Mayor Celebrates Opening of “90 Sands” Affordable Housing Development

The ribbon cutting for 90 Sands. Image Credit: HPD.

The former Jehovah’s Witnesses hotel has been converted into nearly 500 affordable and supportive housing units. On November 3, 2022, Mayor Adams, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) joined nonprofit Breaking Ground to celebrate the opening of 90 Sands, a former hotel converted into 491 affordable and supportive housing units in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

The Adams administration and Breaking Ground implemented a pilot program at 90 Sands to directly refer homeless New Yorkers from street outreach and transitional housing programs to new supportive apartments. This streamlined, cross-agency process cut the time it typically takes to complete a permanent housing placement by over two months.

Altogether, 185 rent-restricted units at 90 Sands will be affordable for extremely low- to moderate-income households, while 305 units will be home to New Yorkers who formerly experienced homelessness.

Until August 2017, 90 Sands was a residential hotel operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a part of the Mayor’s “Housing Our Neighbors” blueprint, the city will pursue more opportunities to convert vacant hotels into new housing, particularly for low-income households and people experiencing homelessness. 90 Sands underwent a lengthy and expensive land use review process, despite being uniquely well positioned for a residential conversion. The NYS hotel conversion bill passed in June will ease the process going forward, and additional state funds are available to help projects reach completion more quickly and cost-efficiently.

The 30-story 90 Sands building features amenities like a 24-hour attended lobby, security camera system throughout, multipurpose room, digital library, fitness room, and extensive bike storage. The development also includes a new public plaza at the corner of Sands and Jay Streets, providing new green space to the Downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo communities

Breaking Ground will bring in community-serving uses to occupy over 20,000 square feet of commercial and community space on the lower level and ground floor. This is Breaking Ground’s fourth NYC hotel conversion project.

Additionally, the Center for Urban Community Services CUCS will provide onsite social services, which will be available to all 90 Sands tenants. Supportive services will include case management, primary medical care, mental health services, employment readiness, and benefits counseling. Breaking Ground and CUCS have a longstanding partnership, and 90 Sands marks their 12th supportive housing building together.

Local City Councilmember Lincoln Restler shared, “I’m thrilled to celebrate the opening of 90 Sands and the addition of 491 affordable and supportive apartments to the Dumbo community. 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.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso added, “I’m so proud that 90 Sands is part of our movement to ensure Brooklyn remains a place accessible to all. 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.”

Mayor Adams stated, “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.”

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

Mayor Adams Celebrates Opening of 90 Sands, Former Hotel Reimagined as Affordable, Supportive Housing, November 3, 2022.


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