Developers and New York State agencies have revealed renderings for Alafia, a 27-acre redevelopment project in East New York, Brooklyn. Located along Fountain Avenue near the Betts Creek waterfront, the $1.2 billion multi-phase campus will create 2,400 affordable apartments, a 15,000-square-foot outpatient medical clinic, retail space, multiple parking areas, and a mix of publicly accessible green space and recreational area.
The development team behind the project includes Apex Building Company, L+M Development Partners, Services for the UnderServed, and RiseBoro Community Partnership. The team was awarded the project in 2018 following a request for proposals issued by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Dattner Architects developed the Alafia campus masterplan, also known as the Brooklyn Developmental Center, or BDC. Award-winning design studio SCAPE Landscape Architecture will oversee design of Alafia’s outdoor spaces.
When announced by the New York City Housing Conference in November 2021, construction for this phase was expected to wrap up by spring 2023. The first phase of development broke ground earlier this month and the project team has not announced any updates to the the construction timeline.
“We are not just building housing for the people of East New York, we’re investing in a community so that generations of New Yorkers can flourish and thrive,” said New York governor Kathy Hochul. “By creating 2,400 new quality homes and expanding access to social services and health care, Alafia will make this neighborhood a more affordable, more inclusive, and healthier place to live.”
Alafia phase one includes the construction of a 15-story building with 452 apartments and a six-story building with 124 apartments. Between the two buildings there will be 48 apartments reserved for individuals with mental health challenges who will have access to rental subsidies and services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. An additional 88 supportive homes will be reserved for formerly homeless individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who will benefit from rental subsidies and services funded by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.
The service provider for the 136 supportive homes is Services for the UnderServed.
Tenant amenities will include shared laundry facilities, bike storage, outdoor recreational spaces, and communal lounge areas. Occupants will also have access to free high-speed broadband internet. On-site supportive services will be administered by Services for the UnderServed.
The 15-story building comprises two volumes connected by a common lobby. In addition to apartments, one volume will house a 15,000-square-foot medical clinic operated by One Brooklyn Health. The facility will offer primary care and an array of specialty services to address the needs of the resident population. The second will include a mix of residential area and 7,800 square feet of ground-floor retail space for five businesses.
“This truly transformative investment will put us on the path toward mending the societal cracks in the system to ensure all New Yorkers have a chance to prosper,” Hochul said.
Brooklyn borough president Antonio Reynoso echoed Hochul’s sentiments and applauded the Alafia project team and agency partners.
“Every neighborhood in our borough needs to do its part in lifting up Brooklyn’s social and economic well-being, and I’m so grateful that the Brooklyn Developmental Center property is leading the way,” Reynoso said. “Thank you to Governor Hochul and the many agencies and organizations that banded together to make this possible.”
Both buildings are designed to Passive House standards, a rigorous construction method that reduces carbon emissions and improves a structure’s airtightness. As a result, Passive House structures will require less energy to maintain a comfortable internal temperature, which means lower annual utility bills for tenants. The towers will also feature roof-mounted solar panels and a wastewater heat recovery system.
When ready, the buildings will be eligible for NYSERDA incentives that offset installation costs for the rooftop solar panels. The project is also expected to qualify for Solar and Geothermal Tax Credits that will generate $670,000 in equity.
“This project reflects governor Hochul’s commitment to ensuring undeserved New Yorkers across the state have equitable and affordable access to energy efficient homes as part of her goal to develop 2 million climate friendly homes by 2030,” said NYSERDA CEO Doreen M. Harris. “With the use of geothermal heat pump technology and electricity from renewable solar energy, when completed, the Alafia Development will provide clean and resilient living spaces for residents in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood and help revitalize the community at large.”
State financing for the first phase includes $38.1 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $117.8 million in equity, $174.9 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and $450,000 from NYSERDA.
New York State’s Office of Mental Health will provide $1.2 million annually to fund operating costs of the 48 units designated for individuals with mental health challenges, as well as $430,000 in a program development grant to cover start-up costs. Additional financing is being provided through a mix of private sources.
Construction for all phases is expected to last through 2030.