HPD Selects M/WBE-Led Development Team to Convert Parking Lot into Housing for Low-Income, Homeless Seniors in Central Brooklyn
City-owned parking lot to become affordable housing as a part of the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan City capitalizes on commitment to uplift and build capacity for minority- and women-owned businesses
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced today the selection of Jobe Development, Corp. (JDC), Mega Group Development (MGD), and the Institute for Community Living (ICL) to transform a City-owned parking lot into affordable housing for older New Yorkers in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
The selection furthers the City’s commitments to uplift minority and women-owned businesses in affordable housing development and comes as the Department of City Planning (DCP) conducted a robust series of public engagement events for the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan (AAMUP), including over a dozen public meetings and a housing working group to gather input about community priorities and recommendations. As part of the AAMUP context area, HPD’s selection reflects an early action towards meeting the community’s desire for affordable housing on city-owned lots, especially for low-income older adults.
HPD is moving forward with plans to re-purpose the 17,145 square-foot parking lot at 542 Dean Street into affordable housing after a community visioning process and reviews of multiple proposals. The winning plan, Park Edge, gets its name from the site’s proximity to the highly active playground, basketball court, and ball field next door. As part of the design plans, Park Edge will create a new entrance to the park along with public seating and planted areas.
Today’s selection follows the announcement last week that the City created and preserved nearly 27,000 homes in the 2023 Fiscal Year, including the most homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers the City has ever produced in a fiscal year. The development team, led by JDC, proposes to build housing for older New Yorkers including homes for those who formerly experienced homelessness. Building residents and members of the community will benefit from indoor and outdoor gathering space along with on-site programs for arts and culture, health and wellness, recreation, and education. Individualized case management services will be available to residents with a history of homelessness.
The site is part of HPD’s M/WBE Building Opportunity Initiative to address disparities among minority and women-owned businesses in affordable housing development industry while furthering the agency’s mission to provide safe and affordable housing to all New Yorkers. Following a disparity study of HPD developers, HPD issued two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for which a minority or woman-owned business is required to hold a majority ownership stake in the project. The first RFP was issued in 2015 and included six sites across Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Harlem resulting in nearly 600 homes created by development teams led by M/WBE development firms. The second RFP, issued in 2021, includes two sites in Prospect Heights – 542 Dean Street and 516 Bergen Street.
These RFPs enable M/WBE development firms to build capacity as lead developers in partnership with construction managers, property managers, and service providers who can lend their expertise, resources, and connections. The team selected for the Dean Street site includes a reputable minority-owned affordable housing developer in JDC, a community-based nonprofit service provider in ICL, and an experienced development, general contracting, and construction management firm in MGD.
This builds on HPD’s wider efforts to uplift and build capacity for M/WBEs. Since 2014, HPD has trained over 100 emerging M/WBE developers and not-for-profits on how to win City-owned sites and obtain City financing for affordable housing development. HPD instituted a new policy in 2020 requiring that HPD award RFPs to entities where a M/WBE or non-profit firm have at least a 25% ownership stake. And through the Build Up initiative, developers receiving $2 million or more in City subsidy must set a goal to spend at least 25% of costs on M/WBEs, resulting in over $1.53 billion in spending to date.
As part of DCP’s community engagement process for AAMUP, the Crown Heights and Bedford–Stuyvesant communities highlighted the importance of maximizing 100% affordable housing on public sites. The 542 Dean Street site provides an opportunity to do just that, bringing much needed affordable housing to an amenity rich neighborhood as part of a wider neighborhood plan. The AAMUP process will continue later this summer with the release of the Engagement Report from Council Member Crystal Hudson, DCP, and WXY Studio, which will summarize feedback from the community and distill recommendations from the public thus far.
The development team worked with nArchitects to design the building. Inspired by Brooklyn’s surrounding rowhouses and brownstones, particularly their traditional bay windows, Park Edge provides a pair of windows per unit to give the interior rooms a spacious feel and connect the building’s exterior into the neighborhood fabric. But Park Edge’s most defining feature is an exaggerated ground floor setback that widens an active sidewalk, allows the continuation of neighborhood gathering, and creates a new entrance and visibility to the neighboring Dean Playground.
Founded in 1995 by Kenrick A. Jobe, Sr., Jobe Development Corporation (“JDC”) is an established full-service real estate development firm with expertise in realizing projects from conception and planning through completion. Since its founding, JDC has developed affordable housing on City-owned land in emerging communities like Southeast Queens and Central Brooklyn in low-rise and mixed-use buildings.
Beyond general development and construction, JDC takes pride in successfully establishing trust within the communities in which it develops. The principals take great care to become active and engaging with local stakeholders to better serve all parties involved in the development process. To that end, JDC is committed to continuing its path as a principled and committed developer of affordable housing in New York City.