On April 29th shovels were at the ready and in the hands of St. Nicks Alliances Housing Development team, local elected officials, and representatives from: Citi, Richman Housing, NYS Homes & Community Renewal, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development, and the Grand Street BID. This groundbreaking was to celebrate the construction of what will be an eight-story mixed-use, mixed-income residential building with a retail ground floor that will bring much needed affordable apartments to Williamsburg in 2017.
Among those on hand to acknowledge St. Nicks Alliance’s fifth and largest development project this year were: NYS Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Assembly Woman Maritza Davila, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, Gregory Watson (NYS H&CR), William Yates (Citibank N.A), Artineh Havan (Grand Street BID), and from St. Nicks Alliance: Michael Rochford (Exec. Dir.), Frank Lang (Dir. of Housing), Norman Williams (Dep. Dir. Housing Development), and Vanessa Jones (Real Estate Project Manager). As Developer/Sponsor of this 51 unit mixed-use project, St. Nicks Alliance’s goal is to ease the affordable housing crisis in North Brooklyn in addition to maintaining a commercial foothold on Grand Street with a 10,000 square foot retail space on the ground floor. This $22.5 million project’s 51 apartments will have rents targeted to very low, low, and moderate income households, which are priced from 30%–100% of the Area Median Income. Sustainable design and sustainable affordability are key intents in the development of 695 Grand Street.
“Today’s groundbreaking at 695 Grand Street is more than symbolic. With the construction of this building, St. Nicks is contributing considerably to the appeal of the neighborhood, its demand for commercial space, and to an even greater demand for low-to-middle income housing. For most it can’t be done. But through city and state resources, and in partnership with public and private entities, St. Nicks is setting and entirely new standard for community-conscious development. Today they have proved that not only can it be done, but it can be done right here in Williamsburg,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
Both Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna and Assembly Woman Maritza Davila called attention to the generations of families who have made homes here and stood strong during the neighborhood’s struggles. They both stressed that we need to protect these families who build the neighborhood.
Magnusson Architecture and Planning are the architects of the new building. The building’s design generates visual interest from the street while suggesting the sustainable nature of the building which is centered on energy efficiency and fully integrated ‘green’ features. More features are the 2nd floor landscaped roof deck and spacious community room that will provide ample recreational and play space for the residents.
The site was previously developed by St. Nicks Alliance as the anchor of the Grand Metro Revitalization, a 10,000 square foot development and one of the largest properties in the Grand Street Commercial District. The initial project sparked the revitilazation of Grand Street and led to the formation of the Grand Street BID, now headed by Artineh Havan. “Our community outreach and research has indicated that Grand Street is very much a neighborhood convenience corridor that primarily serves local residents within a half mile. Our goal is to work with St. Nick’s and the rest of the community to find and support a quality commercial tenant who will best serve local neighborhood retail needs,” said Artineh Havan of 695 Grand Street.
Thirty years later the world had changed and the community faces a new challenge; the lack of affordable housing in a hot real estate market. St. Nicks Alliance secured an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the NY State Homes & Community Renewal which will generate equity from Citi through Richman Housing Resources. Citibank will provide a construction and permanent financing along with low interest loans from NYC Housing Preservation & Development.
695 Grand Street is the latest of five development projects currently under construction. These five collectively represent 15 buildings, 289 units, and $86.95M in financing. 695 Grand Street is in the core of NABE 3.0’s target area. NABE 3.0 is a St. Nicks Alliance strategy: to improve school outcomes, create economic opportunity, and prevent homelessness.