Green housing helps revitalize a Brooklyn neighborhood

Nov 15, 2011

Rising from a 280-acre former landfill and a vacant lot in Spring Creek, Brooklyn, two housing projects are redefining affordable housing and green building. The Dumont Green and Gateway Elton Street developments are answering the need for safe housing, community space, and job creation in a challenging low-income neighborhood.

The Hudson Companies Inc. were far-sighted New York developers who saw the benefit of building economically and environmentally sustainable housing in this East New York neighborhood. Working with community leaders, city officials, the New York City Housing Development Corporation and others, Bank of America provided investments to help the Hudson Companies create the green and affordable housing they envisioned.

Brooklyn’s Spring Creek neighborhood needed an economic boost. The area median income is about half that of families in New York City. To help families bridge the gap, the Dumont Green and Gateway Elton projects will provide 835 affordable rental apartments to low-income and formerly homeless tenants.

But Dumont Green and Gateway Elton Street are going a step further than most affordable housing and setting a new standard for green building practices. Dumont Green, completed in 2011, has the largest residential solar electric system in the state, which helps power common spaces, security systems, laundry facilities, and elevators. Construction on Gateway Elton Street, which will be completed in 2012, will exceed national and state certification standards for green buildings thanks to its well-insulated walls, high-efficiency boilers and appliances, and alternative energy systems.

Bank of America has supported Dumont Green and Gateway Elton from the beginning, investing to make the projects a reality. Bank of America provided $42.5 million in loans and equity investments to help The Hudson Companies build Dumont Green. And for Gateway Elton, Bank of America Merrill Lynch provided a $35 million letter of credit and $26 million in equity. In addition, the New York City Housing Development Corporation provided loan subsidies and financing.

According to Todd Gomez, Community Development Banking executive, “Bank of America has a long history of providing financing to revitalize communities around the country through affordable housing. All of us at the bank understood the challenges of this market but also understood the impact that projects like this could have. We knew they could provide safe affordable housing for residents but also spur additional development in the community. It’s a neighborhood that we felt had long-term potential for revitalization.”

Dumont Green and Gateway Elton are catalysts for creating an economically and environmentally sustainable community in Spring Creek—and also having a broader impact. Beyond creating housing, retail space and community parks and playgrounds, the projects have created 750 construction jobs and 30 permanent jobs. Says The Hudson Companies’ Aaron Koffman, “I think these projects are setting a new standard for affordable housing. We wanted to take the old model of using public money and take it to a new model. Once we had the vision, it was a matter of getting everyone coordinated. I didn’t have to convince anyone it was a project worthy of investment.”

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