The Arker Cos. Opens 1st Phase of Brooklyn Affordable Development

The developer completed the first 332 units of its project part of the $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative.
The Fountains. Photo credit: Gerri Hernandez

The Arker Cos., in partnership with Empire State Development Corp. and New York  State Homes and Community Renewal, has opened the first phase of The Fountains, the six-building, 1,163-unit, fully affordable housing development underway in Brooklyn. Phase one comprises two residential buildings totaling 332 apartments for households earning at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income. With a development team that includes Aufgang Architects and Ettinger Engineering, Arker expects to complete the entire project by the end of the year.

Announced by Governor Cuomo in 2017 as part of the $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative, The Fountains takes shape on the 6.7-acre site of the former Brooklyn Developmental Center. Upon completion, the development will include low- and middle-income units along with commercial and retail space. Of the total planned units, 1,078 will be affordable to those earning up to 60 percent of AMI. Additionally, seniors and residents with special needs will receive supportive services.

The site is nearly 5 miles southeast of downtown Brooklyn, one block from Gateway Center and across from Shirley Chisholm State Park. Two other affordable developments are within a 5-mile radius: a 160-unit project coming online at 535 E. 98th St. and a 291-unit community underway in Flatbush neighborhood.

First phase up close

The six-story building at 11629 Seaview Ave. has 65 affordable apartments. The 267-unit second development rises nine stories high at 911 Erskine St., built under New York’s Climate Bond program.

Of the total, 94 units cater to residents with disabilities through the partnerships with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and Block Institute. These households will also receive rental subsidies from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Both buildings meet the standards of Energy Star Multifamily High Rise and Enterprise Green Communities programs. Energy-efficient features include high-efficiency condensing boilers, heat pumps and Energy Star appliances as well as photo sensors and timers. 

The Fountains financing

In 2018, Arker obtained a $137 million financing package for the project, according to The Real Deal. The package included tax-exempt bonds from the New York State Housing Finance Agency and a line of credit from Bank of America.

More specifically, the $23.4 million Seaview Avenue building received federal and state low-income housing tax credits through New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Another $310,000 came from The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Multifamily New Construction Program.

Financing for the $86.8 million building on Erskine Street included permanent tax-exempt climate bonds, federal low-income housing tax credits and subsidy from HCR. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development also contributed.