FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 27, 2017 

CONTACT: Juliet Pierre-Antoine, 212-863-5682

 

HPD AND HDC ANNOUNCE DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR CHESTNUT COMMONS, A MIXED-USE COMMUNITY-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT WITH 274 AFFORDABLE HOMES

A direct result of the East New York rezoning, Chestnut Commons will be affordable to households earning up to $51,540, with more than 80 units for households earning up to $25,770 including a set-aside for formerly homeless families and individuals.

The new development will include an innovative community center offering satellite courses in partnership with Kingsborough Community College, a black box theater programmed by ARTS East New York, a food manufacturing kitchen incubator, health and social services, and additional community and recreational uses. 

 


Rendering courtesy of Dattner Architects 

 

NEW YORK CITY– New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin announce the designation of the Dinsmore-Chestnut site in East New York, Brooklyn a joint venture between MHANY Management, the Urban Builders Collaborative, and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC). The development proposal, named Chestnut Commons, includes the creation of 274 affordable apartments that will be affordable to formerly homeless, extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households. The mixed-use development will also create a number of opportunities through a rich multi-layered set of community-oriented offerings such as programming by ARTS East New York, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, and more.  The project is designed to achieve a low carbon footprint by incorporating passive house elements that will reduce operating costs and benefit all residents.

“Today marks a significant milestone in fulfilling the commitments we made in the East New York neighborhood plan.  The development team, including locally-based non-profit organizations with deep ties to the community, has crafted a dynamic proposal that will provide a wide array of community services with culturally-rich programming and hundreds of deeply affordable homes that will benefit local residents for generations to come,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.  “I thank and congratulate MHANY, Cypress Hills, and all of their partners, as well as my colleagues at HDC.  We look forward to working together to breathe new life into this previously vacant site and provide lasting affordability for the neighborhood.”

“Today we celebrate an incredible example of the Mayor’s housing plan in action,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin.  “This project will repurpose underused public land and transform it into 274 affordable homes for New Yorkers most in need.  It will also incorporate educational, cultural and recreational facilities to enrich the community as a whole.  Perhaps most significantly, it will achieve all this in partnership with committed non-profit organizations who know that community best.”

“I applaud our local groups on the designation of their plans for the Chestnut-Dinsmore site,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Through the East New York Neighborhood Plan I championed a comprehensive strategy to bring diverse investments into our neighborhood, ranging from housing to education, infrastructure and jobs. I look forward to the much-needed affordable housing this will bring to our community. While the plan for the development so far has a lot to offer, I’m still looking for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly features and enhancements. I’ve seen other proposals for this site, which had these benefits and I look forward to continuing the conversation to incorporate these attributes so this can be the model for all future development in East New York.”

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said: “This plan will mean additional affordable housing in an area that has seen spiraling costs for working families.  In addition to the thousands of housing units that will be created, the project will also bring additional assets to the neighborhood, including a community center, a public school, a credit union, and local jobs will be created. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation has been a tremendous asset to our community as this project has evolved and I’m pleased they will continue working on this initiative. Their expertise and experience will mean maximum community input and ensure area residents reap the benefits as the process moves forward.”

“I am excited to see hundreds of new permanent affordable housing units coming to East New York,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I commend HPD Commissioner Torres-Springer and HDC President Enderlin for their leadership on this proposal for Chestnut Commons, which will provide homes for individuals and families in need, including some of our formerly homeless neighbors. A new community center with cultural, educational, and workforce development programming supported by trusted partners like ARTS East New York, Cypress Hills LDC, and Kingsborough Community College promises to be an incredible benefit to the entire neighborhood, as does a new branch of the Brooklyn Federal Credit Union. This kind of multi-purpose, community-driven approach to local development, as part of a rezoning process, is exactly the kind of model we should be replicating across the borough.”

“It gives me great pleasure to have such an immense project awarded to Cypress Hills LDC. They are an extraordinary organization with an outstanding track record for providing affordable housing for low-income families. The site will also house a plethora of services that this community has been lacking," said Assemblyman Erik Dilan.

City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago said, “The East New York plan is already paying dividends. As promised, the City is delivering 200 units of deeply affordable housing in attractive buildings that will anchor and enhance this end of Atlantic Avenue.  The well-designed buildings, alongside a new 1,000-seat school, will strengthen not just the neighborhood’s physical fabric but also its health and social fabric. By including economic development and education opportunities, arts programming, job training, and more, Chestnut Commons promises to revitalize this long vacant site and become a proud addition to this vibrant community.”

