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City Plans 274-Unit Affordable Housing Project in Cypress Hills

By Noah Hurowitz | October 31, 2017 4:32pm
 Dubbed Chestnut Commons, a newly announced affordable housing development in Cypress Hills will include 274 below-market units, along with an array of community facilities, officials said.
Dubbed Chestnut Commons, a newly announced affordable housing development in Cypress Hills will include 274 below-market units, along with an array of community facilities, officials said.
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Dattner Architects

CYPRESS HILLS — A new mixed-use affordable housing complex is coming to the neighborhood, with hundreds of apartments and an array of community facilities including a performing arts center, a community college satellite campus, and an incubator for local food entrepreneurs, officials said.

Dubbed “Chestnut Commons,” the complex will have 274 units of below-market-rate housing for families making up to $51,540 per year, with 80 units set aside for families making $25,770 per year or less, Maria Torres-Springer, the commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said Friday.

The project will rise on a vacant lot bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Chestnut Street, and Dinsmore Place that was made available for residential development as part of the East New York Neighborhood Plan, a rezoning was passed in April of 2016 to allow taller, denser development in exchange for affordable-housing concessions from developers, according to its proponents in the City Council and City Hall.

The lot, which has stood empty for decades, was a “cornerstone” of the rezoning plan, Torres-Springer said at a press conference.

“It is one of the last remaining large plots of underused city-owned land across New York City,” she said. “It had become, frankly, a symbol of unfulfilled promises, and a lack of investment in East New York. That ends today.”

The development, which will be 100 percent below-market, will include apartments set aside for homeless families and those considered to be extremely low-, very low-, and low-income, officials said.

The units will include studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, which the development team, a partnership between MHANY Management, the Urban Builders Collaborative, and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, has committed to making the units permanently below market rent, according to Torres-Springer.

Community facilities that are set to be featured in the complex include:

► A satellite campus of Kingsborough Community College offering introductory classes and career-certification training programs.

► A new branch of Brooklyn Federal Credit Union that will offer homeownership workshops, financial education, and rent-payment programs.

► A performing arts center run by ARTS East New York.

► An incubator for food manufacturing run by the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, which will offer industrial kitchen facilities and business assistance to local entrepreneurs launching food-service businesses.

In an effort to increase sustainability, the building will use rooftop solar panels, and energy-efficient appliances, according to a mockup of the project presented Friday.

The project is still awaiting financing, which an HPD spokeswoman said should be completed in the next few months, with construction estimated to begin in 2018, the agency spokeswoman said.