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Fulfilling Pledge, Mayor de Blasio Joins Brooklynites to Break Ground on 100 Percent Affordable Building at Pacific Park

December 15, 2014

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298-unit project begins just six months after agreement among City, State, Greenland Forest City Partners, and local community

COOKFOX designed 535 Carlton Avenue to include more units sized for families, provide apartments for New Yorkers ranging from low- to middle-income

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined local officials and community leaders to break ground on a new 298-unit, 100 percent affordable building at Pacific Park Brooklyn. The building, 535 Carlton Avenue, is being developed by Greenland Forest City Partners and is the second affordable housing project built at Pacific Park Brooklyn, formerly known as Atlantic Yards. A third building, also 100 percent affordable and negotiated by the de Blasio administration will break ground in 2015.

The new building will contribute to the Mayor’s plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. Today’s groundbreaking reflects a commitment Greenland Forest City Partners made with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and local community groups in June 2014 to build 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025.

“Last summer, we made a promise to this community that we would jumpstart affordable housing here and get shovels in the ground by the end of the year. Today, we’re delivering. We intend to take every opportunity, push every partner, and stretch every dollar further as we take on this affordability crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This groundbreaking is a symbol of the State’s commitment to ensuring affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Earlier this year, we announced that we would fast-track the delivery of much-needed affordable housing here at Pacific Park, and today we’re delivering on that promise. This is great news for the local community—especially Brooklyn residents who will see new, affordable buildings being constructed in their neighborhoods,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

“We are excited to bring our international expertise, efficiency and dedication to world-class design to this exciting project. Today’s ceremony marks an important first step, which will help shape the landscape of New York City for years to come. We are grateful to our partners at the state and the city for their vital contribution to this project, and to our partners at Forest City Ratner for their work to bring this Pacific Park Brooklyn to fruition,” said Zhang Yuliang, Chairman of Greenland Group Co

“I would like to thank in particular our partners and colleagues at Greenland Forest City Partners. We sought a development partner because we hoped to accelerate the construction timeline for the project. In an incredibly short period of time, we’ve been able to do that, because of the expertise and commitment brought by a group of extraordinarily talented and driven professionals. We are grateful as well to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for their commitment to affordable housing, and their willingness to work with us to achieve an expedited schedule,” said Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies

The first building at Pacific Park, B2, broke ground in 2012 and has 50 percent market-rate apartments, 30 percent middle-income and 20 percent low-income units. 535 Carlton has greater and deeper affordability. It is 100 percent affordable, with 50 percent middle-income, 20 percent moderate and 30 percent low-income units. It will be home to a vibrant mixed-income community, serving low, moderate and middle-income residents. And more than a third of apartments at 535 Carlton Avenue are sized for families.

Residents will be selected through a lottery system overseen by the New York City Housing Development Corporation. The New York City Housing Development Corporation is providing a $73 million tax-exempt first mortgage for the building, funded by Citi Community Capital. HDC is also contributing $11.75 million in subsidy financing. Pacific Park Brooklyn is a state-regulated development established by a General Project Plan adopted by the Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors in 2006 and governed by ESD. Pacific Park Brooklyn will include 6,430 units of housing, more than one-third of which will be affordable. 

Designed by the award winning architectural firm COOKFOX, 535 Carlton will become an extension of the surrounding neighborhood of Prospect Heights. Incorporating ideas of biophilia and through a series of terraces and setbacks, the building creates a transition from the sidewalk and pedestrian scale of Prospect Heights to create an appropriate “bookend” that frames the new public park. The rear of the building will open onto a new, eight acre public open space designed by Thomas Balsley Associates. More information about Pacific Park Brooklyn is available on the newly designed web site launched today:

“The construction and preservation of affordable housing is a priority in Brooklyn, which is why this groundbreaking of close to 300 units in Prospect Heights is such an important milestone. It furthers my mission to ensure our borough can continue to be home to everyone from everywhere. I look forward to continuing to work with Greenland Forest City Partners on affordable, sustainable and high-quality living in Pacific Park,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Just a few months back, we announced an agreement to deliver all 2,250 affordable units, 10 years earlier than originally anticipated, and I applaud Greenland Forest City Partners for reaching this notable first step. We look forward to working together as the Pacific Park build out continues,” said Kenneth Adams, President & CEO of Empire State Development.

“I’m proud of the work that HDC has done to help deliver on the Mayor’s promise to jump-start development at Pacific Park and bring much needed affordable housing to the community,” said HDC President Gary Rodney. “535 Carlton will be a place where New Yorkers from low- to middle-incomes can live together, raise their families, and grow with this vibrant neighborhood. I thank the Mayor and Governor for their leadership and the development team for their partnership.”

“Today’s groundbreaking is a celebration for all New Yorkers, and is a result of the tireless dedication of our partners within State and City government. We’re extremely proud of Pacific Park’s impact on the community through mixed-use development, affordability for a wide range of families, diversity, open space, and leading design,” said I-Fei Chang, CEO & President of Greenland USA and CEO of Greenland Forest City Partners.

“A groundbreaking represents a commitment to the future, in this case a future that is inclusive of a wide-range of people and reflective of the diversity of this great borough and city. Today is possible because of the work of an extraordinary group of people and partners who understand the need to move quickly and at the highest possible level of design,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies and President of Greenland Forest City Partners.

“We could not be more pleased that we are part of a project that brings together housing for such a wide-range of New Yorkers. Brooklyn is home to the majority of our firm, and we have brought to Pacific Park Brooklyn a point of view that reflects our love for this borough. It is an extraordinary opportunity for us to create a new sense of place within the very strong context of an existing and unique sensibility. Most of all, we are excited that we have been tasked with approaching the issue of affordability using high-design in form, function and sustainability,” said Richard A. Cook, Founder and Partner at COOKFOX.

“The public park that is part Pacific Park is not an appendage to the development. It will be at the very heart of this project, a place where design and nature can come together, creating space for recreation and contemplation,” said Thomas Balsley, Founder and Design Principal of Thomas Balsley Associates.

“Today, as we break ground on this extraordinary building, we also recognize a promise that we made when we first announced this project in 2003. Pacific Park Brooklyn will be built on the shared belief that as a City, we can rise together. It is a vision for a City where rich and poor can live together, and where we all do better together,” said Bertha Lewis, President of the Black Institute.

“This groundbreaking is a momentous next step in the development of Pacific Park. These affordable units are essential to addressing the housing crisis in our city and ensuring accessibility to the project for all community members. I look forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony for 535 Carlton Avenue and many more affordable housing developments to come,” said Assembly Member Walter Mosley

“The groundbreaking at Pacific Park is the realization of our City’s promise to preserving not only the affordability of communities across Brooklyn, but its economic and cultural diversity. Today’s groundbreaking is symbolic of our ability to work collaboratively with the residents of this community to build a stronger New York for all. It is an essential step to ensuring that New Yorkers can continue to call this city home without being uprooted from their communities,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) is pleased that 535 Carlton is breaking ground today and that Greenland Forest City Partners is on its way to fulfilling one of its key recent commitments made with NYS and BrooklynSpeaks—starting construction of at least 590 units of affordable housing by June 30th, 2015.  The local community desperately needs access to affordable housing and this is a meaningful step forward in fulfilling that need” said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of FAC.

“This is a testament to what’s possible, in terms of real affordability for New Yorkers. Pacific Park Brooklyn is a model for the shared vision of a New York that works for all,” said Jonathan Westin, Director of NY Communities for Change.

Learn more about the Housing New York plan at

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