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BROOKLYN, NY-The Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Shaun Donovan released a Request for Proposals to build a mixed-use development consisting of community, commercial, and residential spaces to be located along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

The development, located on nearly six acres of land at Fifth and Smith streets, is intended to create at least 400 units of mixed-income housing, at least half of which will be affordable to low-, moderate-, and middle-income families, as well as a significant component of housing set aside for low-income seniors. The project will also include commercial space as well as community facility space and will include large amounts of newly landscaped open space, particularly along the canal itself.

The RFP is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to integrate the Gowanus Canal corridor with the vibrant surrounding communities of Carroll Gardens and Park Slope through redevelopment of underutilized land into spaces for residents, local business and community groups to call home, according to a release.

The affordable housing will be part of the mayor’s $7.5-billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to build or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years, the largest municipal affordable housing initiative in the nation’s history as GlobeSt.com previously reported. As of July, the affordable housing plan has already financed nearly 65,000 units of affordable housing.

“Public Place has lain vacant for far too long and its cleanup and redevelopment will remove an eyesore from this neighborhood,” says Donovan. “Now, thanks to the mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan–a 10-year plan to create affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers–not only will this development provide new commercial space, dynamic new community resources and necessary affordable housing, it will do so in a way that sets a precedent for future developments by integrating sustainable design features with substantial affordability.”

The development’s affordable component will consist of at least 400 rental and/or cooperative units located above the community and commercial spaces of which a significant portion will be set aside for senior citizen housing.

Out of the total residential units, 20% must be affordable to households of four earning up to $56,700 or up to $39,700 for a single household. A further 30% of the residential units must be affordable to households of four earning up to $92,170 or up to $64,480 for a single household. And 100% of the senior housing must be affordable to seniors making no more than $34,020 for a couple or $29,760 for a single senior.

The development must include a community facility component that will add to and enhance the current inventory of community and cultural uses and spaces available in the neighborhood. Preference will be given to projects that include a boathouse, youth/teen center, community space, or artist studios and/or galleries, according to a statement.

The development must also incorporate a significant amount of landscaped open space. Open space must be located adjacent to the Gowanus Canal and should be designed to allow for and encourage public use. In addition, the project is subject to HPD’s New Construction Sustainability Requirements, which mandate design practices and materials that ensure healthy indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of environmentally preferable products.

The designated development team will be selected based on an evaluation of innovative architectural design, professional qualifications and experience, including green development experience, feasibility of the proposal, affordability of residential units, and quality of design and construction, as well as other factors noted in the RFP. Responses to the RFP are due by hand on Oct. 11.

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