New York, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced today the selection of Jobe Development, Corp. (JDC), Mega Group Development (MGD), and the Institute for Community Living (ICL) to transform a City-owned parking lot into affordable housing for older New Yorkers in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
The selection furthers the City’s commitments to uplift minority and women-owned businesses in affordable housing development and comes as the Department of City Planning (DCP) conducted a robust series of public engagement events for the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan (AAMUP), including over a dozen public meetings and a housing working group to gather input about community priorities and recommendations. As part of the AAMUP context area, HPD’s selection reflects an early action towards meeting the community’s desire for affordable housing on city-owned lots, especially for low-income older adults.
“The selection of Jobe, MegaGroup, and ICL for the Dean Street project advances several equity goals for the City at once,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “We have a major community-led rezoning that will create a more vibrant mixed-use corridor, and an MWBE consortium building affordable housing on a vacant lot. This is a celebratory moment, and after the announcement of our historic housing production numbers, this shows that we’re continuing on the path to an ever-more-affordable New York City.”
“The City of New York is putting the needs of New Yorkers first. We’re putting the needs of seniors, families, and working people before parking and we’re putting the needs of minority and women owned businesses front and center. That’s especially true today when we’re announcing the M/WBE-led development team who will convert this underused parking lot into homes for low-income, homeless seniors in Central Brooklyn,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Uplifting minority- and women-owned development teams is one of the most meaningful ways we can build wealth in black and brown communities while creating the housing New York City so desperately needs.”
“Jobe Development is exceptionally pleased to be partnering with the Mega Group, Institute for Community Living, and nArchitects on Park Edge—a site envisioned and designed to provide senior housing with health and wellness as its guiding principle,” said Olga Jobe, Principle at Jobe Development Corp. “Jobe Development was one of the first minority developers to partner with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Enterprise Foundation in the early 1990s. Those development opportunities have helped to foster Jobe Development's growth from a small contractor, building single-family homes on private sites, to a developer working on multiphase projects in Southeast Queens and Central Brooklyn. We are extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to develop Park Edge with our partners.”
“Park Edge will enable ICL to expand our whole health approach to housing,” said Jody Rudin, President and CEO at the Institute for Community Living. “The Institute for Community Living will offer robust wellness programs, including exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, occupational therapy, and social connection, that have been proven to help build stability, facilitate healthy living, and support people in getting better. We are excited to partner with Jobe Development and Mega Development to provide these homes for older adults perfectly situated near a park and public transportation.”
“The Mega Group is extremely proud to continue building upon its decades-long partnership with Jobe Development Corp. and Institute for Community Living to expand the availability of affordable housing, social services and health supports for low-income seniors,” said Hercules Argyriou, Vice President at Mega Contracting Inc. “The need for affordable senior housing continues to grow as rising costs, the City’s housing shortage and the growth of our senior population create a perfect storm for housing instability. For over thirty years, Mega has continued its commitment to building high-quality, affordable housing developments that put mental and physical health supports at the center of apartment living. Responding to the Dean and Bergen Community Vision Report, Park Edge will bring thoughtfully designed apartment homes connected to health and wellness amenities, social services, community facilities and open recreational space. We look forward to continuing our commitment to serve New York City’s neighborhoods by delivering this unique and responsive community asset.”
“The selection of JDC, MGD, and ICL to transform this site into much-needed affordable housing is an important step towards meeting local and citywide housing goals, while advancing the priorities of the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan,” said Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick. “By prioritizing minority- and women-owned businesses, affordable housing, open space, and more, we’re delivering the results that Brooklynites have asked for through the AAMUP engagement process.”
“Today’s announcement is a tangible and important step that brings our community one step closer to realizing an important goal for our city,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “Slated to serve as permanent housing for low-income and unhoused older adults, the project at 542 Dean Street has been integral to the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan (AAMUP), wherein our neighbors made it abundantly clear that deeply affordable permanent housing is a necessity to guarantee our community’s long-term vitality and wellbeing. I am excited to see this development move forward and proud that our efforts to make sure AAMUP was truly responsive to community needs helped move this project forward.”
