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Greenpoint Hospital: Selecting the Best Developer for Key Housing Site

September 25, 2018

Important Greenpoint Hospital Site Awarded to St. Nick’s Alliance

Local mission-driven developer – and ANHD member – St. Nick’s Alliance has been selected by the City to build affordable housing on the critical Greenpoint Hospital site. This selection marks an important victory for the Brooklyn community as the St. Nick’s Alliance plan will create the highest level of public benefit on the site with 512 units of new affordable housing for extremely low- and low-income households and a new building for the existing homeless shelter to serve 200 New Yorkers. This means units will be made available to households earning an income that is below 80% of the area median income or below 75,000 for a family of three. Open space, retail shops and a medical facility will also be developed on the 3.4-acre site.

ANHD congratulates St. Nicks Alliance and their development partners Hudson Companies and Project Renewal; and we applaud Mayor de Blasio and the Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Maria Torres- Springer, for selecting the best developer for this project. This selection showcases their commitment to the needs of the Williamsburg Community. 

This victory was a long time coming and the result of a decades-long community fight. Greenpoint Hospital opened its doors in 1915 to the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Communities. By 1982, the hospital had fallen into severe disrepair and the building was shuttered, an abandoned behemoth that blighted the community. The site became the focus of ongoing community activism when Mayor Koch devised a plan to convert the old hospital building into a 1,100 bed homeless shelter. The community rallied to demand that the building be turned into the affordable housing that the community desperately needed, and as a result, a smaller 200 bed shelter was built, with the promise of the bulk of the site being used for affordable housing.

The community wanted this important and contentious site to be developed with the greatest level of public benefit, and they wanted leading local mission-driven developer, St. Nicks Alliance to do it. An earlier misfire, in which the site was awarded to an outside for-profit entity, created a missed opportunity for the City to maximize public benefit in the community through the development of permanent and deeply affordable housing. Because of procedural problems and strong efforts from the community, that decision was later rescinded and a new process commenced that now awarded the site to St. Nick’s Alliance.

This is what community based mission-driven developers (community development corporations or CDCs) do; they work hand-in-hand with the local community to build neighborhood civic infrastructure and create local consensus to turn a long-term problem like the abandoned hospital site into an opportunity. And because they don’t have a profit-driven bottom line, their only bottom line is a maximum benefit for the neighborhood in the form of a maximum number of affordable units with the deepest levels of affordability. They are able to guarantee that the affordable units will never be sold back into a speculative private market.

Congratulations to St. Nick’s Alliance and to the Williamsburg community!

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