Photo: Google Maps.

A former Jehovah’s Witnesses hotel in DUMBO will be converted into 491 affordable and supportive apartments.

Supportive housing developer Breaking Ground, which started in 1990 with the mission of transforming old Manhattan hotels into housing for the homless, is behind the redevelopment of the 90 Sands building.

Breaking Ground President and CEO Brenda Rosen said Breaking Ground had been redefining the meaning of ‘home’ for vulnerable New Yorkers for 30 years.

“At 90 Sands, we return to our roots and further our mission to enable people to forever escape the trauma of homelessness,” she said.

“With the  construction closing for 90 Sands, we are on our way to bringing 491 much-needed affordable units to  DUMBO, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.”

The building was previously a residential hotel operated by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In 2018, Breaking Ground purchased the hotel for $170 million.

Of the 491 apartments to be built at 90 Sands, 185 will be affordable to a wide range of New Yorkers, from extremely low-income to moderate-income households. 305 units will be dedicated to those formerly homeless. One unit will be for an onsite building superintendent.

Council Member Stephen Levin said the problems the city had long faced had been even more pronounced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that individuals and families have a place to live and can leave shelter for secure, stable, and affordable housing,” he said.

“Breaking Ground has embarked on this critical work and I look forward to  welcoming our future neighbors to the community.”

Half of the units in the building will be permanently affordable, and the balance will be affordable under a 60-year regulatory agreement.

The 30-story building will feature a 24-hour attended lobby, security camera system throughout,  multipurpose room for community events and meetings, a digital library, a fitness room and a plaza space for public use at the corner of Sands and Jay Streets. Breaking Ground said it would bring in community-serving uses to occupy more than 28,000 square feet of community facility and commercial space on the ground floor and two lower levels.

The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) will provide onsite social services to residents, including case management, primary medical care, mental health services, employment readiness and benefits counseling, among others.

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