October 20, 2020
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Photo: 911 Erskine street and new Fountains resident Kayleen (Jonathan Patkowski for HPD)
The Fountains Phase One Offers 332 Affordable and Energy-Efficient Apartments for Families and Adults with Disabilities
Development Will Ultimately Include Over 1,100 Affordable Homes on State's Former Brooklyn Developmental Center Site
New York, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced completion of the initial phase of The Fountains in Brooklyn, a 6.7-acre mixed-use development complex that will ultimately offer 1,163 affordable homes. Together, the first two completed buildings of the project include 332 affordable apartments and supportive services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live independently. The development is being constructed on the site of the State's former Brooklyn Developmental Center in East New York.
"We have made an unprecedented commitment to address the lack of affordable housing in every corner of New York, but especially in Brooklyn, where the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been severe," Governor Cuomo said. "Our aggressive approach to building new developments like The Fountains will provide high-quality, energy-efficient homes and supportive services to those who need them most as we continue to come back from this crisis."
The Governor's commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing is reflected in the State's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services.
Designed to provide good quality, affordable homes to low-income households and those in need of supportive services, The Fountains is part of the Governor's overall strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested nearly $2.5 billion in Brooklyn that has created or preserved 11,800 affordable homes.
The first phase includes a new building at 11629 Seaview Avenue with 65 affordable apartments. Seventeen units will be reserved for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who will have access to comprehensive onsite supportive services provided by the Block Institute, Inc. These households will also receive rental subsidies provided by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. Ten units will be fully accessible and adaptable for residents with mobility, hearing or vision impairments.
Support for the $23.4 million Seaview Avenue building included an allocation of federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Multifamily New Construction Program awarded $158,600 for this project and also provided a total of $152,840 in NY-Sun incentives, including $53,120 from the Multifamily Affordable Housing Incentive for a 195.48 kW solar system. Additional financing was provided by Bank of America.
Another building, located at 911 Erskine Street, offers 267 affordable apartments for families. Sixty-seven apartments are reserved for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who will receive supportive services from the Block Institute and rental subsidies through OPWDD.
911 Erskine Street was constructed under New York's Climate Bond program to drive the development of affordable housing that has a positive impact on the environment and climate. Both buildings were designed to meet the standards of Energy Star Multifamily High Rise and Enterprise Green Communities programs to achieve maximum energy efficiency. Energy efficient features include high efficiency condensing boilers and heat pumps, Energy Star appliances and photo sensors and timers to control outdoor and site lighting.
Financing for the $86.8 million building on Erskine Street included permanent tax-exempt climate bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy from HCR. Additional financing was provided by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The Fountains is located close to public transportation, Shirley Chisholm State Park, bike trails and community resources such as grocery stores, parks, schools and other retail establishments.
The decommissioned State property, purchased through Empire State Development's competitive request for proposal process, is being developed by the Arker Companies. Under the terms of the sale, the Arker Companies paid $10 million for the property, which was previously owned by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. The property was part of the former state-run Brooklyn Developmental Center, which closed in 2015.
The Fountains complements Governor Cuomo's $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative which is targeting and investing in eight integrated areas, from health care to housing, establishing a new standard for addressing chronic economic and racial disparities in Brooklyn's high-need communities. The Vital Brooklyn initiative will create 4,000 affordable homes in Central Brooklyn's neighborhoods.
HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said, "When this six-building project is finished, families in East New York will gain access to hundreds of new affordable homes at a very critical time. Every new affordable home counts right now. As we push for more affordable housing, it's the projects like these, primarily serving low-income households and people in need of supportive care, that are becoming more important than ever. I commend our partners at Arker Companies, New York Empire State Development, and New York Homes and Community Renewal Development for bringing this development to life."
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Fountains is an ambitious development that complements Governor Cuomo's ongoing efforts to bring energy-efficient, health-oriented affordable housing to Brooklyn. The 332 households in Phase One will benefit from supportive services, recreation space, nearby public transportation and many other important amenities for families. When complete, The Fountains will be a modern and active mixed-use and mixed-income neighborhood with more than 1,100 homes. We thank our many partners on this project for their remarkable efforts completing Phase One and we look forward to celebrating the completion of all six buildings."
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Empire State Development is proud to partner with our sister state agencies and the private sector to breathe new life into this underutilized state facility. Projects such as The Fountains not only promote local economic opportunity but also serve as crucial catalysts for broader neighborhood revitalization. Because of the skill, expertise and creativity of each partner, this development will generate the jobs, commercial activity, neighborhood services and additional benefits that will help in our mission to move New York Forward."
OPWDD Commissioner Theodore A. Kastner said, "New York has made great strides helping people with developmental disabilities to live independently in their communities with the right supports. The new apartments at The Fountains, built on the grounds of the former Brooklyn Developmental Center, show just how far we've advanced since the days of housing people with developmental disabilities in institutional settings. These new apartments will help more than 80 people with developmental disabilities achieve their goals of being supported within their community to live, work and participate fully."
Doreen M. Harris, Acting President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said, "Helping our most vulnerable citizens have equitable access to clean and affordable energy is a priority of Governor Cuomo's climate agenda. This project demonstrates how healthier, affordable living spaces powered by renewable energy can enhance communities and help reduce harmful emissions for generations of New Yorkers to come."
Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, "I applaud the announcement of the phase one completion at 'The Fountains' bringing affordable housing to the residents of my Senatorial District. This much needed and anticipated project, especially now during these unprecedented times, is a welcoming addition to my constituency where affordable housing options are critical to New Yorkers and their families. New Yorkers deserve to have a place they can proudly call their home and I commend the private/public partnership between the Arker Companies, Empire State Development and Homes and Community Renewal to successfully bring this first phase to fruition and strive to improve the lives of residents of Southeast Brooklyn."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, "The first phase of The Fountains will provide stable, affordable housing to people who need it most. I was proud to offer testimony in support of this project, emphasizing the need to prioritize those at risk of displacement in the East New York and Brownsville areas. The complex's commitment to centering sustainability should also serve as a model for developments throughout our borough, especially as we continue to contend with the effects of climate change. I thank our partners at the City and State level for making this a reality, and look forward to celebrating the openings of the next phases soon."
Scott L. Barkin, PhD, Executive Director of the Block Institute said, "The homes being created by the Fountains phase one affordable housing project serve as a reminder of how challenges become opportunities. At Block Institute, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals and families of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and today we can take a moment to celebrate helping more New Yorkers through this new project. Block Institute is proud to join the Arker Companies, New York State and New York City in offering homes and support to individuals that will ensure the most independent and inclusive lives. This is where hopes and dreams become reality."
Alex Arker, Principal at Arker Companies, said, "During this unexplainably difficult time, people are just looking for a place to live and call home. The Arker Companies is grateful that the State and City worked with us on finalizing and opening The Fountains so we could begin moving families into this new development and help a few New Yorkers out. This is just the first two of six buildings, and we look forward to celebrating many more families moving in here over the coming months. Stable and affordable housing is so critical, especially during this hard time, but it is important to push for more affordable housing so every New Yorker can have a place to call home."
Todd Gomez, North Region Market Executive in the Community Development Banking Group at Bank of America, said, "The Fountains is tangible evidence of the important impact that affordable and supportive housing can have on the residents and neighborhoods of East New York and across the City. The Arker Companies' vision for and commitment to this multi-phased development will create much needed housing opportunities for residents while contributing to the growing, vibrant East New York community. We are delighted that Bank of America's $70MM in construction loans and $57MM in tax credit equity investments could help to support the first phase of The Fountains, and we look forward to the completion of future phases in partnership with the Arker team and the project's public sector sponsors."