Nearly 900 Affordable Homes To Be Built In Brownsville

Three-City owned sites will be developed to provide affordable housing, art and media centers, and commercial space. On July 26, 2018, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced plans for nearly 900 affordable homes in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This announcement updates the commitments made in the Brownsville Plan, which originally included building 880 units on three-City owned sites and infrastructure upgrades. According to HPD, the Plan is the result of a community-driven process to identify neighborhood goals, form strategies to address local needs and find resources to fill gaps in service. The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the NYC Department of Transportation, and the NYC Housing Development Corporation are working together with HPD on the Brownsville Plan.

The Plan also includes the installation of innovative, community-driven streetscape upgrades aimed at improving public safety. These upgrades were identified through the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors. The NYCx Co-Lab Challenges are open competitions co-developed by City agencies and community representatives to address the most pressing concerns of underserved New York City neighborhoods.

In its first annual progress report, HPD highlighted several examples of progress made on the commitments in the Brownsville Plan. Such examples include: activation of Osborn Plaza as the NYCxCo-Lab anchor site; comprehensive security improvements at NYCHA campuses complete this past spring; a transformative renovation of Betsy Head Park that will begin construction this fall; the launch and expansion of family health programming at the new Neighborhood Health Action Center; improved and expanded activities for children and young adults; and support for local small businesses, including storefront improvements.

The nearly 900 affordable homes will be spread over three-City owned sites. Site A at the Brownsville Arts Center and Apartments is located along Rockaway Avenue and Chester Street, between East New York Avenue a­­­­­­nd Pitkin Avenue. This development will include 230 units of affordable housing serving a range of incomes including extremely low-income and formerly homeless households. The building will have 24,000 square feet of arts and culture space for a dance and performing arts school run by Purelements, a music school run by Brooklyn Music School, and a media lab and arts center run by BRIC. Site B at the Glenmore Manor Apartments is located at the intersection of Christopher Avenue and Glenmore Avenue. This development will include approximately 230 affordable homes serving a range of incomes and populations, including extremely low-income households, formerly homeless households and low-income seniors. It will also include 20,000 square feet of new commercial and community space housing the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, a sit-down restaurant, and a salon run by a locally-owned beauty products company. Site C at the Livonia 4, a multi-site development is comprised of a series of parcels along Livonia Avenue between Powell Street and Mother Gaston Boulevard with an additional parcel at the intersection of Livonia Avenue and Amboy Street. This development will include over 420 units of affordable housing over four sites serving a range of incomes and populations, including extremely low-income households, formerly homeless households and low-income seniors. It will also include a new supermarket café and a rooftop greenhouse that will serve as a new local source of fresh produce for distribution to building residents and the community through the supermarket and café.

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said, “The Brownsville Plan was designed to understand and capture the unique vision and voice of Brownsville residents to inform a holistic plan to revitalize the neighborhood. As a result of extensive community engagement, Brownsville will not only see over 880 high quality affordable homes rise from the ground, but also the vital community and commercial space that will promote opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and healthy living created in direct response to the community’s wants and needs.”

Alby Bocanegra, Interim CTO, Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer said, “The NYCx Co-Lab in Brownsville has allowed us to make huge strides in understanding the needs of residents and introduce new tools and tech that can improve everyday life. We’re excited to see these pilots help increase nighttime safety in the neighborhood while also bringing art installations that everyone can enjoy. These pilots are a great example of how tech can directly improve and enhance the public realm.”

Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice said, “Public safety is about engaged residents building safe and vibrant neighborhoods. With the NYCx Co-Lab in Brownsville, the abundant creative and technological talent in our city is on full display showing how we can co-produce public safety by inviting people to interact with their environments and their neighbors.”

HPD will host a Community Open House and Reception in the fall to present on the Brownsville Plan progress report updates and provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about the proposals and meet the development teams.

By: Dorichel Rodriguez (Dorichel is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2017.)


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