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Affordable Units at Rheingold Brewery Site to Start Being Built This Summer

By Serena Dai | February 19, 2015 5:06pm | Updated on February 20, 2015 4:24pm
 Construction on the first properties for the development on the former Rheingold Brewery site will begin this summer.
Construction on the first properties for the development on the former Rheingold Brewery site will begin this summer.
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BUSHWICK — Construction of a development on the former Rheingold Brewery site is set to start this summer, the developer said, and it will include the first affordable units.

Demolition of an existing warehouse on the site will start next month and hopefully be completed within eight weeks, Aaron Klein of Read Property Group told neighbors Wednesday.

Klein said the first building at 123 Melrose St., which will be 80 feet tall and house 385 units, should be finished by late 2016 or early 2017. As part of the rezoning deal, 20 percent of the units will be set aside for people earning 60 percent of the area median income, or $50,340 for a family of four.

In addition to residential units, the property will feature retail on Evergreen Avenue, 71 parking spaces and an outdoor pool.

The total project initially called for a total of 977 apartment units on the land.

It was still unclear whether a new investor in the property, the Rabsky Group, also planned to build affordable housing, Klein said.

Meanwhile, affordable senior housing near the property does not yet have a construction timeline, said Rob Solano, executive director for Churches United for Fair Housing, a nonprofit partly in charge of the project.

Read Property Group gifted several lots to CUFFH and nonprofit Los Sures as part of the rezoning agreement reached with City Council.

The property could eventually house just under 90 one-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors, Solano said.

Currently, CUFFH is looking for funding to actually build the housing, Solano said.

"The issue is that there’s no traditional senior housing funding from the federal government," he said. "We will have to get very creative on how we get funding."

CUFFH and Los Sures have given themselves four years to secure funding to build  affordable housing for seniors. After that, they may aim to build regular affordable housing on the property.

There is a restriction on the land so that it can't become market-rate housing, Solano said.

The nonprofit plans to reach out to more local elected officials to help get funding for the project so that construction can start "as soon as possible," he said.

It was not immediately clear how much money would be needed.

"The only thing that is holding it up is funding," he said. "We knew it wouldn't be easy."