units created or preserved throughout the community.
”East New York has persevered through some of the toughest times the City has seen. Through the blight and abandonment of decades past, and the economic downturn of the present, the City has had a firm commitment to investing its human and financial capital right here in East New York,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua.“The commitment shared by the City, the community and our development partners, has catalyzed remarkable growth and has helped to redevelop and repopulate entire blocks in this proud neighborhood.It’s a great legacy on which we are poised to build much more, beginning with 270 units of affordable housinghere at Livonia Commons. We’re also bringing a brilliant community partner, the Boys’ Club, into East New York. Theyouth of Brooklyn have a great need for the opportunities and the services that the Club will bring, and I am confident that they will make the most of everything that is offered.”
In addition to City subsidies that will keep the development affordable, it is expected that the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) will provide financing through the issuance of tax exempt housing revenue bonds and subsidy from its corporate reserves. In keeping with the objectives of the NHMP and other on-going redevelopment and preservation efforts in East New York, the Livonia Commons project and the overall Livonia Avenue Initiative will help transform underused City-owned property into mixed-use developments that build upon the Bloomberg Administration’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the neighborhood. Through the addition of affordable housing and creation new retail opportunities, and the area’s first facility from The Boys’ Club of New York, this first phase will act as a catalyst for future growth in both the public and private sectors.
“Every dollar spent in East New York to create, preserve or protect our precious affordable housing stockis building on a legacy of New York City’s refusal to let its neighborhoods die,” said HDC President Marc Jahr. “Livonia is the latest push in our concerted effort to rebuild what was a vibrant, economically diverse and ethnically rich community. Since 2003HDC and HDP have invested in nearly 8,600units in housing of all types – from small homes to large complexes – in this ongoing effort to move this community from recovery to resurgence.”
Each of the four buildings making up the Livonia Commons development will offer a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Fifty-four units will be available to households with incomes at 40% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 54 units will be set at 50% AMI, and 121 units at 60% AMI. There will be one superintendent’s unit per building. Additionally, 37 supportive housing units will be integrated into building 3.
- Building 1 will be located on the block bounded by Livonia Avenue, Sheffield Avenue, Dumont Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue and will have 52 affordable units.
- Building 2, with 86 affordable units, will be located on the block bounded by Livonia Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Dumont Avenue, and Sheffield Avenue.
- Building 3 will be located on the block bounded by Livonia Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Riverdale Avenue, and Alabama Avenue and will provide 80 affordable units. Thirty-seven of the units will be set aside as supportive housing.
- Building 4, located on the block bounded by Livonia Avenue, Alabama Avenue, Riverdale Avenue, and Williams Avenue, will provide 52 affordable units.
"Dunn Development Corp. is thrilled to be collaborating with HPD to develop this exciting new project. Livonia Commons will help revitalize the Livonia Avenue corridor with a dynamic mix of new affordable housing, retail stores and community spaces, including a new Boys Club of New York Clubhouse," said Martin Dunn, President of Dunn Development Corp. "Working with our community partners, we'll build the kind of innovative and holistic development that the East New York community deserves."
As the sites with the heaviest foot traffic due to their proximity to the Pennsylvania Avenue station of the 3 train, Buildings 1 and 2 will contain commercial and retail space. The community facility space in Building 3 will have a senior center run by Wayside Outreach Development, which currently operates seven successful senior centers in East New York, Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant. ARTs East New York, a local organization providing arts programs for community residents, is slated to occupy the community facility space on the first floor of Building 4 and will feature visual arts classrooms, a dance studio, office space and other uses.
Recognizing the severe shortage of critical youth programming and facilities relative to the size of the East New York community, The Boys’ Club of New York will build its first Brooklyn facility at Livonia Commons. Located at Livonia Avenue between Williams Avenue and Hinsdale Street, the BCNY Livonia Avenue Community Facility will be the organization’s fourth in the City and is planned at approximately 50,000 to 60,000 square-feet. The new clubhouse will provide a range of youth programs in the arts, music, athletics, and academics and leadership support for boys aged 6-20 and girls aged 13-20. Developing this clubhouse as part of a larger complex of affordable and supportive housing and commercial and public space will contribute to a transformative community hub in the heart of East New York.
