FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 15, 2017
CONTACT: Press.Office@exec.ny.gov

 

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING OF FIRST THREE PHASES OF $130 MILLION FOUNTAINS DEVELOPMENT IN BROOKLYN

397 Affordable and Supportive Apartments under Construction

Mixed-Use Development will Ultimately Create 1,169 Affordable Apartments, Community Facility, Retail and Recreational Space

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of construction of 397 affordable housing units at the Fountains Development in Brooklyn, which will ultimately include 1,169 units. The development will be constructed in eight buildings with retail, commercial, and community space on 6.7 acres of formerly vacant land at 888 Fountain Avenue. The first three phases of this multi-phased development will create a total of 397 affordable and supportive apartments in Brooklyn for income-eligible residents and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. On site social and other supportive services will help these residents live independently.

"Empowering our underserved communities begins with affordable and sustainable housing," Governor Cuomo said. "This new development will provide expanded opportunity to the local economy while offering a safe, decent and affordable place for more Central Brooklyn residents to call home."

The decommissioned state property, purchased through Empire State Development’s competitive Request for Proposal process, will be developed by Arker Companies. Under the terms of the sale, Arker paid $10 million for the property, which was previously owned by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. The property was formerly part of the state-run Brooklyn Developmental Center, which closed in 2015. Rents for the apartments in the three buildings will range from: $328 to $913 for a studio; $419 to $980 for a one bedroom; $509 to $1,183 for a two bedroom; and $582 to $1,292 for a three bedroom.

The first three phases are financed with resources from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, which has invested $45 million in tax-exempt bonds, a $16.1 million Subsidy Loan, and $6 million in combined annual allocations of federal and state low-income housing tax credits. Fountain Seaview will also benefit from a $13.3 million New York City Housing Preservation and Development subsidy loan. NYSERDA awarded $158,000 through its Multifamily New Construction Program.

Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, "I am delighted with the start of the construction of Fountains Development which will provide much needed affordable and supportive housing. The integration of varied residents within this populace will bring greater awareness, improved communications and increase interactions and understanding of our varied cultures. This is an important component in building strong, diverse and vibrant communities."

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, "When this development is finished, more than 1,100 affordable apartments will be available to residents of East New York, as well as ground floor commercial and community facility spaces. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to housing, a cleaner environment, and a better quality of life is making a real difference for people in New York City and throughout the State. HCR is proud to be part of this project and we look forward to the results."

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "This development will create a community, where there used to be vacant lots. When this site is fully developed, it will provide homes to hundreds of families, in addition to support services for people with developmental disabilities and jobs."

Gerrard P. Bushell, DASNY President & CEO said, "When complete this project will transform a vacant lot into affordable, sustainable housing that will expand economic opportunities. Governor Cuomo is a leader and innovator in developing infrastructure that creates inclusive, resilient communities, which helps them compete."

Kerry A. Delaney, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities said, "This project and ones like it enable our efforts, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, to empower people with developmental disabilities to be participating members of their communities. Expanding community-based residential opportunities for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities benefits both the individual and the community to which he or she contributes."

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said, "Meeting the housing needs of all our neighborhoods requires the commitment and partnership of all levels of government. When complete, the multi-phased Fountains Development will provide 1,169 affordable homes for low-income New Yorkers, including residents with developmental disabilities who will receive on-site supportive services. We are grateful to HCR, ESD, the Arkers, and all our partners who share our commitment to using public land for affordable housing to anchor both families and neighborhoods."

Expanding Access to Affordable Housing

These developments align with Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State Budget that provides $2.5 billion of the $20 billion Housing and Homelessness Plan to finance the creation and rehabilitation of 100,000 affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units, most of which will go to low- and very low-income households. The goal under the new five-year plan is to target a near 50/50 split between new construction and preservation and between units funded in NYC and those throughout the rest of the state.

Developed Under New York’s New Green Bond Program

Fountain Seaview Phase One finances the redevelopment of a six-story new building with 65 apartments for families, including 17 units for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities from around New York City. The second building consists of nine stories with 267 apartments constructed under New York’s new Green Bond program, which the Governor announced in November, to drive the development of affordable housing that has a positive impact on the environment and climate. And last week HCR made a tax credit award to finance 65 more affordable and supportive units for another nine-story building in Phase Three.

New York is the first state in the nation to secure international Climate Bonds Initiative certification for housing that reduces the impact of climate change. As part of this initiative, HCR is partnering with Enterprise Community Partners, a national leader in the development of affordable housing in New York and throughout the United States. Enterprise has developed criteria to certify 'Green Communities,' including design, location/neighborhood, environmental and other site improvements, water conservation, energy efficiency, and healthy living.

Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners said, "In addition to high-quality affordable homes, The Fountains will bring retail space, community services, and amenities to East New York residents, including families, seniors and people with developmental disabilities. Enterprise is proud to provide financing for the Fountains through the New York City Acquisition Fund. Additionally, as one of the first developments created through the state's Green Bond program and built to Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, the Fountains will offer critical health and environmental benefits as well."

Creating a Vibrant Community

The 1.2 million square foot development will ultimately produce 1,169 units of housing available to low-income residents earning 30 percent to 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The project also includes the creation of Schroeder’s Walk, a new one-acre open space that would extend Schroeder’s Avenue for pedestrians. The Fountains will also include retail on the ground floor, off-street parking, community facilities, and a public plaza, in addition to the residential component. The Arker Companies will partner with the Block Institute, to develop the buildings and provide supportive services for residents served by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Featured amenities will include community rooms for social activities, an open courtyard, a roof deck and access to a 50,000 square foot open recreational venue with outdoor seating and greenery to be shared by building residents in the Fountains Development.

Vital Brooklyn Initiative

This development complements the Governor’s Vital Brooklyn community development and wellness initiative, creating a new model to provide resources and opportunities in Central Brooklyn.

Sol Arker, a principal in the Arker Companies said, "The Arker Companies are grateful to the Governor for his leadership that will result in the development of 1,169 units of affordable housing for working families and seniors. We will work with the Governor’s team of housing professionals at ESD and the State Department of Housing and Community Renewal and Mayor De Blasio’s team at Housing, Preservation and Development to bring this development to fruition. We have made a significant investment in the Spring Creek/East New York community and look forward to furthering our commitment to the neighborhood with this new project."

Todd Gomez, Community Development Banking Market Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, "The Fountains project is a great example of the positive results that public and private collaboration can have on neighborhoods like East New York. We are fortunate to be in a position to provide the right combination of financial tools, in partnership with NYSHCR, NYSEDC and NYCHPD, to help Arker Companies and the Block Institute reuse the former Brooklyn Developmental Center to create much-needed affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities as well as low-income working families in New York."