Governor Cuomo Unveils Plans for New Affordable Housing Development in East Flatbush As Part of $1.4 Billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the latest winning proposal under the Vital Brooklyn initiative, Utica Crescent, which will construct 322 affordable and supportive apartments in Central Brooklyn. The $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative targets and invests 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 pandemic has further exposed the inequalities that exist in far too many of our communities and at the same time it’s shown how important it is for New Yorkers to have access to safe and affordable housing,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are facing unprecedented challenges, but we are in this together – and that’s why the State is continuing to step up and help those who need it most by moving forward with projects like Utica Crescent, which will increase affordable housing opportunities for hundreds of New Yorkers.”

The building will have a total of 322 apartments which will be made affordable to a range of household incomes. Thirty-four of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless individuals and families, and 96 of the units will be set aside for seniors. Utica Crescent is a joint venture by Monadnock Development LLC and CB-Emmanuel Realty LLC. Catholic Charities will provide on-site supportive services to residents as well as the broader community.

The development will be constructed on a parking lot currently owned by One Brooklyn Health System (OBHS) that is adjacent to Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. The winning proposal includes plans for a new dialysis center operated by OBHS to replace their current smaller dialysis center on the Kingsbrook Jewish campus. The building will also include a large full-service grocery store as the anchor commercial tenant, and smaller ground floor storefronts that will accommodate local businesses. In addition, an underground parking garage with 300 parking spaces will be provided for Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center employees that currently park at the development site.

On-site amenities for residents will include laundry rooms, exercise and activity rooms, bicycle storage, and multipurpose community rooms. Community Supported Agriculture services will be located on-site.

In addition, the development features a host of energy efficiency strategies that contribute to community and individual health, including green roofs, an Enterprise Green Communities Certification, and meeting the standards of the ENERGY STAR multifamily high-rise program to satisfy Climate Bond Initiative requirements. Residents and visitors will also be provided free Wi-Fi, which is a hallmark of the Vital Brooklyn initiative’s commitment to increasing internet access across Central Brooklyn.

Utica Crescent will also provide approximately 30,000 square feet of open space that includes a large interior courtyard with resident gardens, timber bleachers, walking paths, and several outdoor activity areas. Space for both active and passive recreation such as games, walking, sitting and picnicking, will allow the diverse resident populations to enjoy the same space. Landscaping along the street level will include tree beds, seating, bicycle racks, and outdoor bicycle storage for grocery store customers.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The economic and health disparities that have afflicted these neighborhoods and losses from COVID-19 are incomprehensible, but we will address these inequities by moving forward with a powerful vision for a vital and renewed Central Brooklyn. Governor Cuomo’s Vital Brooklyn initiative offers concrete solutions, such as Utica Crescent, that we know are already helping to break down barriers to quality affordable housing and create stronger, more sustainable communities for generations to come. This is how New York continues to lead in the fight for equality, health, decent housing, and opportunity.”

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “Vibrant, diverse neighborhoods are essential to ensure New York emerges from the financial consequences of the pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever.  This development will not only create much-needed new homes but also retail, health care and job opportunities for neighborhood residents.  When Governor Cuomo says we are building back better, and more equitably, this project proves his point.”

Senator Zellnor Myrie said, “The need for affordable housing and easily-accessible health care is no secret to the residents in Brooklyn’s most vulnerable communities. The Utica Crescent project is a creative, modern, energy-efficient and health-oriented development that will provide generations of residents with the housing and community services that have been severely lacking in this neighborhood for far too long. My thanks to Governor Cuomo, the staff at HCR and the development team for their partnership.

Assembly Member Nick Perry said, “The Vital Brooklyn initiative continues to be a source of hope for our community at a time when it is needed most. The impact of COVID has laid bare the need for long-term solutions to housing and health care disparities that have lingered for far too long in Brooklyn. Governor Cuomo has shown he is willing to listen to our residents and other stakeholders in order to implement solutions that address many of our concerns. On behalf of those in Central Brooklyn, I want to thank the Governor and Commissioner Visnauskas for helping to bring this much-needed development to life.”

LaRay Brown, President and CEO of One Brooklyn Health System, said, “As we, at One Brooklyn Health System (OBHS), work towards transforming our services so that we can support Central Brooklyn residents’ attainment of their full health potential, we recognize the inextricable link between individual and community-level health and housing. The strategy for addressing health inequity must include the creation of affordable, stable and safe housing.  OBHS is proud to contribute to the Governor’s vision and to be part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative.”

  1. Chris Bramwell, Jr. Managing Partner at CB Emmanuel, said,“CB Emmanuel is thrilled to have been awarded Site K as part of the Utica Crescent team.  We acknowledge the Governor’s consistency in bolstering MBE participation in affordable housing development and we look forward to delivering a project for and serving this historically vibrant and diverse community and the borough of Brooklyn at-large.”   

Nicholas Lembo, Chairman, Monadnock Development & Monadnock Construction, said, “Monadnock is beyond excited to be a part of the team selected to develop affordable housing at this Central Brooklyn site, adjacent to the venerable Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.  Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas and One Brooklyn Health System CEO Laray Brown for their confidence in our ability to provide high quality homes for the people who need them most.”  

Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, President and CEO, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and affiliate agencies, said, “Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is delighted to be working with CB Emmanuel, Monadnock and their team on this exciting opportunity.  Catholic Charities is the leading developer of affordable housing in Brooklyn and Queens, and we look forward to being of greater service to the community of East Flatbush, Brooklyn.” 

Revitalizing Central Brooklyn

Central Brooklyn is one of the most disadvantaged areas in all of New York State. Residents experience measurably higher rates of health problems; limited access to healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity; and high rates of violence and crime. Central Brooklyn is also affected by wide economic disparities due to unemployment, high poverty levels, and inadequate access to high quality health care.

Today’s announcement adds to six winning proposals previously announced by the Governor in November 2018, December 2019 and January 2020. Together, these developments will advance the Vital Brooklyn initiative’s commitment to creating 4,000 affordable homes in Central Brooklyn. Each of the winning proposals incorporates social, medical, and community services; recreational and educational opportunities; and apartments and supportive services for the developmentally disabled, individuals aging out of foster care, and chronically homeless families.

About the Vital Brooklyn Initiative

The Governor launched the Vital Brooklyn Initiative in spring 2017 in order to address the range of disparities that affect residents of Brooklyn and to create a new model for community development and wellness in Brooklyn’s most vulnerable communities.

The Governor then charged each Assembly Member in Central Brooklyn with convening a Community Advisory Council consisting of community leaders, local experts, advocates, and other stakeholders to consider the unique needs and opportunities in their districts, and to develop long-term solutions. State Senators representing parts of Central Brooklyn were also actively engaged in the process. A total of 25 community meetings brought together nearly 100 key community stakeholders.