“The Boys’ Club is privileged to join the East New York community where we look forward to helping the area's boys acquire critical skills and values needed to become good neighbors and great men,” said BCNY Executive Director Stephen Tosh.“BCNY welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with local residents and organizations in East New York, and we look forward to having the kind of positive impact we’ve seen in every neighborhood that hosts a clubhouse.”
BCNY offers a roster of extra-curricular activities designed to increase participants’ likelihood of a successful transition to adulthood. They offer offering programs that address the evolving social, emotional, health, creative, educational, and vocational needs of their members. Plans for the Livonia facility will include a gymnasium, apool for year-round swimming programs, fitness and weight rooms, game rooms, a dark room for photography, art studios, a library, a computer/technology lab. and classrooms and workspaces.BCNY emphasizes academics and leadership, with programs that help boys build skills that support academic achievement and engendera love of learning. Like the other sites, the BCNY Livonia Avenue Community Facility programs will focus on character and leadership skills, literacy and academics, creative expression and healthy living.
The Livonia Avenue Initiative is a comprehensive plan that will be implemented in multiple phases with a grand total of approximately 791 affordable housing units currently planned. Livonia Commons (Phase I of the initiative) focuses on the above mentioned four sites. Phase II of the initiative, which currently calls for about 251 units of affordable housing, will focus on additional City-owned property in Brooklyn Community District 5 between Williams Avenue and Van Sinderen Avenue. Future phases of the Initiative call for approximately 315 affordable units to be developed at the remaining City-owned property on Livonia Avenue in Brownsville (Community District 16).
The 1970s and 1980s represented a time of disinvestment, mass abandonment and urban blight that plagued neighborhoodsin East New York and areas throughout the city. HPD has focused heavily on redevelopment plans in the larger East New York Community, located within Community District No. 5. Beginning in the mid-1980s East New York was one of the first Brooklyn communities to see extensive development of homeownership housing through HPD’s Nehemiah Program. Approximately 1,700 units of homeownership housing have been developed in East New York under Nehemiah, prior to the recent activity at Gateway Estates. This initiative, as well as other affordable housing developments in East New York were facilitated through the creation of the East New York I Urban Renewal Plan, a large-scale redevelopment plan for the entire community.
East New York continues to be a major area of focus by HPD under the Bloomberg Administration. Through the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, 5,281affordable units have been created and preserved in Brooklyn Community Board 5. For Community Board 16, the number is 3,313. Recent activity includes the new construction of 368 affordable units in five multifamily projects that are either completed or under construction.
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About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 140,920 affordable homes have been created or preserved. Visit: www.nyc.gov/hpd
About Dunn Development
Dunn Development Corp. is a socially-conscious, award-winning real estate developer with expertise in affordable and supportive housing. The company’s mission is to build the highest quality housing for low and middle-income New Yorkers, including those with disabilities and other special needs. Dunn Development Corp. has developed innovative financing and program models and has pioneered the integration of people with special needs in mainstream settings. Using only the most experienced architects and general contractors, the firm has set new standards of excellence in affordable housing design and construction. To learn more about Dunn Development Corp. and all of its projects, please visit www.dunndev.com
About The Boys’ Club of New York
The Boys’ Club of New York is the nation’s oldest boys club, founded in 1876. Through its clubhouses and summer camp, BCNY offers programs that help boys and young men stay in school and go on to college, discover their individual musical and artistic talents, develop healthy bodies, and just have fun. For membership dues of only $5 a year, the boys have access to gyms, swimming pools, computer labs, music studios, and a host of activities that they enjoy and that enrich their lives. BCNY helps build boys into men of character with strong values, discipline, and a positive perspective that counters the negative forces found on city streets. Visit www.bcny.org