HPD Celebrates Grand Opening of 100 Percent Affordable Housing Development in Cypress Hills

50 Penn is a new 100 percent affordable development in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Image Credit: HPD.

The mixed-use, nine-story “50 Penn” building in Brooklyn will provide both housing and additional supports. On June 9, 2022, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), developer PennRose, and the Riseboro Community Partnership celebrated the grand opening of the “50 Penn” housing development in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. The 218-unit building addresses key priorities in the East New York Neighborhood Plan, such as affordable housing and access to fresh food. While the building was financed through HPD and HDC, Pennrose was the project’s lead developer and RiseBoro will provide on-site property management.

This mixed-use, mixed-income building is anchored by a grocery store and two additional storefronts, and includes 56 studios, 96 one-, 48 two-, and 18 three-bedroom apartments. These units are available for families with a range of incomes, from extremely low-income households earning up to 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) to low-income households earning up to 80 pecent of AMI. While 100 percent of the units are currently affordable, 102 will remain permanently affordable, with 44 of these made possible through Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH).

In addition to providing housing for low-income families, 42 apartments are set aside for formerly homeless and frail seniors. Funding for this senior housing was provided by the NYS Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) program.

Building amenities include a fitness center, community room, bike storage and on-site laundry. Apartments feature spacious closets, vinyl flooring, central air conditioning controlled by residents, and modern kitchens with dishwashers. 50 Penn is also located in close proximity to the A, C, J, and Z trains, and the building is outfitted with solar panels and green roofs.

Below these affordable housing units, much of the nine-story building’s ground floor is occupied by an 18,500 square foot supermarket. This grocery store is part of the NYC Department of City Planning’s FRESH Program, which supports access to fresh food in underserved neighborhoods.

Additionally, the building’s two retail storefronts will be leased as one of the East New York Retail Preservation Program’s first developments. This new program aims to help longstanding businesses operate under East New York’s updated zoning laws, while keeping rent costs down and employing people from within the community. All three stores are easily accessible for building residents.

New York Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz praised the new development, stating, “Mixed-use developments like 50 Penn are important steps forward in tackling our housing shortage and providing communities with the local amenities and resources everyone should have outside their door. This project not only gives over 200 New Yorkers and families a new place to call home, but in partnership with the NYC FRESH program, it brings a full scale grocery store to the neighborhood as well.”

HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrion Jr. echoed these sentiments, sharing, “Today we celebrate 218 new affordable homes for a range of households including formerly homeless New Yorkers who will have access to supportive services, a host of amenities, and a grocery on the ground floor. We look forward to continuing our work with the community and supporting new area investments that will improve the lives of those that call East New York their home.”

City Planning Director Dan Garodnick stated, “This is an example of good planning policy leading to real benefits. This project not only creates affordable homes for families of a variety of sizes and incomes, but also access to healthy foods,” adding, “We need more like this.”

Dylan Salmons, Regional Vice President of New York at Pennrose: “Pennrose is proud to work alongside HPD, HDC, and RiseBoro to address key quality of life issues in the neighborhood through transformative, mixed-use housing. With high-quality affordable housing, tailored supportive services, community-sourced retail and grocery space, 50 Penn signifies the changing fabric of the neighborhood and will be a benefit to East New Yorkers for many years to come.”

Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership: “We are thrilled to be part of 50 Penn, delivering on the promise of community priorities identified in the East New York Neighborhood Plan. The project not only provides urgently needed mixed-use and mixed-income housing units, but also meets many of the other community demands, including deep affordability, advancing local economic opportunity and food justice.”

By: Cassidy Strong (Cassidy is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)


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