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Long-Delayed Senior Housing Breaks Ground in Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 10, 2013 4:43pm
 The Brielle, an affordable assisted living residence, broke ground after over a decade of delays.
The Brielle Groundbreaking
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WILLOWBROOK — A senior housing complex in Sea View Hospital that had been stalled for over a decade broke ground on Monday after the project secured the funds to start construction.

The Brielle, sponsored by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, will be a 188-bed, affordable assisted living and memory care residence for seniors in the borough.

William Rapfogel, CEO and executive director of the Met Council, said the residency will help seniors who don’t have enough money to afford private care, but who don’t qualify for other senior housing.

“This is the alternative,” Rapfogel said. “It’s middle class, it’s lower-middle class, it’s a real mix.”

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty was given $36 million in financing from the city's Economic Development Corporation and $4.8 million from the borough president's office to start construction on The Brielle.

Council members James Oddo and Dominic Recchia, Borough President James Molinaro and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were on hand to celebrate the start of the long delayed-project.

“People on Staten Island don't ever want to leave Staten Island for any reason ever, for anything, nonetheless to go live somewhere else in their golden years,” Quinn said. “The people that make the neighborhoods and boroughs great should have the ability to stay in those boroughs with dignity and with respect.”

Oddo said with the population of seniors in America and the borough expected to surge by 2030, facilities like The Brielle will become increasingly important to have in Staten Island.

“On Staten Island, by 2030, we will have doubled, since the year 2000, our 65-and-older population,” he said. “There is a need for senior housing.”

The project was delayed for over a decade because of a myriad of obstacles, including a long U.L.U.R.P process and trouble securing funding after the economic crisis, Rapfogel said.

The project was given the green light in 2009, and the Met Council just needed the funding to start on the 103,000 square-foot residency.

The building is being built adjacent to the Met Council’s current Park Lane senior center in Sea View, and is expected to be open in 2015.