FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2017
CONTACT: Libby Rohlfing, 212-863-8076
HPD ISSUES A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS SEEKING THEMATIC DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN BROWNSVILLE, BROOKLYN
Delivering on the commitments made in The Brownsville Plan, HPD seeks affordable housing proposals that incorporate three distinct themes: Arts and Culture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Healthy Living and Food Systems
Proposals are expected to spur the creation of approximately 750 affordable housing units, alongside vibrant commercial and community spaces
BROOKLYN, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer announces the issuance of the Brownsville RFP, outlining the City’s search for thematic proposals for three sites in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The development framework for these sites responds to key priorities and goals identified by the community during the Brownsville Planning process and published in the Brownsville Plan in June 2017. These priorities include the need for performance venues, rehearsal and visual arts studios, or exhibition space in the community; opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurship training; and investment in healthy lifestyles. Proposals submitted to each of the three development sites must meet the thematic goals outlined for each specific site while creating high-quality, sustainable, mixed-income, affordable housing. This is the first RFP to reflect significant reforms to HPD’s RFP selection process, which now gives greater weight to proposals with plans for neighborhood investment, among other changes to meet the needs of communities.
“Today marks a significant milestone towards the goals of the Brownsville plan, as we seek innovative proposals for mixed-use affordable housing developments that reflect the needs and priorities of the community,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “The three sites will pair the creation of much-needed affordable housing with space for arts and culture; opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive; and activities that promote healthy living and food systems. I want to thank our elected officials, sister City agencies, community groups, and local residents for partnering with us to achieve this dynamic vision for Brownsville’s future.”
The sites will be developed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan seeks to use affordable housing as an anchor to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities.
The development area offers a combined total of 173,000 square feet across three distinct sites, together offering the potential for approximately 750 units of affordable housing. The Rockaway-Chester site, known as ‘Site A’, is located along Rockaway Avenue and Chester Street, between East New York Avenue and Pitkin Avenue. The Christopher-Glenmore site, known as ‘Site B’ is located at the intersection of Christopher Avenue and Glenmore Avenue. And finally, the Livonia Avenue site, known as ‘Site C’, 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. Each site focuses on one specific theme that addresses the community goals and strategies outlined in the Brownsville Plan.
Rockaway-Chester: Arts and Culture
Brownsville has a thriving community of artists, entrepreneurs, and creative residents who contribute to the life and culture of the neighborhood and the city as a whole. The community identified the need for cultural space that will increase access and opportunities for neighborhood residents, and nurture Brownsville’s artistic community. Proposals to develop affordable housing on this 57,000 square foot lot must include a cultural community facility that promotes and supports arts and cultural activity in Brownsville. HPD is partnering with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to review proposals for this site.
Christopher-Glenmore: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
HPD recognizes that in order to achieve more equitable and sustainable outcomes for residents, there must be established strategies for investment in the economic power of the community. Brownsville has a growing entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. Residents have expressed a desire for more resources to advance workforce and entrepreneurship opportunities in emerging fields, especially for young people. Proposals to develop affordable housing on this 40,000 square foot lot must include community facilities and/or commercial spaces that reflect the economic development theme through workforce development, education, business incubation, STEM/STEAM training, or other technology and innovation-related strategies. Affordability levels for this site will be consistent with determinations from the East New York neighborhood planning process.
Livonia Avenue: Healthy Living and Food Systems
During the community engagement process for the Brownsville Plan, neighborhood residents stressed the need to create opportunities to achieve healthy lifestyles, including healthy food options, opportunities to be physically active, and spaces for social gathering. Proposals to develop affordable housing on the four sites along Livonia Avenue, totaling 76,075 square feet, must include uses that promote healthy and active lifestyles for neighborhood residents. Proposals must also include commercial uses that create an active, pedestrian-friendly environment along the Livonia Avenue corridor.
“I want to thank the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, Community Board 16 Chair Genese Morgan, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their unwavering commitment to creating the type of affordable housing that not only provides a place that our families can call home but that also fulfills the needs of the entire Brownsville community. I have been honored to work closely with HPD on the Brownsville Plan and to support the development of local institutions promoting arts, culture, entrepreneurship, and healthy lifestyles. In my childhood in Brooklyn, I enjoyed participating in the vibrant cultural life of our borough, visiting museums, watching performances, and even creating art myself. I want the next generation of young people – young women and men – to have that same opportunity to develop their talents and celebrate our culture right here in the community that they call home,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said “The way to build and sustain a thriving community is to provide resources for its residents that keep costs low, spur economic development and improve opportunities to achieve the American dream. The Brownsville RFP, through its focus on affordable housing development, economic empowerment and health education takes a substantial step in this direction.”
