HPD Issues Second Request for Proposals for Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Developers to Create Affordable Housing in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

April 22, 2021

Press Office: hpdmedia@hpd.nyc.gov

Nearly 180 affordable homes will be created on two City-owned sites, including one dedicated to seniors

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) developers to transform two City-owned sites in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn into affordable housing. The two completely affordable projects will create approximately 180 new affordable homes, mainly serving low-income families, and with one site dedicated to homes for seniors as part of the City’s Seniors First initiative.

This RFP is the second issued exclusively for M/WBE developers through HPD’s Building Opportunity Initiative as part of the de Blasio Administration’s goal to create opportunities and address disparities for minority- and women-owned developers. The first RFP was designated in 2017 for about 600 homes on six sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

“When we invest in leaders who reflect our city’s diversity, we sow the seeds for a more equitable New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Prioritizing Minority- and Women-Owned developers in the creation of affordable housing does more than just create quality, safe homes for New Yorkers; it provides diverse leaders the opportunity to help shape the fabric of a community.”


“Making sure M/WBE firms can participate in the City’s work to build affordable, inclusive, and integrated neighborhoods is critical to ensuring an equitable recovery for all New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “This RFP builds on HPD’s commitment to grow the capacity of M/WBE developers, while creating much-needed affordable and senior housing in this transit-rich Brooklyn neighborhood.”


Located in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, 542 Dean Street and 516 Bergen Street sit near a major commercial corridor on Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. The two underutilized City-owned sites are located within a block of each other. The Dean Street site covers approximately 17,145 square feet. For this site, the City is committed to developing a minimum of 80 affordable homes for seniors as part of the City’s Seniors First Initiative to serve 30,000 senior households through the City’s housing plan by 2026. The Bergen Street site covers approximately 17,051 square feet and will primarily serve low-income families.


The area is well served by transit and accessible to neighborhood amenities like the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Central Library -- the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library – Prospect Park, and the Barclays Center. Other local landmarks include the Dean Playground, Atlantic Yards, and South Oxford Park.


In partnership with the Office of City Council Member and Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Brooklyn Community Board 8, and the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP), community residents shared community priorities for the project through a series of community and public engagement workshops. Additionally, the City collected community feedback through online and paper questionnaires.


“The development of a minimum of 80 affordable homes for seniors and the focus on serving low-income families is a great win for Prospect Heights and our deserving elders,” said City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “This exclusively issued RFP for M/WBE developers ensures minorities and women get a seat at the table to showcase their talent and quality and represent the diversity that Brooklyn is known for. When women and minorities thrive, we all prosper and Prospect Heights and Brooklyn as a whole will be better for it.”


“This RFP, which promotes participation of M/WBE developers in building the City’s affordable housing stock, exemplifies the Administration’s historic focus on advancing diversity by design across industries and sectors,” said Maggie D. Austin, Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs and Senior Advisor. “HPD’s initiative recognizes the capacity of M/WBE developers to transform neighborhoods while supporting the growth of our local communities.”

“New York City is on the road to economic recovery, a recovery that must be anchored in the creation of pathways for Black business participation,” said Francilia Wilkins Rahim, Chief Executive Officer, R.F. Wilkins Consultants and founding member of the Black Business Collaborative. “HPD’s launch of the second M/WBE RFP, the Building Opportunity Initiative and the Equitable Ownership Requirement represents a robust and comprehensive effort. It creates opportunities for the spectrum of M/WBE developers and businesses and sets a framework for achieving equitable participation across city contracting.”

“Leveraging the participation of M/WBE developers in addressing the critical housing needs that exist throughout communities in New York City creates the best opportunity to forge broad participation of minority owned companies in projects funded with public dollars,” said Craig Livingston, New York Real Estate Chamber Board Chair. “History has proven that M/WBE developers are not only able to deliver impressive buildings, but they are by far the most likely to hire minority plumbers, carpenters, painters, and other subcontractors as well as professional services firms like accountants and attorneys. Frankly, we need to see much more of this type of engagement to ensure minorities have fair access to economic opportunity.”

M/WBE Building Opportunity Initiative

The M/WBE Building Opportunity Initiative seeks to address barriers to M/WBE participation in City-financed affordable housing development, strengthen the industry, and further its mission of providing safe and affordable housing to all New Yorkers. The initiative supports M/WBE developers with capacity building, access to capital, contracts, and development opportunities. In addition to the M/WBE RFPs, key components of the initiative include:

  • The Building Capacity Course for M/WBE developers and non-profit developers seeking networking opportunities and exposure to best practices in affordable housing industry. The course provides participants the opportunity to learn effective business planning, financial management, and strategies for winning and managing New York City government-supported projects. Over 80 M/WBE firms and nonprofit organizations have taken part in the building capacity course.
  • The Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Program (EOIP) was created to expand the use of M/WBE construction contractors and professional service providers on HPD-financed development projects. These programs include the M/WBE Build Up and HPD Build-Out Programs and hiring initiatives including the Job Outreach Plan, HireNYC, and HUD Section 3.


Last Fall, HPD announced a new equitable ownership requirement, requiring that a M/WBE or non-profit partner hold a minimum of 25 percent ownership and financial stake in any affordable housing project awarded on public land. More recently, the City announced that the New York City Acquisition Fund will now exclusively serve M/WBE and nonprofit developers in its mission to support affordable and supportive housing development.



The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked advancing the goals of the City's housing plan – a critical pillar of Your Home NYC, Mayor de Blasio's comprehensive approach to helping New Yorkers get, afford, and keep housing in these challenging times. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regualr updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.