Construction of the highly anticipated, $81 million affordable housing complex in central Brooklyn is now complete.

The seven-story Vital Brookdale Complex is located at 535 E. 98th St., in the Chandler-Waterman’s district in Brownsville.

“The Vital Brookdale development represents the first piece in a series of efforts that will not only bring homes to our most vulnerable Brooklynites, but revitalize the communities they belong to,” Representative Yvette Clarke said.

Vital Brookdale. Photo: Provided/ NYC Housing Connects.
Vital Brookdale. Photo: Provided/ NYC Housing Connects.

Combating Economic Disparities

This region of central Brooklyn has long suffered from disinvestment and marginalization. Many residents in the area are impacted by wide economic disparities due to unemployment, poverty and inadequate access to healthcare.

In 2017, the New York state governor, Kathy Hochul launched the Vital Brooklyn Initiative. The $1.4 billion initiative aims to address the chronic disparities by constructing 4,000 affordable homes in 10 housing complexes.

“Central Brooklyn’s critical health and housing needs have gone unmet for far too long, but in response we are approaching them with bold and innovative solutions,” Hochul said.

“Thanks to the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, we are working closely with local partners to create more housing, improve access to health care, and provide the types of supportive services that residents need to thrive.”

The Vital Brookdale Complex is the first of 10 projects to reach construction completion. Currently, there are five other housing projects in construction, with the remainder still in the planning phase.

“The only way to build our way out of the housing crisis is the right way: with a commitment to affordability, to supportive services, and to developments that recognize the distinct needs of the people who call these apartments home,” Brooklyn Borough president Antonio Reynoso said.

A Glance Inside the Newly Constructed Complex

The new complex includes 160 affordable and supportive apartments and a 25,000-square-foot community space.

Of the 160 units, 126 are affordable housing units. To ensure residents are truly in need of affordable housing, 76% of units are being reserved for households earning below 60% of the Area Median Income. The remaining 26% are reserved for those below 80% AMI.

Vital Brookdale. Photo: Provided/ NYC Housing Connects.
Vital Brookdale. Photo: Provided/ NYC Housing Connects.

The building will include 36 units for supportive housing. Ten of which are specified for youth that are aging out of the foster care system.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of housing, as well as funding for on-site services for young people aging out of foster care,” Office for Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said.

Poole’s office will support the units through participation in the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

“Having a home provides a sense of security and empowerment that is essential for transitioning to a new, exciting phase in their lives. It is equally important to have access to vital programs as they look toward a brighter future,” Poole said.

The other 26 units are earmarked for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. They will be supported by the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. On-site services provided by the New York Foundling.

“We see Vital Brookdale as one example of many more to come that demonstrates the mutual good that stems from providing opportunities for our neighbors to reach their full potential. It’s been a true joy to watch our residents’ confidence grow as a result of having the resources necessary to succeed on their paths to independence,” the New York Foundling president and CEO Melanie Hartzog said.

Source: The New York Foundling

A health-focused community space

The complex’s community space offers several critical services and programs. These include a medical clinic run by the Brooklyn Hospital, a fresh food and a job training program.

The interior of the community space also features:

  • A multipurpose community room
  • A game room
  • A library
  • A fitness center
  • Laundry and storage facilities

The exterior of the building boasts a second-floor terrace with landscaped courtyards that offer sitting and passive recreational space.

Residents will also have access to a playground, a dog run and free internet access throughout the building.

“With wireless internet for all, green spaces, and amenities like a fitness room, laundry facility, and bike storage, Vital Brookdale is helping us raise the standard for affordable living in Brownsville and across Brooklyn,” Reynoso said.

Building Specs

Energy efficiency was top of mind in the construction process. There is a 100kW solar photovoltaic system mounted on the roof, LED lighting throughout the interior, high-performance mechanical systems and low-flow water fixtures.

The development team, which includes MDG Design + Construction, Smith & Henzy Affordable Group and The New York Foundling, are pursuing Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) + 2015 certification.

The complex has received support from numerous areas to make the project a reality. Funding streams include:

  • $13.9 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds
  • $32.8 million generated from federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
  • $30.4 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal
  • $300,000 from NYSERDA’s Multifamily New Construction Program
  • $161,000 in NY Sun incentives

“Vital Brookdale is the latest example of my administration’s commitment to boosting the supply of quality of affordable homes for all New Yorkers,” Hochul said.

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  1. This is like dropping a rose in a field of 💩💩💩💩. I wish the new tents the best though. I hope it works out and they take good care of this beautiful new place….It is in a very rough neighborhood.

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