This designation is the direct result of work accomplished through the East New York Neighborhood Plan, which was released in 2016 as a part of the East New York neighborhood rezoning.  The plan outlines a commitment to expedite the construction of deeply affordable housing, with approximately 425 units projected for public sites. Small site designations were announced in July 2017 that will activate six publicly-owned vacant lots to create three rental buildings with a total of 41 affordable apartments. The Chestnut Commons development is the largest public site designated since the rezoning. The rezoning unlocked the potential to develop affordable housing on the Dinsmore-Chestnut site where residential development was previously not permitted by zoning.

“MHANY and Cypress Hills two organizations deeply rooted in East New York are thrilled to partner with the City, and our development partners on this high impact development,” said Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director of MHANY Management Inc. “We are proud to be a partner  that will provide a cornerstone green building for the residents of East New York not only through the approximately 270 new apartments affordable for residents of the local community, but also through our commitment and investment in the future of community residents with new jobs, businesses, open and  arts space integrated into the design.

“For the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and the residents of Cypress Hills/East New York, the Chestnut Commons development is truly a dream come true,” Michelle Neugebauer, Executive Director of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. “We look forward to building the Cypress Hills Community Center as part of the project.  The Community Center will include a central service hub for recreation, workforce development, youth and family services and college success programming, a satellite of CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, a Black Box Theater run by Arts East New York, a branch of the Brooklyn Cooperative Credit Union and affordable commercial space for neighborhood merchants.  We thank the Mayor, Council Member Rafael Espinal, all of our elected officials and the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development for making this major investment in the future of our community.”

Chestnut Commons will include a mix of studios, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. In addition to housing for formerly homeless households, the apartments will be affordable to extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households through financing from the City’s Extremely Low- and Low-Income Affordability (ELLA) program. The development will comply with Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and term sheet requirements for permanent affordability. The development team has also committed to ensuring permanent affordability for the entire project.   

Through extensive collaboration with elected officials, sister agencies, and Brooklyn Community Board 5, HPD hosted a series workshops resulting in the publication of a Community Visioning Report that was used to inform the request for proposals. Chestnut Commons reflects the priorities the community identified in the workshops, such as the inclusion of an arts and cultural center, active recreation facilities, and a food service component, while promoting economic empowerment though education services and a Brooklyn-based credit union.

In addition to 100% affordable housing, the development will include:

  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation: Active recreation programs and additional social services will be provided by CHLDC. The organizations’ Verde Initiative will facilitate demonstrations in cooking and nutrition. Workforce development programs will also help the community with college access, admissions, and financial aid counseling.
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College Satellite Campus: The satellite campus will offer college introductory courses along with career track certification training programs
  • ARTS East New York Center for the Performing Arts: This new performing arts center will be home to a variety of cultural, community and local school events, and will host professional performances from world renowned performers. ARTS East New York will also use the center to offer courses in performance arts education for the community including lessons in acting, musical theater, set design, woodshop, curation, stage management, and more.
  • Food Manufacturing Kitchen Incubator: CHLDC will operate a new food incubator which will provide industrial kitchen facilities and small business technical assistance to help launch and sustain neighborhood-based caterers, home-based food businesses, food manufacturers, and restaurant entrepreneurs.
  • Brooklyn Federal Credit Union (Brooklyn Coop): A new 2,000 square foot branch will open at the Chestnut Commons site. In addition to traditional retail banking services, the credit union will pilot a credit building rent payment program and financial education programs, and offer homeownership workshops for community members.

“We are thrilled that a development team led by nonprofits Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and Mutual Housing Association of New York has won the opportunity to develop the Chestnut-Dinsmore site” said Sam Marks, Executive Director of LISC NYC. “By integrating economic development, public health, education and the arts programming, this project demonstrates new models of community development innovation that link 100% permanently affordable housing with economic opportunities for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

“We applaud the Mayor for his commitment to providing real affordable housing and community planning in East New York. Responsible development that provides both affordable housing and good permanent jobs is what East New York and all of New York City needs,” said 32BJ President Héctor Figueroa.

“This is an important affordable project for the community. We applaud HPD for their vision in supporting a partnership of two mission-driven, non-profit developers – Cypress Hills LDC and MHANNY – along with Urban Builders, for the exceptional benefit that they will deliver to the community. The permanently and deeply affordable housing, local jobs, and added local services will help to keep the neighborhood strong, stable, and affordable,” said Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (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 www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

About New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC): In 1971, the New York State Legislature created the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) as a supplementary and alternative means of supplying financing for affordable housing that was independent from the City's capital budget. The flexibility built into HDC’s authorizing statute allows it to amend its programs and goals in response to the changing economic climate. As a result, HDC has become the leading local housing finance agency in the nation, outperforming many of the nation’s largest banks in the volume and dollar amount of bonds issued. Since 2014, HDC has leveraged more than $4.5 billion in bond financing and devoted more than $480 million in direct subsidy from its corporate reserves to support Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan.