FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 23, 2016
CONTACT: Melissa Grace (HPD): GraceM@hpd.nyc.gov


MAYOR DE BLASIO, HPD COMMISSIONER BEEN, CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER MARK-VIVERITO, AND BOROUGH PRESIDENT BREWER ANNOUNCE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS TO TRANSFORM EAST HARLEM CITY BLOCK INTO 100 PERCENT AFFORDABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY, MIXED-INCOME HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

The development site, encompassing nearly an entire city block, will be a 100% affordable housing development that includes housing affordable to households earning an
annual income as low as $24,000 for a family of three

The development will also include community and retail space, incorporates community gardens and no fewer than 400 affordable homes

A Community Visioning Workshop and extensive community engagement took place prior to the creation of the Request for Proposals to better understand the needs and priorities of East Harlem residents


NEW YORK, NY – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been are joined by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Manhattan Community Board 11 to announce today the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design, construction, and management of a high-quality, sustainable, mixed-income and mixed-use affordable housing development in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. The development will offer no less than 400 new affordable homes in this diverse and vibrant neighborhood. By requiring that submissions include Passive House designs, the RFP, titled SustaiNYC, significantly advances the goals of Mayor de Blasio’ s One City: Built to Last. Passive House is a building standard that reduces a building’s energy consumption by as much as 75%, as compared to standard building designs. The 100% affordable development will be the largest Passive House project in the nation. This RFP is the result of a collaborative outreach effort by HPD, the Office of the Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Office of Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Board 11, to engage community members around their vision for development on the East 111th Street Site, which encompasses nearly an entire city block. SustaiNYC incorporates community priorities, including existing community gardens, and goals that will inform development on this important site.

“We’ve worked hard to make our city greener and more energy-efficient, including instituting steps to reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. This passive house request for proposals encourages developers to think creatively while taking action to fight climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The East 111th Street project will bring badly-needed affordable housing and incorporate community gardens, making this a place that will improve the lives of both its residents and the surrounding community.”

“New York City’s affordability crisis demands that we think big and that we think sustainable. This important RFP solicits proposals that will help East Harlem, a thriving and diverse community that continues to attract New Yorkers, grow responsibly,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This 100% affordable housing development not only will provide affordable homes in an area that is quickly becoming unaffordable to many households, but also will add the high-quality community, retail and garden space our neighborhoods need.”

"The East 111th Street site will provide El Barrio/East Harlem with a unique opportunity to enrich our vibrant neighborhood," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "Following input from the Council's East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, this project will address a variety of needs identified by our community. By committing to building 100 percent affordable housing, preserving community gardens and emphasizing sustainable design, the City and the East Harlem community have partnered to transform an entire City-block through a common vision. This important project is the culmination of many years of advocacy and careful planning and I thank the Administration for their partnership as we work to build more affordable housing for New Yorkers.”

“This project reflects a holistic, environment- and people-focused strategy for meeting our neighborhoods’ need for affordable housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I commend everyone who contributed to this process for committing to the goals of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, protecting the role of urban gardening and green spaces in the community, and making Manhattan a national leader in sustainable construction by undertaking a major public project that will comply with Passive House standards.”

“I am heartened that here in Harlem we are taking concrete steps towards addressing the housing affordability crisis through significant engagement of the local community that has fostered a very important 100% affordable housing development project. Let me be clear: 100% affordability tailored to the needs of the affected community is our collective path forward as a City. As policymakers, it is our duty to ensure that we stand in solidarity to protect every single existing affordable housing unit, build legions more and ensure that every new affordable housing unit remains protected for future generations," said New York State Senator Bill Perkins.

The site will be developed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-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.  

Bound by Madison and Park Avenues, and E. 111th and E. 112th Streets in Manhattan’s Community District 11, the site consists of all lots on Block 1617 except for 21 and 34, and is approximately 76,500-square-feet.

City-owned properties provide an opportunity for achieving broad public policy and neighborhood goals for NYC communities. HPD is proud to issue this RFP and undertake a competitive review and selection process to ensure that these resources leverage and maximize investments to create livable, valuable, and affordable neighborhoods. Four existing community gardens will be incorporated into the new development, and the East Harlem Little League’s baseball field and two community gardens will be relocated in the surrounding neighborhood.

This project will be 100 percent affordable, and provide housing affordable to a range of income levels that meet the economic needs of the community and further fair housing objectives by promoting diverse neighborhoods. The development should include quality commercial and community facility uses, as well as the required open space and other amenities to enhance the overall quality of life, health, safety, and active living in the neighborhood. Preference will be given to projects that include a significant proportion of units that serve very low- and low-income households.

The administration has committed to protecting a majority of current community garden use by requiring that developers incorporate garden space into the new site. The new garden spaces will ultimately be transferred to the Parks department to be preserved for the long term for the benefit of the community.

Members of the East Harlem community played an important role in shaping this RFP, providing insight and input that will eventually produce a development that is responsive to neighborhood needs. Through intensive community workshops and outreach, residents described various priorities around program, design, affordability and other features they want to see built at the site, including an affordable supermarket, pharmacy and cultural or art spaces. These community priorities, which are compiled and presented in a Community Visioning Report prepared by HPD, must be considered in developers’ proposals. The Report can be downloaded here: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdf/community/e111-report-back.pdf.

Many of these priorities have also been described in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a vision for East Harlem developed through extensive community engagement led by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito with Community Board 11, Community Voices Heard and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

In an effort to take meaningful steps toward achieving the goals laid out in One City: Built to Last, HPD, for the first time, is requiring Passive House design in the RFP. That requirement will help inform design possibilities and feasibility of Passive House development at this scale. Passive House is a building standard that significantly improves the energy efficiency of buildings, while providing a number of benefits to residents and property owners. Passive House design reliably provides reduction in energy needed for heating and cooling of up to 90%, and up to 75% reduction in overall energy use, compared to existing buildings. It focuses on passive measures and building components such as insulation, airtightness and heat recovery to provide tenants with superior quality residences, while increasing long term viability for building owners through lower utility bills. Residents benefit from great indoor air quality, comfortable and even temperatures, significantly reduced energy bills and better noise attenuation.

Other affordable housing Passive House developments include Beach Green North, the 425 Grand Concourse development in the Bronx and The Knickerbocker Commons project in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD):

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC 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. NYC 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 via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing.