LBGT Seniors Will Get Their Own Affordable Housing Tower in Brooklyn
By Simone Wilson
NYCHA, along with the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), announced the plan last Thursday — along with construction of affordable apartments for individuals and families on the Van Dyke Houses parking lot in Brownsville.
BFC Partners was chosen as the developer of the Ingersoll project through a competitive request for proposals (RFP).
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), meanwhile, was chosen as the nonprofit to provide a range of LGBT community services at the Fort Greene site.
“We are honored and excited to be partnering with SAGE to deliver New York City’s first senior housing project designed to accommodate the LGBT Community,” said Don Capoccia, Partner of BFC Partners. “I commend NYCHA for their vision in recognizing the opportunity this project presents, and for their determination to keep New York City in the forefront of innovative housing models.”
“For too long, LGBT elder pioneers in New York City have lacked access to housing where they are welcomed for who they are,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “There is still so much to be done, but Ingersoll will serve as the cornerstone of the National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative launched by SAGE in 2015 to transform the landscape of LGBT housing across this country.”
The site is located on the Ingersoll Houses green spacealong Myrtle Avenue between St. Edwards Street and North Portland Avenue.
And over in Brownsville, at the Van Dyke Houses, Dunn Development Corp. will construct a 13-story building that will include 188 affordable apartments for individuals and families with low to very low income. The building will rise on what is currently a parking lot and garbage area on Blake Avenue between Mother Gaston Boulevard and Powell Street.
The Brownsville development will feature a new walk-in urgent care center and a wellness center, including a demonstration commercial kitchen and exercise studio operated by Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (BMS.)
Additionally, Friends of Crown Heights, a local childcare provider, has proposed an early childhood education center for the site. After-school programs are also proposed, such as boxing and dance classes provided by Brownsville Boxing Center and arts and technology programs provided by the nonprofit Beam Center.
“We’re excited to deepen our investment in the Brownsville community, bringing affordable housing, jobs and community services including health care, early childhood programs and youth programs to the neighborhood,” said Martin Dunn, president of Brooklyn-based affordable housing developer Dunn Development Corp. “The project name, Dumont Commons, evokes our vision for the building as a centerpiece of the community, a focal point for the neighborhood and a place that brings neighbors—from NYCHA and beyond—together.”
Developers and participating partners for both the Fort Greene and Brownsville projects were chosen afterNYCHA and HPD released a Request For Proposals (RFP)last summer inviting those entities — as well as Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) firms — to submit proposals for the buildings' design, financing, construction and operations.
“The selected proposals are incredibly strong and reflect the community conversations we had with residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “We are excited to partner with residents, HPD and our development partners to see these plans take shape as part of the Mayor’s long-term vision for more affordable housing in New York City.”
NYCHA officials have been meeting with residents of the existing Ingersoll and Van Dyke housing developments and others in the community to discuss the projects and encourage public participation.
However, many living in the developments have felt — and still feel — that NextGeneration is a done deal whether tenants want it or not.
“They made it official but nobody called from NYCHA to tell me. They [city officials] don’t have respect or courtesy for anybody,” said Van Dyke Tenant Association President Lisa Kenner. She said she has concerns that money made from NextGeneration will not actually go into much-needed repairs in public housing.