WILLIAMSBURG — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday night that the city will move ahead with long-stalled plans to redevelop the neglected Greenpoint Hospital into affordable housing.
The city is now accepting proposals to transform the 146,100-square-foot complex — which includes vacant land and three buildings — into supportive and affordable apartments, along with green and commercial space, de Blasio said at a town hall meeting in Williamsburg.
"That site went into limbo in 1983 and it's still that way today. It makes no sense in a community desperate for affordable housing that that prime site has been sitting here all this time," he said. "I'm here to make a formal announcement. We will be moving to create 500 affordable apartments and supportive housing apartments."
The site includes structures built between 1915 and 1930, one of which is currently being used as a 200-bed shelter. Another is a derelict nurse's quarters that's been abandoned for years and recently reclaimed by squatters.
Plans for the site have to include the construction of a new 200-bed shelter and must consider the historic character of the site, repurpose materials and historic facades, according to the city's request. However, the city won't require the developer to preserve the buildings, if they rationalize demolition of one or more of the structures.
Neighborhood residents have been pushing for affordable housing at the Greenpoint Hospital site since it closed in the 1980s.
Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, redevelopment plans came to a halt in 2012 when the developer selected by the city following a request for proposals was indicted on bribery charges. That infuriated locals who'd been pushing for the St. Nicks Alliance, a local affordable housing developer that already run supportive housing at other parts of the Greenpoint Hospital complex, to develop the property.
When de Blasio took office in 2013, promising to add and preserve 200,000 more units affordable housing, North Brooklyn residents said they expected the Greenpoint Hospital redevelopment plan a top priority.
They expected the city to finally release a request for proposals in the winter of 2016, when they were suddenly told the request was being put off indefinitely because the Department of Homeless Services was figuring out where to relocate a laundry facility.
The city blew through another deadline in early 2017, when residents once again waited in vain for the city to begin seeking proposals.
"It's really criminal that four years of his term, it's still sitting there," said Jan Peterson, a member of Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation, a neighborhood coalition of different organizations and residents who've been pushing for affordable housing at the site.