The Domain Cos. not only remediated a contaminated brownfield site in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, one of New York City’s most rapidly developing areas, but it created a LEED Gold community with 210 units of much-needed mixed-income housing.
Eleven33 was built on the former site of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Railroad Car Barn, which was contaminated and limited to industrial and manufacturing uses. The Domain Cos. participated in the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and worked with partner Goldman Sachs on a financing plan to remediate the site.
“We took a site that was really a negative issue in the neighborhood in terms of preventing progress and development and brought it full circle by remediating it and creating a building that maximizes green features and sustainable design,” says Matt Schwartz, principal of The Domain Cos.
The development touts highly efficient building systems, low-VOC paints, energy-efficient appliances, and low-flow water fixtures. It's also close to public transit, including a new city water-taxi stop, and features car- and bike-share services and bike parking.
Another goal for the development was to serve the middle-income renter group, which is getting priced out of the city, says Schwartz. With the help of several city programs, The Domain Cos. was able to create seven units for households earning 40% of the area median income (AMI), 37 units at 50% of the AMI, 61 units at 175% of the AMI, and the remainder at market rates.
To do that, Eleven33 participated in the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD’s) Inclusionary Housing Program and 421-a tax-abatement program, which enabled The Domain Cos. to increase the size of the building by approximately 20% and receive a 25-year tax abatement in exchange for permanently setting aside 20% of the units as affordable housing.
Financing for the $67.2 million project also was provided by the New York City Housing Development Corp.’s (HDC’s) 50-30-20 program, which allows for 20% of units to be set aside for low-income households, 30% for moderate-income households, and the remaining 50% at market rates. HDC also issued tax-exempt bonds and a second mortgage loan. HPD provided 4% low-income housing tax credits, and Goldman Sachs provided enhancement on the tax-exempt bond debt during construction as well as the tax credit equity.
When the low- and moderate-income lottery was launched, Eleven33 received more than 60,000 applications, the most in city history at that time.
“It surpassed the record,” says Schwartz, “but is now standard.”