Cypress Hills

Senior housing under construction in Cypress Hills

January 8, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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While the city debates the merits of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial affordable housing plan, construction recently got under way for a five-story, 53-unit senior citizen housing complex in Cypress Hills.

Elected officials and community leaders in Cypress Hills gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony in December to mark the start of construction of Cypress Senior Housing Residences at 137 Jamaica Ave.

“It’s a good day whenever we put shovels in the ground for the affordable housing New Yorkers need. This isn’t just a building. It’s going to be a home and a part of this community. It means low-income seniors, so hard-hit by the rising rents in Brooklyn, will be able to stay in their community,” the mayor said in a statement.

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All of the apartments will be affordable to low-income senior households in which the head of household is 62 years of age and older, city officials said.

The Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation is overseeing the project.

The building is being constructed as part of the mayor’s affordable housing plan. That plan has come under fire in recent months due to zoning changes the de Blasio administration is seeking in order to build additional housing units.

But in Cypress Hills, community leaders are smiling at the prospect of senior housing.

“As a neighborhood-governed, not-for-profit community development organization, we couldn’t be prouder to start construction of this long-awaited and deeply affordable housing development for senior citizens in the Cypress Hills/East New York community,” said Harold Green, president of the board of directors of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

The cost of the project is approximately $20.5 million. The development will receive $8.9 million in Section 202 funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development will provide $2.3 million and contribute low-income housing tax credits. The National Equity Fund will act as tax credit investor. The project will also receive $137,526 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“Cypress Senior Housing is exactly the type of development this administration envisioned in recommending much-needed changes to the city’s zoning code – stable and quality homes for seniors in their communities,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Breen.

Local elected officials at the groundbreaking all praised the new construction.

“Ensuring there are affordable housing options in New York is a never ending challenge and this project will expand affordable housing availability for seniors in our community,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

“Finding affordable housing is a difficulty faced by many in our community and throughout the city, but it is especially difficult for our seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income and are forced to choose between paying rent and paying for life-saving medicine,” said Councilmember Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. 

“This project will take an old city water pumping station and turn it into affordable housing for seniors that is consistent with our values in Cypress Hills.” said Assemblymember Erik Martin Dilan

“Not only has Cypress Hills set out to provide much-needed affordable senior housing in the community with its Jamaica Avenue Senior Housing Project, they have gone above and beyond through environmentally conscious and aesthetic design that is tailored to a modern standard of living complete with access to technology and green space,” said state Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan.

The site is designed by Heitler Houstoun Architects and will feature a number of energy-saving systems, including energy-efficient boilers, extra thermal insulation in walls and Energy Star light fixtures. Steven Winter Associates will act as the sustainability consultant on the project.

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