A new mixed-use development in East New York has opened its doors to provide local residents with safe, affordable housing and a community gathering place.
“Not only will Chestnut Commons be a home for many, but it will be a hub of education and opportunity for residents of all ages and backgrounds,” Brooklyn Borough president Antonio Reynoso said .
Chestnut Commons Apartments officially opened its doors on Oct. 4.
The mixed-use development houses 275 affordable apartments, as well as the new Cypress Hills East New York Community Center.
The project was made possible by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation, Housing Development Corporation, Department of City Planning, MHANY Management, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and the Urban Builders Collaborative.
“Chestnut Commons combines all the aspects of healthy living – with homes for the lowest-income New Yorkers and those who formerly experienced homelessness, space for the community and small businesses, and sustainability best practices,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.
The new apartments are affordable to 55 formerly homeless New Yorkers and households between 20% and 80% of the Area Median Income.
“This project delivers on priorities for the community in East New York, including, most importantly, hundreds of affordable homes. I was proud to support this project as borough president with half a million dollars, and I am excited to see it housing our neighbors as the mayor,” Adams said.
A community gathering place
The new Cypress Hills East New York Community center will be located on the main floor of the building.
“Our neighborhood-led, nonprofit organization has long dreamed of having a community center that would provide a one-stop service hub for young people and families seeking support and opportunities to advance educationally and economically,” Michelle Neugebauer, executive director of the CHLDC, said. “We now have that hub at Chestnut Commons!”
The CHLDC will operate the 34,000-square-foot center, which houses a computer lab, gym, fitness studio and a commercial kitchen.
The Center will host programs and provide services for workforce development, construction, IT and culinary workforce training, public benefits enrollment, college success and youth and family services. The community center will also provide small business technical assistance, emergency food distribution and active recreation programs.
CUNY Kingsborough Community College will establish a satellite campus in the center that offers college introductory courses and career track certification training programs.
Housing Plus will provide services to 55 formerly homeless residents at Chestnut Commons.
The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music is offering music instruction to youth in the neighborhood.
The Center will also be the new home to Collective Fare, a Black-owned chef-collaborative, which will be operating a healthy food café.
Additional commercial spaces on the ground floor of the building include the Brooklyn Federal Credit Union and East Brooklyn Mutual Aid, two organizations aimed at improving the financial well-being of clientele.
Certified as a Passive House, the building includes solar panels and a rooftop garden.
An organic composting program has also been installed throughout the building, as well as a biodigester that will compost and generate fertilizer on site for immediate use as well as distribution to local farms.
The Chestnut Commons development was made possible through the East New York Neighborhood Plan, which was released in 2016 as part of the East New York rezoning.
The East New York rezoning initiative unlocked the potential to develop affordable housing where residential development was previously not permitted.
“The development team, including locally-based non-profit organizations with deep ties to the community, has brought to life a dynamic project with a wide array of community services, culturally-rich programming and hundreds of deeply affordable homes that will benefit local residents for generations,” said HPD commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr.
“I thank and congratulate MHANY, Cypress Hills, and all of our partners for breathing new life into this previously vacant site and providing lasting affordability for the neighborhood.”
For additional information, click here.