“Today’s announcement marks an important step towards delivering quality affordable housing for older adults in the Prospect Heights community, while simultaneously advancing the City’s goals of expanding MWBE participation at every stage of affordable housing development,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “We look forward to working with the teams at JDC, MGD, and ICL on this development to further meet the housing needs of New Yorkers.”
HPD is moving forward with plans to re-purpose the 17,145 square-foot parking lot at 542 Dean Street into affordable housing after a community visioning process and reviews of multiple proposals. The winning plan, Park Edge, gets its name from the site’s proximity to the highly active playground, basketball court, and ball field next door. As part of the design plans, Park Edge will create a new entrance to the park along with public seating and planted areas.
Today’s selection follows the announcement last week that the City created and preserved nearly 27,000 homes in the 2023 Fiscal Year, including the most homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers the City has ever produced in a fiscal year. The development team, led by JDC, proposes to build housing for older New Yorkers including homes for those who formerly experienced homelessness. Building residents and members of the community will benefit from indoor and outdoor gathering space along with on-site programs for arts and culture, health and wellness, recreation, and education. Individualized case management services will be available to residents with a history of homelessness.
The site is part of HPD’s M/WBE Building Opportunity Initiative to address disparities among minority and women-owned businesses in affordable housing development industry while furthering the agency’s mission to provide safe and affordable housing to all New Yorkers. Following a disparity study of HPD developers, HPD issued two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for which a minority or woman-owned business is required to hold a majority ownership stake in the project. The first RFP was issued in 2015 and included six sites across Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Harlem resulting in nearly 600 homes created by development teams led by M/WBE development firms. The second RFP, issued in 2021, includes two sites in Prospect Heights – 542 Dean Street and 516 Bergen Street.
These RFPs enable M/WBE development firms to build capacity as lead developers in partnership with construction managers, property managers, and service providers who can lend their expertise, resources, and connections. The team selected for the Dean Street site includes a reputable minority-owned affordable housing developer in JDC, a community-based nonprofit service provider in ICL, and an experienced development, general contracting, and construction management firm in MGD.
This builds on HPD’s wider efforts to uplift and build capacity for M/WBEs. Since 2014, HPD has trained over 100 emerging M/WBE developers and not-for-profits on how to win City-owned sites and obtain City financing for affordable housing development. HPD instituted a new policy in 2020 requiring that HPD award RFPs to entities where a M/WBE or non-profit firm have at least a 25% ownership stake. And through the Build Up initiative, developers receiving $2 million or more in City subsidy must set a goal to spend at least 25% of costs on M/WBEs, resulting in over $1.53 billion in spending to date.
As part of DCP’s community engagement process for AAMUP, the Crown Heights and Bedford–Stuyvesant communities highlighted the importance of maximizing 100% affordable housing on public sites. The 542 Dean Street site provides an opportunity to do just that, bringing much needed affordable housing to an amenity rich neighborhood as part of a wider neighborhood plan. The AAMUP process will continue later this summer with the release of the Engagement Report from Council Member Crystal Hudson, DCP, and WXY Studio, which will summarize feedback from the community and distill recommendations from the public thus far.
The development team worked with nArchitects to design the building. Inspired by Brooklyn’s surrounding rowhouses and brownstones, particularly their traditional bay windows, Park Edge provides a pair of windows per unit to give the interior rooms a spacious feel and connect the building’s exterior into the neighborhood fabric. But Park Edge’s most defining feature is an exaggerated ground floor setback that widens an active sidewalk, allows the continuation of neighborhood gathering, and creates a new entrance and visibility to the neighboring Dean Playground.
Founded in 1995 by Kenrick A. Jobe, Sr., Jobe Development Corporation (“JDC”) is an established full-service real estate development firm with expertise in realizing projects from conception and planning through completion. Since its founding, JDC has developed affordable housing on City-owned land in emerging communities like Southeast Queens and Central Brooklyn in low-rise and mixed-use buildings.
Beyond general development and construction, JDC takes pride in successfully establishing trust within the communities in which it develops. The principals take great care to become active and engaging with local stakeholders to better serve all parties involved in the development process. To that end, JDC is committed to continuing its path as a principled and committed developer of affordable housing in New York City.