“The future of Brownsville can, should, and will reflect the best of the future of Brooklyn, a borough filled with safe and prosperous communities to raise healthy children and families,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “These RFPs advance our shared vision for holistic community-driven development, including 100 percent affordable housing. I look forward to working in partnership with HPD Commissioner Torres-Springer and the de Blasio administration on this plan in the weeks and months ahead.”
“Any plan for affordable housing must also include a plan for comprehensive community development,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I am pleased to see the Brownsville community plan progress toward this goal and I look forward to reviewing the proposals for our community.”
“It's important that the city-owned vacant land included in the Brownsville Plan is developed to serve the unique needs of the residents of Brownsville,” said Genese Morgan, Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 16. “I can't stress enough how crucial it is that the responses to this Request For Proposals demonstrate accountability, community benefits and inclusion, economic viability for local residents, and adds to the improvement in our local quality of life.”
“This transformative plan will deliver economic opportunity, affordable housing, and an improved quality of life to Brownsville. As someone who grew up in the neighborhood, I am gratified to see residents, elected officials, community-based organizations, and government agencies working together to strengthen the place I once called home,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “It’s a wonderful example of how connecting resources in a community can lead to tangible results that benefit young people, their families, and the entire community.”
“We’ve made significant progress engaging with Brownsville residents and looking at ways technology can address community needs,” said Miguel Gamiño, Jr., New York City Chief Technology Officer. “The Brownsville RFP is the right next step to ensure the City continues to be responsive to the neighborhood and provide modern, affordable housing options.”
“DCP is pleased to have worked alongside HPD and neighborhood residents in this multiagency, highly collaborative process. This RFP will set the stage for new, affordable developments that address the community’s needs in appropriately-scaled buildings with smart, active sidewalks and streets. These three sites will be anchors for growth, affordability, and economic opportunity for the Brownsville community,” said Marisa Lago, Director of the Dept. of City Planning.
“Brownsville is home to a thriving community of artists and organizations, and we are proud to work with residents and our partners at HPD to activate space in the Rockaway-Chester affordable housing development as a new hub for art and culture,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “As we saw in the CreateNYC cultural plan and the local planning process in Brownsville, residents want to see more art and culture in their neighborhoods. Creating affordable space for artists and arts groups is one of the most effective ways we can work toward greater cultural access and equity.”
“It’s easy to tell New Yorkers to eat healthier and exercise more, but it’s hard to follow that advice if your environment doesn’t support it,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “HPD’s Brownsville Plan is an opportunity to build a space that encourages physical activity and access to fresh produce, making the healthy choice the easy choice for the community.”
HPD’s general RFP process has also been reformed to reflect a series of changes in the competitive selection process. A preference will now be given to development teams that can demonstrate a successful track record of investments in community and economic development, as well as proposals that include a plan for meaningful community engagement as a part of their affordable housing development plans. Also, HPD has changed the way development experience is assessed to give equal weight to developers who have significant housing rehabilitation experience. The Brownsville RFP is the first to reflect these improvements.
HPD strongly recommends that all interested respondents attend the pre-submission conference scheduled on Thursday, September 7th at 10 AM, at 125 Worth Street, in the 2nd floor auditorium. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers in person.
To further encourage collaborative and well-informed proposals, HPD will also host a Brownsville Informational and Networking Session. HPD strongly recommends that interested Respondents attend this informational and networking session, including community-based organizations and other groups interested in partnering with a development team and/or learning more about the Brownsville RFP. The event will be held from 4 – 6 PM on September 19, 2017 at 444 Thomas S. Boyland Street in Brownsville.
The deadline for submissions will be December 18, 2017. To register and download the RFP, visit HPD’s Brownsville RFP webpage.
All buildings will be 100 percent affordable, and provide housing affordable to a range of income levels identified in The Brownsville Plan and The East New York Plan where applicable. The Brownsville Plan was created with significant community input which began last July. Input included feedback from dozens of community-based organizations, some 500 residents, and an innovative collaboration with coUrbanize – an online/texting community engagement platform. The Brownsville RFP is the most immediate result of the Brownsville Plan, which provides for the creation of affordable housing on public- and privately-owned sites and represents over $1 billion of investment. In addition, the plan coordinates more than $150 million in City investments, including improvements to Brownsville’s parks, NYCHA developments, streets and roadways. It includes plans for a new community center for teens at the Brownsville Houses; and a new Neighborhood Health Action Center. Much of this work will be complete or underway within the next five years. This all builds on the goals outlined in the NYC Neighborhood Planning Playbook, HPD’s established guidelines for community engagement to build more robust development plans for affordable housing in New York City.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD):
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 with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.