FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                        
Thursday, May 14th 2015                                                              

CONTACT:  Juliet Morris (HPD)

morrisj@hpd.nyc.gov

CITY OFFICIALS JOINED PRATT AREA COMMUNITY COUNCIL AND PARTNERS TO CELEBRATE THE CEREMONIAL RIBBON-CUTTING OF 365 JAY STREET, BROOKLYN’S LANDMARKED
FORMER FIRE HEADQUARTERS

Originally Constructed in 1892, the Former Brooklyn Fire Headquarters Has Been Renovated and Preserved as Affordable Housing for 18 Households

Brooklyn, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) joined the Pratt Area Community Council (PACC), MDG Design & Construction and partners to celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony for 365 Jay Street in the Downtown area of Brooklyn. The Romanesque-style civic building was designed by Frank Freeman and constructed in 1892. It served as a fully operational fire house until the 1970s and was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and was designated a New York City Landmark in 1973. Through a 2013 financing deal, 365 Jay Street has undergone significant renovations and its 18 units have been preserved as affordable housing for an additional 30 years. These fully rented units are affordable to a mix of incomes ranging from low-income households to middle-income households.

“The preservation of a beautiful landmark such as this is an important way to protect the historical character of our city,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This preservation is made even more significant by the extension of affordability for these 18 units of low- and middle-income housing. I would like to thank our development partners for their support of our commitment to keep New York City affordable to residents at risk of displacement. I would also like to thank the HPD asset management and preservation teams for their hard work in preserving 365 Jay Street and making it possible for 18 households to call this beautifully rehabilitated building home.”

“We are very proud to be standing here today in front of this magnificent building which is a slice of Brooklyn history,” said Deb Howard, PACC Executive Director. “In 1988, as Metrotech became the center of downtown Brooklyn’s urban renewal and old buildings were being torn down to make way for the new, displaced tenants were relocated to this building which was converted to 18 apartments.  Eleven of those tenants or their families still live here.  They have lived through uncertainty and adverse conditions. Today’s ceremony is a testament to their staying power and PACC’s commitment to keeping families in their homes while preserving Brooklyn’s architectural heritage.”

"It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the preservation of both a national landmark and affordable housing. The renovations ensure that the Old Brooklyn Fire Headquarters will remain a sustainable building for many generations to come. More importantly, the original tenants can continue to call this their home,” said Michael Rooney Jr., Vice President of MDG Design + Construction. “I’d like to thank the TA President, Edward Martinez, for working with us so closely to ensure that the project was a success. Without the tenants, none of this would have been possible."

“Small buildings like 365 Jay Street are critical sources of affordable housing, especially for low-income renters who are struggling to find ways to stay in their neighborhoods,” said Rafael E. Cestero, President & CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation. “CPC is committed to providing flexible capital to preserve and retrofit historic landmark buildings like this, and we are pleased to have partnered with a dedicated group of public-private entities to restore this building to its former glory and house 18 low-income families. Congratulations to the original tenants who are moving back to their newly renovated homes, and we hope 365 Jay Street will be a stable source of quality housing for many more generations to come.”

“I am very gratified by the Pratt Area Community Council's wonderful renovations to this historic building,” said New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery – District 25 (D). “It has not been easy, but thanks to their dedication this building that once stood guard against the destruction of downtown Brooklyn from fire will continue to stand guard against rampant gentrification. My thanks to Deb Howard and her committed and inspiring team!”

365 Jay Street once served as Brooklyn’s Fire Department Headquarters. In 1898, the City of New York consolidated its fire services and the building was used as a fire station until the 1970s. The City of New York converted the building into affordable housing units in the mid-1980’s. The property, which HPD managed since 2005, was sold in June 2013 for $1 to Jay Street Firehouse Limited Partnership, a joint venture between the non-profit developer Pratt Area Community Council and for-profit developer, MDG Design and Construction.

In exchange for the nominal price, the building received major repairs including roof and window replacements, mechanical repairs, plumbing repairs, electrical repairs, and apartment renovation. Moderate rehabilitation of the apartments, including the preservation of historic building features, took place with existing tenants in place. The tenant-in-place renovation was conducted on a room-by-room basis and provided each tenant their own hospitality suite using vacant units, so that tenants had access to a kitchen and bathroom as renovations were performed.

In addition to the rehabilitation of the building, the 2013 financing preserved the affordability of the units for an additional 30 years. Twelve of the total 18 units have been designated as affordable to low-income households earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or an annual income of no more than $48,100 for an individual or $68,700 for a family of four. The remaining six units have been designated as affordable to middle-income households earning up to 155 percent of AMI, or an annual income of no more than $93,310 for an individual or $133,145 for a family of four. Income levels are calculated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The incomes for this development were set according to HUD’s 2013 calculations.

The total development cost for the preservation of 365 Jay Street is approximately $5.6 million.  HPD provided $2.5 million in City Capital towards permanent financing. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation provided a $600,000 grant toward the project. The Brooklyn Borough President’s Office provided $500,000 in Reso A funds and NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery contributed $300,000 in member item funds.  The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) provided a construction loan of $1,043,000 and $875,000 in permanent financing. The project will receive Federal Historic Tax Credits which resulted in tax credit equity in the amount of $751,701. National Development Council is the historic tax credit investor.  Additional predevelopment funding was provided by LISC NY and Deutsche Bank.

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About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs, and enforcement of housing quality standards. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to build 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 via www.facebook.com/nychpd  and www.twitter.com/nychousing.