November 3, 2022
90 Sands Brings Nearly 500 New Affordable and Supportive Homes to Brooklyn With Successful Pilot Program to Directly Refer Clients from Street Outreach
Project Delivers on Goals Outlined in Mayor Adams’ “Housing Our Neighbors” Blueprint and Demonstrates Need for State Law on Hotel Conversions That Adams Administration Helped Pass
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) today joined Breaking Ground to celebrate the opening of 90 Sands, a former Jehovah’s Witnesses hotel converted into 491 affordable and supportive housing units in the high-cost neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn. Of the 491 apartments at 90 Sands, 185 will be rent-restricted for New Yorkers — affordable for extremely low- to moderate-income households. Additionally, 305 units will be home to New Yorkers who formerly experienced homelessness.
“When we launched ‘Housing Our Neighbors,’ I said that safe, stable, and affordable housing is fundamental to a prosperous, inclusive city. That is what we are delivering today,” said Mayor Adams. “90 Sands demonstrates exactly why we fought for hotel conversion legislation in Albany: To create affordable housing more quickly and efficiently than we can starting from scratch. And I promised we would celebrate New Yorkers getting into homes, not people signing deals, and I am proud to say that with our innovative referral pilot, we housed 80 people here in just one week.”
The Adams administration worked closely with Breaking Ground to implement a pilot program specific to the development of 90 Sands that allowed for the direct referral of clients experiencing homelessness from street outreach and transitional housing programs to supportive apartments. This streamlined process — made possible by cross-agency collaboration — cuts the time it typically takes to complete a permanent housing placement by more than two months.
As a part of Mayor Adams’ “Housing Our Neighbors” blueprint, the city is also pursuing opportunities to convert vacant hotels into new supportive and affordable housing, creating additional housing options for low-income households and New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. This project underwent a lengthy and expensive land use review process to convert to affordable housing, despite being uniquely well positioned for such a conversion. A new state law that Mayor Adams helped get passed in the state Legislature — which would have eliminated two years from the development process at 90 Sands had it been in place — will ease the process for these conversions going forward, and additional state funds are available to help these projects reach completion more quickly and cost efficiently.
“As a lifelong supportive housing advocate, I am so proud to celebrate the opening of 90 Sands with Breaking Ground, CUCS, and all of our new neighbors who now have a home of their own. This project was not easy, including a lengthy and expensive land use rezoning, but it is a model of the type of work we can do to house all New Yorkers,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “Beyond housing for almost 500 more people, a top priority of the Adams administration strategic housing blueprint, ‘Housing Our Neighbors,’ is to tackle administrative burdens that delay housing access. In an incredible feat, Breaking Ground and CUCS worked with the city to house people in a new direct referral pilot that we hope to explore as a way to get people out of the shelter system and into permanent housing faster.”
“In line with this administration’s ‘Housing Our Neighbors’ blueprint, serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers is a key priority, as is creating affordable housing opportunities in all our city’s neighborhoods. As we look to convert vacant hotels into affordable and supportive housing, 90 Sands serves as an important model,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión. “An old hotel is now 491 beautiful affordable homes in the heart of Dumbo, with critical supportive services to help more than 300 New Yorkers formerly experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. We commend Breaking Ground and all our partners for bringing this ambitious project to fruition.”
“The 90 Sands development is providing hundreds of households with safe and affordable housing alongside extensive services, ranging from case management to health care and career counseling,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to all the residents on their new homes, and thanks to our many partners who remain deeply committed to providing safe and stable housing to New Yorkers in need.”
“This administration continues to put people first by prioritizing the creation of affordable and supportive housing across the city, while also expanding access to these critical housing opportunities for some of our most vulnerable populations,” said New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “Projects like 90 Sands are essential to the city’s effort to efficiently connect New Yorkers in need — including those who formerly experienced homelessness — to affordable housing and high-quality supports that allow them to stabilize their lives and get back on their feet. We would like to thank Breaking Ground, CUCS, our partners in city government, and all others who worked so hard to make this tremendous project a reality.”
“We are thrilled to open 90 Sands at such a critical time to provide much-needed housing for low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers,” said Brenda Rosen, president and CEO, Breaking Ground. “Over the course of two years, the redevelopment of 90 Sands remained on schedule despite the pandemic to help more than 300 people leave homelessness behind and find dignity and security with a home of their own. Our first hotel conversation project in over two decades, 90 Sands advances key goals of equity and inclusion, bringing an additional 185 affordable apartments for New Yorkers with extremely low to moderate incomes in one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. Breaking Ground is grateful to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, HPD, and all our partners for working hand-in-hand with us to bring this extraordinary project to life.”
“The Center for Urban Community Services is honored to partner once again with Breaking Ground to provide social, medical and psychiatric services to the residents of 90 Sands” said Joe DeGenova, president and CEO, Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS). “At the core of our work is helping people exit homelessness, and we do that by ensuring dignity, inspiring trust, and committing to the highest quality of care. Permanent supportive housing is the best opportunity for formerly homeless people to live healthy lives. In 2021, with the collaboration of many partnerships, such as this one with Breaking Ground, CUCS was able to provide services to over 2,000 clients in supportive housing.”
The 30-story building features a 24-hour attended lobby, security camera system throughout, multipurpose room for community events and meetings, a digital library, a fitness room, and extensive bike storage. 90 Sands also includes a newly activated plaza for public use at the corner of Sands Street and Jay Street, adding a new green space to the Downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo communities. Breaking Ground plans to bring in community-serving uses to occupy more than 20,000 square feet of community facility and commercial space on the ground floor and lower level.
CUCS will provide onsite social services to residents of 90 Sands. Services provided at 90 Sands will be available to all tenants and will include case management, primary medical care, mental health services, employment readiness, and benefits counseling, among others. Breaking Ground and CUCS have a longstanding partnership, and 90 Sands marks their 12th building together to provide housing and onsite support for individuals and families formerly experiencing homelessness. This is Breaking Ground’s fourth hotel conversion project in New York City.
Until August 2017, 90 Sands was a residential hotel operated by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. On this project, Monadnock Construction, Inc. is the general contractor, Beyer Blinder Belle is the project architect, and W Architecture and Planning designed the public plaza space at the corner of Jay and Sands Street.
“I’m so proud that 90 Sands is part of our movement to ensure Brooklyn remains a place accessible to all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Faced with a profound housing crisis, we must be creative and relentless as we together build solutions for families facing displacement and housing insecurity. These hundreds of homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers and New Yorkers with low or moderate incomes are a model for how we can continue to pursue a city that creates stability and a foundation to grow. Thank you to Breaking Ground and everyone across this city who had a hand in bringing these many affordable and supportive apartments to Dumbo.”
“I’m thrilled to celebrate the opening of 90 Sands and the addition of 491 affordable and supportive apartments to the Dumbo community,” said New York City Councilmember Lincoln Restler. “Congratulations to Breaking Ground on opening the largest new supportive housing development in New York City in decades. The solution to homelessness is housing, and 90 Sands represents a major victory.”
“Good homes not only provide us with a roof over our heads, but they also give us the foundation upon which families can grow and thrive,” said Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “Enterprise was proud to contribute a $10 million grant for this inspiring development, which will provide almost 500 low- and moderate-income and formerly homeless tenants with affordable homes and crucial supportive services to empower them and their families. Thank you, Breaking Ground, CUCS, the city, and all other partners involved who helped this development come to fruition to serve our city and its people.”
“We were so pleased to help Breaking Ground pay architectural and engineering expenses for 90 Sands with a predevelopment loan, which can be hard to secure early in a project,” said Greg Maher, executive director, Leviticus Fund. “This was our first loan to this strong and highly respected nonprofit. We were happy to provide patient, flexible capital to help move this much-needed project from concept to reality.”
“For more than 30 years, Chase has partnered with Breaking Ground to help address the urgent and ongoing need for affordable housing in New York City,” said David Walsh, managing director, community development banking, Chase; member, board of directors, Breaking Ground. “We’re proud to support the development of 90 Sands and continue to be committed to community development projects like this one, which will provide nearly 500 vulnerable New Yorkers with the high-quality housing and supportive services they deserve.”
“The development of 90 Sands is an example of what is possible when private and public sectors work together to make lives better,” said William M. Daley, vice chairman of public affairs, Wells Fargo. “Making housing more affordable and accessible is critical to opening up pathways to economic stability, well-being, and long-term growth for individuals and families but also for neighborhoods across New York City. We applaud the collaboration between Breaking Ground, Mayor Adams, the city, and its partners to make supportive housing at 90 Sands a reality.”
“Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation is proud to have supported Breaking Ground through our SHARE program on such a unique and iconic development,” said Lisa Talma, vice president of philanthropic initiatives, Community Development Finance Group, Deutsche Bank. “With 90 Sands, Breaking Ground has re-envisioned a beautiful setting where people will be able to heal and rebuild their lives. We are excited for the potential for this property and the services provided onsite to help so many.”
“Beyer Blinder Belle is honored to have partnered with Breaking Ground on 90 Sands, helping contribute to its mission of ending homelessness via adaptive reuse of existing buildings,” said Carlos Cardoso, AIA, partner, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.