Dinsmore-Chestnut RFP

Release date: 12/21/2016
Submission deadline: 03/22/2017
Designation date: 10/27/2017


HPD and HDC announced the designation of the Dinsmore-Chestnut site in East New York, Brooklyn, named Chestnut Commons, that will include 274 apartments that will be affordable for formerly homeless, extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households. The development will be led by a joint venture between MHANY Management, the Urban Builders Collaborative, and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC).

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.

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.

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.


HPD released the RFP to develop the City-owner Disnmore-Chestnut site in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. The site is a cornerstone of the East New York Neighborhood Plan and comes with $267 million in investments for the neighborhood. In addition to the thousands of housing units that will be built under the plan, a Workforce1 jobs center has already opened and planning has begun for a state-of-the-art multipurpose community center as well as a new 1,000 seat public school.

The Dinsmore-Chestnut parcel is approximately 28,540 square feet and is located at Brooklyn Block 4142, on part of Lot 32. Many job opportunities affiliated with the Dinsmore-Chestnut site will be filled through HireNYC, the largest targeted hiring program in the nation, to help New Yorkers access training and jobs through the City’s purchases and investments.

The site is one of the last remaining large plots of vacant City-owned land in the City. Plans for the development of this site were shaped by community input through the Dinsmore-Chestnu Community Workshop seres June 2016. Applicants were strongly encouraged to refer to the report summarizing community visions.

RFP Forms

Dinsmore-Chestnut RFP Registration and Download

Additional Forms: