On July 20, 2023, in the latest example of a positive national trend we’ve been documenting here in REVITALIZATION, another underutilized downtown property began its revitalizing transition from a surface parking lot to badly-needed affordable housing.
That was when construction began on Park Place, a $34 million affordable and supportive housing redevelopment in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York City.
The redevelopment will include 43 mixed-income apartments, including eight supportive homes for families experiencing homelessness, and a primary care facility open to the larger community. Park Place is part of the State’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative which is addressing chronic social, economic, and health disparities in Brooklyn’s high-need communities.
“Park Place is the latest development in our comprehensive plan to expand access to essential services and quality, affordable housing in Central Brooklyn’s underserved neighborhoods,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“As my announcement in Brooklyn earlier this week made clear, my administration is doing everything it can to address the housing needs of our neighborhoods like Crown Heights to make New York more livable and more affordable for generations to come,” she added.
Park Place is also part of Governor Hochul’s $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.
Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest said, “Housing and healthcare are two of our community’s top priorities, and they are deeply interconnected. I am very pleased to see the groundbreaking of 43 new apartments and a women and children’s healthcare facility in Crown Heights as part of the Vital Brooklyn initiative. I want to thank all the partners who came together to make this project possible.”
The redevelopment will consist of a single five-story building to be constructed on a parking lot currently owned by One Brooklyn Health. When complete, the development will include 38 parking spaces reserved for One Brooklyn Health employees.
President and CEO of One Brooklyn Health LaRay Brown said, “Safe affordable housing is essential for one’s health and well-being. One Brooklyn Health is committed to the aims of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the partnership with HELPDevCo. We look forward to delivering health care services to the families and individuals living at Park Place and making primary care more accessible to all members of the Central Brooklyn communities.”
One Brooklyn Health will also operate an 8000-square-foot health care facility on the building’s ground floor that will provide primary care for adults and children, including comprehensive dental care.
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said, “How can we create housing that not only provides a home, but builds community resiliency, creates livable outdoor green spaces, builds on our city’s environmental commitment, and brings affordable health care to the neighborhood? Park Place begins to do this through providing supportive housing and creating an affordable and local primary care facility for the neighborhood as well as adding outdoor space and energy efficient appliances all New Yorkers should have access to. Thank you to the State for their Vital Brooklyn Initiative and I’m looking forward to the many people who will soon call Park Place their new home.”
All 43 apartments on the upper floors will be affordable to households earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of the Area Median Income or less. Eight apartments will be reserved for households experiencing homelessness who will have access to rental assistance and on-site supportive services.
The building’s design will comply with Enterprise Green Communities and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority‘s (NYSERDA) New Construction – Housing Program. Energy efficient features will include a low flow plumbing system with leak monitors, Energy Star appliances, increased insulation throughout the building, and rooftop solar to generate electricity onsite.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said, “Construction of this new all-electric affordable housing development is an example of how modern and energy efficient buildings with a host of on-site amenities such as solar-powered electricity, low flow plumbing system and energy star appliances, provide high quality living for our most vulnerable residents. It is electrification projects like this that ensure every New Yorker benefits as we advance our efforts to fight climate change by eliminating the carbon footprint of buildings as part of New York’s nation-leading climate goals.”
Residential amenities will include bike storage, laundry and community rooms, and a landscaped terrace with play islands to encourage tenants to enjoy the outdoors. There is free building-wide wireless internet access, in keeping with the Governor’s ConnectALL initiative, which has made historic investments to deliver highspeed internet in underserved communities and close the digital divide for lower-income New Yorkers.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Every New Yorker deserves access to safe, affordable housing. This new housing development will help ensure that families in Brooklyn have access to stable, quality housing options and have access to vital support services. I am proud to support Governor Hochul’s efforts to expand affordable housing options for the Brooklyn community and throughout the state.”
The developer for Park Place is HELPDevCo, which is affiliated with HELP USA, the nationally renowned affordable housing and homeless services nonprofit.
HELPDevCo President David Cleghorn said, “HELPDevCo is dedicated to crafting high-quality affordable and supportive housing communities, just like this one will be when completed. HELP started in Brooklyn, and we are committed to continuing to partner with the State, City, and our many partners to invest in this borough – adding as quickly as we can to our already 600+ inventory of homes in Brooklyn.”
State financing for the development includes $15.9 million in federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and an additional $10.6 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). HCR also awarded eight project-based Housing Choice Vouchers.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “As with all our Vital Brooklyn developments, Park Place is designed to promote the health and quality of life of Central Brooklyn’s residents while complementing Governor Hochul’s strategy to build a greener and more equitable New York for all. When complete, this highly energy-efficient building will provide 43 beautiful, sustainable, and affordable homes with life-changing services. With the inclusion of the ground floor primary care facility, families living in Crown Heights will have improved access to affordable health services right in their own neighborhood. Congratulations to HELPDevCo for achieving this milestone.”
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is providing $3.1 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. NYSERDA will provide $176,000 in support.
State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “While there may be several factors that contribute to someone experiencing chronic homelessness, entrenched socio-economic disparities is certainly a driver. When completed, Park Place will help to address these disparities in Crown Heights by providing stable, affordable homes alongside the supportive services and facilities individuals and families often need to remain stably housed. This project, along with others supported through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, demonstrates Governor Hochul’s steadfast resolve to ensure all New Yorkers can share in our state’s prosperity.”
The Community Preservation Corporation is providing a $2.5 million SONYMA-insured permanent loan through its partnership with NYCRS.
Senior Vice President and Regional Director of the Community Preservation Corporation Robert Riggs said, “The HELP Park Place project will not only create 43 new affordable homes and provide supportive services to its tenants, its new healthcare center represents an important investment in the health and wellbeing of the entire community. As a non-profit lender dedicated to addressing our nation’s housing crisis, CPC is proud to join our funding partners at NYCRS, with H.E.L.P. Development Corp., our friends at NYS HCR and OTDA, NYSERDA and One Brooklyn Health System on this project that will serve the unique housing needs of the Crown Heights community.”
Image courtesy of HELPDevCo.