NYC’s affordable housing plan is ahead of schedule: Grand Concourse Library redevelopment begins community engagement

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New York Construction Report staff writer

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York Public Library have announced plans to transform the Grand Concourse branch into a library with affordable housing on top.

This week the city kicked off the community engagement process for the project, one part of Mayor Eric Adams’ “24 in 24” plan to advance 24 affordable housing projects in 2024.

Located at 155 East 173rd Street, the multi-story brick and masonry library was built in 1959 and needs major repairs. The building sits on a nearly 8,900-sq. ft. lot about three blocks from the B/D subway lines.

“I’m excited to see the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and New York Public Library kick off community engagement for the ultimate redevelopment of the Grand Concourse library into a future, state-of-the-art library that also provides much needed affordable housing within the community,” said Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg. “Not only does this mark the halfway point of the mayor’s commitment to advance 24 public site developments in 2024, but it’s also a great example of how public sites can be reimagined to meet the ever-growing and changing needs of our neighborhoods.”

The library branch was built in 1959 and has served the Bronx for 65 years. The redevelopment of the site will be initiated through a competitive process that asks developers to respond to a set of goals and guidelines that reflect community priorities.

HPD has launched a webpage with additional information about how community members can get more engaged in the process. HPD and the New York Public Library will begin outreach in the community this spring. In the meantime, the library branch will remain open to serve the public until construction begins.

Twelve other sites have been identified for housing:

Brooklyn:

  • 516 Bergen Street: HPD selected a development team to build approximately 116 units.
  • Bay View Houses: NYCHA is preserving 1,610 units through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program.
  • Coney Island Houses: NYCHA started community engagement ahead of a resident vote to preserve 530 units.
  • Unity Towers: NYCHA started community engagement ahead of a resident vote to preserve 192 units.

Bronx:

  • 351 Powers Avenue: HPD selected a development team to build approximately 90 units.
  • 1388-1400 Stebbins Avenue: HPD released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to build approximately 130 units.
  • Bronx River Addition: NYCHA commenced resident voting on preserving 133 units.

Manhattan:

  • 2460-2478 Second Avenue: NYCEDC selected a lead consultant for the education and engagement campaign for the Harlem African Burial Ground Memorial where the city is advancing approximately 730 units.
  • 4095 9th Avenue: HPD launched community engagement to build approximately 570 units.
  • Campos Plaza II: NYCHA is preserving 224 units through the PACT program.

Queens:

  • 5421 Center Boulevard: HPD launched community engagement to build approximately 850 units.

Staten Island:

  • 30 Canal Street: NYCEDC released an RFP seeking proposals to build approximately 550 units.

A number of creative solutions have also been announced, including laying out an office conversion accelerator to advance conversions more quickly; unveiling new proposed rules to streamline approvals for sustainable housing; and debuting several pilot programs to help fund the creation of accessory dwelling units, help move New Yorkers out of shelters and into renovated apartments, and help fuel mixed-income developments in neighborhoods across the city; among other innovative efforts.

“In a city where half of renters are rent-burdened and construction is not keeping pace with demand, we must be creative and utilize every square inch of available space to build more affordable housing. Redeveloping the New York Public Library Grand Concourse branch, part of the larger plan to advance two dozen affordable housing projects this year, puts us on track to deliver the affordable housing New Yorkers need,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar.

“Today, we begin the construction of family-friendly housing coupled with a state-of-the-art library, which will provide much-needed affordable units and create a community hub of activity and learning. The construction is a component of the moonshot goal of building 500,000 new housing units, and I am partnering with Mayor Adams to pass a budget in Albany with the policies we need to end the housing crisis and create more affordable housing for New Yorkers.”

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