Sunset Park

Affordable housing coming to Sunset Park

Following 18 months of community engagement, the mixed-use building will provide much-needed housing, 12,000 square feet of neighborhood retail space, an easement for a new ADA accessible entrance to the 25th Street subway station, and additional community benefits.

November 12, 2020 Laurance Fauconnet

ByThere will be a public hearing tonight, November, 12, at 6:00 p.m. to hear the application of this new mixed-use housing development by 747 4th Avenue LLC. Register here.

There will be a community board meeting on November 18 at 6:00 p.m. in which the application will be discussed. Register here

Sunset Park, Brooklyn – A new mixed-use housing development, announced earlier today by Brooklyn-based development firm Totem, will bring approximately 135 one- to three-bedroom units to the Sunset Park community, which has faced a severe housing shortage for decades. Nearly 35 units will be permanently affordable through New York City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Program Option 1, representing a close to 40 percent increase in new affordable housing created in the community since 2005.

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The project follows 18 months of community engagement, where Totem held more than 50 conversations with local leaders, residents and stakeholders to hear the most pressing concerns in the community. As a result of those conversations, the development team has made a number of significant improvements to the plan, from eliminating studio apartments in order to create family-sized units, to the inclusion of green infrastructure like green roofs and bioswales in the building, to going above and beyond the City’s housing program to offer units at deeply affordable income levels starting at approximately $500 per month for individuals making between $30,000 – $60,000 per year.

“Sunset Park is facing an unprecedented housing crisis, following decades of little to no housing development, that is only going to worsen due to the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and families. This project presents an opportunity to transform a fast food parking lot on top of a subway station into homes for local residents at a variety of income levels quickly and without any subsidies from City government, which is now facing severe financial constraints because of the pandemic,” said Vivian Liao, Principal and Co-Founder of Totem.

Sunset Park’s housing issues can be traced back decades but have been recently exacerbated due to an increased population, rampant threats of gentrification and the deep impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to local housing non-profit Fifth Avenue Committee’s new report 2020 Sunset Park Housing Conditions, the Community Board 7 area, which includes Sunset Park, grew by nearly 18,000 residents between 2010 and 2018, but only 1,000 new housing units have come online since 2014. In fact, the total number of housing in the community dropped by more than 3,000 units, and more than 50% of low-income households are severely rent-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income towards rent.

“For many decades, little to no investment in new housing development occurred in Sunset Park, even while the population of the neighborhood continued to swell. We need to broaden our perspective and promote strategies that contribute to the creation of truly and permanently affordable housing without displacing current residents. Mandatory Inclusionary Housing in the right locations is a part of that strategy. This project does just that. The families that need affordable housing can’t wait,” said Jay Marcus, Director of Real Estate of Fifth Avenue Committee.

The proposed 14-story building would be built at 737 4th Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets. Currently, the site is occupied by a Dunkin’ Donuts and a parking lot, thus new construction would not displace any current residents.

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Neighborhood Aerial. Credit: Dencityworks | Architecture

Affordable Housing

Totem is delivering affordability beyond City requirements using an approach based on the needs of Sunset Park residents. For the affordable units, Totem is seeking to target lower area median income (AMI) bands ranging from 30% to 60% of AMI. At 30% AMI, the annual income of a family of four is roughly $34,110 a year. Through a partnership with Fifth Avenue Committee, neighborhood residents will have assistance navigating the housing lottery process and preparing for these opportunities.

Jobs

The project will create permanent jobs and Totem is committed to local hiring. The active ground floor includes approximately 12,000 square feet for neighborhood retail, and through a partnership with 32BJ SEIU, the project will create 10 permanent jobs to operate the building. In addition, the project will create up to 150 additional construction jobs.

Community Infrastructure

Several community infrastructure improvements will be delivered with the project, including an easement for the MTA to construct an elevator and stairwell at the base of the building, providing access to the 25th Street subway train and making the subway station ADA accessible. In addition, the project will include new trees, shrubbery, sidewalk beautification, pedestrian safety improvements, and new wayfinding and signage at the 25th Street subway station.

Designed as a green building, the project will include a green roof, rain garden and bioswales, and the project will use sustainable materials throughout the building. Additional underground parking beyond what is required by the City will be provided to offset parking spots lost to the 4th Avenue bike lane. Free public bike storage will also be available to the community through a partnership with Brooklyn-based firm, Oonee.

Photos of the building can be found here.

Learn more about Totem here


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