Former Landmarks Preservation Commission Warehouse Site Will Provide 55 Affordable Apartments for Low-Income New York Families
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua announced today that a team comprised of North Brooklyn Development Corporation (NBDC) and MDG Design and Construction, LLC has been chosen through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop an affordable, mixed-use development on the former Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) warehouse site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The City-owned site located at 337 Berry Street between South 4th Street and South 5th Street will be developed to create 55 units of low-income rental housing along with new ground-floor commercial space for a grocery store, community space for a tenant services center, and open space for use by the future tenants. The LPC’s warehouse served as a repository for fixtures and ornaments reclaimed from buildings across New York as part of that agency’s architectural salvage program. The program was discontinued in 2000, and in 2005 the site was identified in the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Points of Agreement (POA) as a possible location for affordable housing development.
The LPC warehouse project is being developed under 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 NHMP has leveraged $3.42 in private funding, amounting to a total commitment to date of more than $21 billion to fund the creation or preservation of over 147,500 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. A total of 35,973 units have been financed in Brooklyn with 3,044 of those units in Brooklyn Community District 1 where the LPC warehouse project is being developed.
“Being able to develop the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s former warehouse into affordable housing for 55 hardworking families speaks to the City’s commitment to thoughtfully repurposing its resources to benefit the community,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “The team of North Brooklyn Development Corporation and MDG Design bring a history of neighborhood engagement and advocacy, along with local development experience to this important project. I look forward to seeing this once vacant warehouse transformed into safe, quality affordable housing that will expand housing opportunities for working-class families in this community.”
In keeping with the objectives of the NHMP, the development of the LPC warehouse site will transform this City-owned property into thriving mixed-use property that will enrich the character and vibrancy of the neighborhood and act as a catalyst for future growth in both the public and private sectors.
The LPC warehouse development site spans three tax lots (Block 2443/Lots 6, 37 and 41) on Berry Street between South 4th and South 5th Streets, encompassing approximately 15,870-square-feet. Its development will create 55 units of affordable rental housing for low-income New York families; 18 units more than was originally envisioned when this site was identified for affordable housing development under the Greenpoint-Williamsburg POA. Units at the LPC Warehouse project will be available to families earning 50% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or the equivalent of not more than $42,950 and $51,540, respectively for a family of four. In keeping with the POA, the development team will also create approximately 1,150-square-feet of open space for use by the development’s future tenants.
“What a great honor it will be to again work alongside my lifelong neighbors and friends to continue our fight to combat displacement in our community. Through our collaborative work with all the members of Mobilization Against Displacement (MAD) we have again taken another positive step toward lessening displacement in our community while fulfilling the greatest need in Community Board 1 today – the availability of quality affordable housing. I will continue this collaboration by seeking guidance from my community group friends and partners to maximize the positive impact our project will have on the Williamsburg community,” said Richard Mazur, Executive Director of North Brooklyn Development Corporation.
The proposal includes approximately 3,900-square-feet of ground floor commercial space for a planned grocery store. NBDC also proposes to install and operate a Williamsburg Tenant Services Center (WTSC) in the ground floor community facility space. Tenant advisors and organizers will help educate, advise and assist tenants at risk of residential displacement, conduct informational meetings and workshops related to tenant rights and/or affordable housing opportunities, and assist in other activities related to stemming tenant displacement and obtaining affordable housing opportunities.
“Both Rich Mazur and I are truly excited about the opportunity to work with HPD on the redevelopment of the LPC Warehouse site. The building that has been designed by Dattner Architects for this site will strengthen the surrounding community. We enthusiastically look forward to reaching out to and working with our future community partners who have worked so hard to preserve Williamsburg over the years and make it the thriving melting pot that it is now,” said Michael Rooney, Managing Member of MDG Design & Construction.
The Greenpoint-Williamsburg POA was negotiated in 2005 between the Administration and the City Council at the time of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning, which identified waterfront and upland areas eligible for the Inclusionary Housing Program. The POA identified a number of City commitments in a variety of areas including affordable housing, parks, industry and environmental work. Under the POA, a total of 922 affordable housing units are complete or in construction with an additional 766 units in predevelopment.
The LPC started an architectural salvage program at its 337 Berry Street warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from 1980 to 2000. The program encouraged New Yorkers to reuse fixtures and ornaments from demolished or altered privately and publicly owned buildings throughout the City. Salvaged items such as doors, windows, fences, and decorative elements, were sold to the public at low rates and used to restore the historic buildings that are the hallmark of our City’s great neighborhoods. The program ended in 2000 due to budgetary constraints, and in the 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg Points of Agreement, the City identified this site as a location for future affordable housing development. On November 1, 2011, LPC held an auction to help clear the warehouse of its remaining inventory in preparation for the site’s eventual development.
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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 147,500 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For regular updates on news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing. For more information, visit our website at www.nyc.gov/hpd
About North Brooklyn Development Corporation (NBDC):
Over the past 30 years North Brooklyn Development Corp. has worked tirelessly to improve the vitality and quality of life of our neighborhood. From affordable housing development and management, to tenant assistance services, employment services, after-school programs and economic development, NBDC has remained engaged with the North Brooklyn community at the grassroots level.
About MDG Design and Construction, LLC:
MDG Design & Construction has partnered with the City in developing and building affordable housing since 1989. MDG and its affiliates have completed more than 600 buildings, over 10,000 units in the last 10 years.