New York City officials have announced the selection of eight Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) teams to lead the construction of six new 100 percent affordable housing developments on vacant city-owned land. The developments will include about 440 homes for seniors and other New Yorkers with a variety of income levels, including extremely-low income and formerly homeless households, the city said in a news release.
The sites are located in the Bronx’s Melrose and Crotona Park East sections, Brooklyn’s East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, and Central Harlem.
Aimed at increasing contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms in city housing and economic development projects, HPD (Housing Preservation and Development) issued a Request for Qualifications to create a pre-qualified list of M/WBE developers. The development of these properties was specifically restricted to respondents from that list through a Request for Proposals.
In addition to hundreds of homes, these developments will incorporate community space for a green market, a high school capacity building program for STEM students, a tech center and an LGBT community center.
With the creation of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE’s, the city made a commitment to award at least 30 percent of the value of City contracts to M/WBE’s by 2021 and to double the number of certified M/WBE firms by 2019. The new office is working toward these goals by helping city agencies build and improve their M/WBE programs, increasing access to capital for M/WBEs, capping interest rates at three percent on city-financed loans, providing resources for additional capacity-building and technical assistance programs, and streamlining the M/WBE certification process.
A series of initiatives specifically to increase the role of M/WBEs in city housing and economic development projects includes the establishment of a $10 million predevelopment loan fund to help emerging firms secure financing to purchase land and get projects underway, and an additional $10 million fund to help those firms secure the bonds they need in order to qualify for city business.
Winning proposals in Brooklyn:
1921 Atlantic Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be developed by a team of M/WBE firms, Dabar Development Partners, LLC and Thorobird. The 25,762 sq. ft. site will be transformed into a mixed-use project with 183 affordable homes for seniors, and low- and moderate-income households. The project will feature a community facility operated by Oko Farms and NHS. A new fresh food grocery store will be created.
1510-1524 Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant will be developed by MacQuesten Construction Management. Partnering with the not-for-profit East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation, the M/WBE will create 59 affordable homes for extremely-low income individuals on the 20,059 sq. ft. parcel.
461 Alabama Ave. in East New York will be developed by CB Emmanuel Realty. In partnership with the non-for-profit Services for Underserved, the M/WBE firm will transform the 10,000 sq. ft. lot into a supportive housing development, with 55 homes for formerly homeless and low-income households. The nonprofit will provide onsite supportive services for the homeless. The building will feature a recreation room, a landscaped yard and roof for resident use.
Winning proposals in the Bronx:
1490 Southern Blvd. Crotona Park East will be developed by Type A Real Estate Advisors, LLC, into a 95-unit senior housing development, affordable to senior households with incomes between $25,400 and $38,100. Working with the LGBT Network and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging, the project will offer support services for senior residents and a community space with programing for the LGBT community of all ages.
359 East 157th St. in Melrose will be developed by Infinite Horizons, LLC. With MBD Community Housing Corp., the M/WBE firm will build 20 affordable homes on the 4,700 square-foot parcel. The homes will be affordable to individuals with incomes between $50,750 and $63,500, and families with incomes between $65,250 and $81,600. The development will feature a green roof and solar panels.
Winning proposal in Manhattan:
263-267 W. 126th St. in Harlem will be developed by M/WBE firms Lemor Realty Corporation and Apex Building Group. The companies will build a passive-house development with 29 affordable homes on the 8,492 sq. ft. property. The project will house a restaurant and space for the tech incubator company Silicon Harlem, which offers the Apps Youth Leadership Academy, a seven-week course for high school students focused STEM education and enrichment.
“This is the first group of developers to take advantage of the city’s expanded resources for M/WBEs through our new innovative initiative, and to come out of our training programs with actual contracts for affordable housing projects,” said Jonnel Doris, director of the mayor’s M/WBE office. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to do business with these entrepreneurs. It’s a big day for the city, making clear that an investment in M/WBEs is a benefit to all New Yorkers.”
“This administration is deeply committed to expanding the pool of developers helping us create and preserve affordable housing,” HPD commissioner Vicki Been said in a statement. “The six M/WBE teams selected to develop these city-owned sites reflect the diversity of our great city and its neighborhoods.
The winning developments will create 440 affordable apartments, including supportive housing, senior housing, and housing for the homeless in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.