Construction is complete on Vital Brookdale, a 160-unit affordable and supportive housing development at 535 East 98th Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The development team for Vital Brookdale includes Smith & Henzy Affordable Group and The New York Foundling, a non-profit agency founded in 1869 that provides foster care, mental health services, educational programs, and a litany of community support services across the New York City region.
The property is the first of ten affordable housing developments to debut as part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, a $1.4 billion development program that supports investment in new public open spaces, quality affordable housing, economic empowerment, and community-based violence prevention in central Brooklyn.
“Central Brooklyn’s critical health and housing needs have gone unmet for far too long, but in response we are approaching them with bold and innovative solutions,” said New York State governor Kathy Hochul. “Thanks to the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, we are working closely with local partners to create more housing, improve access to health care, and provide the types of supportive services that residents need to thrive.”
The mix of housing components at Vital Brookdale include ten apartments for youths aging out of foster care, 26 apartments for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and 124 affordable housing units. The majority of the affordable units will be reserved for individuals and households earning at or below 60 percent area median income (AMI) with a portion set aside for residents at 80 percent AMI.
Apartment layouts range from studios up to three-bedroom floor plans.
Outdoor amenity spaces include a second-floor terrace and landscaped front and rear courtyards with dog runs, play areas for children, and outdoor seating. Occupants will also have access to a multi-purpose community room, a game room, a library with co-working spaces, a fitness room, a laundry room, cold storage lockers, package rooms, and a bike storage room. Tenants will have access to free building-wide internet.
“Affordable housing is becoming increasingly hard to find in New York City, harming neighborhoods like Brownsville that have been historically impacted by disinvestment and marginalization,” said US senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This is an important first step in addressing the major housing issue in our state and I want to thank governor Hochul and the Vital Brooklyn Initiative for investing resources into creating affordable homes in neighborhoods like Brownsville.”
Designed by Dattner Architects, Vital Brookdale was constructed in line with Passive House standards to reduce carbon emissions and maximize building-wide energy efficiency. Sustainable design features include a 100kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system, high-efficiency mechanical systems, LED lighting throughout the property, and low-flow water fixtures. The building also features above-grade insulation technology to reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable interior temperature year round.
“NYSERDA congratulates the Vital Brookdale team as they cut the ribbon on this affordable housing complex that demonstrates a commitment to providing exceptional Passive House building performance to ensure the comfort and safety of Central Brooklyn’s residents,” said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) president and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “From clean renewable solar energy collected on the rooftop to numerous energy-efficient interior and exterior features, this project is a model for sustainable development and supports governor Hochul’s goal to develop 2 million climate friendly homes by 2030.”
State financing for Vital Brookdale includes $13.9 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $32.8 million in equity, and an additional $30.4 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. NYSERDA’s Multifamily New Construction Program will provide $300,000 in support along with more than $161,000 in NY Sun incentives. The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities will provide funding for supportive services and rental subsidies for 26 supportive units and the New York State Office of Mental Health will provide funding for supportive services and rental subsidies for ten supportive units.
A housing lottery for available units launched February 2022.