Breaking Ground, New York’s largest supportive housing developer, announced today the completion of Edwin’s Place, a new affordable housing development in Brooklyn. Co-developed with the African American Planning Commission Inc. (APPCI), the new residence brings 125 units of affordable and supportive housing to the Brownsville neighborhood in addition to a community space, new retail, and a landscaped courtyard. Breaking Ground and AAPCI celebrate the occasion with partners at New York State Homes & Community Renewal, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Wells Fargo.
Located on Livonia Avenue between Howard and Grafton Streets, the building features 69 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 56 studios. Onsite social services are offered to all residents in the building, funded by a contract between the African American Planning Commission Inc. and New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Edwin’s Place is Breaking Ground’s seventh building in Brooklyn.
88 units at Edwin’s Place are home to formerly homeless individuals and families, including veterans, and 37 serve low-income community residents. The eight-story, 115,500-square foot building features a 24-hour attended lobby, state of the art security systems, a laundry room, fitness room, and a multipurpose room for tenant and community events. There is also 3,000-square feet of retail space along Livonia Avenue occupied by the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Power of Two, which works with young parents to nurture the inherent potential of every child and family.
The $74.7 million project received financing from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, and Wells Fargo, N.A. The Corporation for Supportive housing provided pre-development financing. Additional support was provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Affordable Housing Program, along with a grant from National Grid. Breaking Ground provides onsite property management, and AAPCI provides onsite social and supportive services through a contract funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Upon move-in, each Edwin’s Place resident received an original work of art from a renowned American artist. Inspired by a New York Times story of Breaking Ground resident Buddy Jones who lived in the Prince George building, the artist, who requested to remain anonymous, created 125 unique paintings for incoming Edwin’s Place residents to adorn their new permanent home.
“The current pandemic has made clear that now more than ever, housing is health,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground. “Edwin’s Place represents our commitment to developing safe and dignified homes to help vulnerable New Yorkers escape and avoid homeless. Though this project has been many years in the making, it could not have been completed at a more crucial moment. We are proud to bring this beautiful new residence to the Brownsville community, and join our State and City partners in building a New York where people can lead stable, secure lives in thriving neighborhoods.”
“Edwin’s Place is an important milestone in AAPCI’s development of affordable and supportive housing. The project has allowed us to transition homeless individuals and families out of temporary homeless shelters into quality affordable and supportive housing with continued onsite support services. Tenants will live in an environment with mixed income families where they can resume normal, meaningful, productive lives. We too are proud to join our City, State and development partners in being able to bring this beautiful new residence to the Brownsville community,” said Matthew Okebiyi, Founder & CEO of African American Planning Commission, Inc., the project’s co-developer.
“Our design approach for providing a backdrop for living is universal,” said Grant Marani, Partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. “When designing Edwin’s Place, as with all of our apartment buildings, we listened to our client’s aspirations and looked to the neighborhood for inspiration. Brooklyn’s rich heritage of well-detailed brick apartment buildings provided the context to create permanent, comfortable, dignified, and welcoming ‘homes’ for the Edwin’s Place residential community. We are grateful Breaking Ground and AAPCI entrusted us with this vital and important project. As we look to the future of affordable and supportive housing, we are confident Edwin’s Place will stand as a model for creating opportunity and wellbeing for its residents through sustainable and equitable design.
Designed by the renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Edwin’s Place’s entrance is set back from the street to accommodate the curve of the adjacent elevated New York City Subway tracks. A metal and glass window wall above the entry provides a street scale focal point to the south facade and provides daylight to the elevator lobbies. An accessory community facility space is incorporated into the ground floor to contribute to the developing Livonia Avenue retail corridor. The L-shaped building cradles a sunken garden courtyard that provides access to various outdoor amenities as well as natural lighting to lower level offices for building management and social service staff, a fitness center, a computer lab, and meeting rooms
Edwin's Place continues Breaking Ground's dedication to sustainable and affordable development. The design features a robust yet economical structural system of precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls; continuously insulated walls; triple-glazed windows; a green roof; and a roof-top photovoltaic solar array – importantly all contributing to reduced energy use. The project was constructed to meet Enterprise Green Standards. The general contractor was Mega Contracting Group, Inc.
Breaking Ground is New York’s largest supportive housing provider. With 26 transitional and permanent housing residences under management, primarily in New York City, Breaking Ground provides more than 4,400 units of safe, stable housing for those who need it most. Breaking Ground also runs, under contract with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, street homeless outreach services in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and a portion of Manhattan. Each year, Breaking Ground’s programs and housing resources touch the lives of nearly 9,000 vulnerable New Yorkers.
African American Planning Commission Inc. (AAPCI) is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing homelessness and addressing the related issues of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, substance abuse, shortage of affordable housing, and unemployment in the communities in which we live and serve. Under contract with NYC HRA, AAPCI currently operates two of New York City’s largest transitional (Tier II) domestic violence shelters and is one of the very few organizations that accepts male survivors of domestic violence and their minor children as shelter residents. Under contract with NYC DHS, AAPCI is tasked with providing comprehensive social support services to over 1,100 homeless working adults, Citywide, who currently reside in 9 commercial hotels. AAPCI assists them in locating affordable housing, while helping them maintain their employment status. AAPCI is currently developing Glenmore Manor, its latest permanent and supportive residential building. The new development will feature studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. There will be on site community and commercial retail space on the ground floor. Onsite social services will be offered to all residents in the building, funded by long-term operating contracts. The nine-story, 233-unit development will also be located in Brownsville, Brooklyn.