Organization Name: Breaking Ground
Project Title: 90 Sands
Project Location: DUMBO, Brooklyn
In 2018, Breaking Ground acquired the former Watchtower Society residential hotel at 90 Sands Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn, with a plan to transform the building into 491 units of affordable and supportive housing. In April of 2020, Breaking Ground obtained a zoning change for the project after an approval pursuant to the City’s land use review procedure, and construction will begin on the project imminently. 90 Sands is an important marker in Breaking Ground’s history. The nonprofit launched 30 years ago, in 1990, focused on transforming old hotels in Manhattan into permanent supportive housing, giving the city’s homeless a way to get off the streets and have a place to call home. It was a revolutionary concept at the time that is still critical today. Upon completion, 90 Sands will be the second-largest supportive housing site in the nation, after Breaking Ground’s Times Square residence in Manhattan. The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) will provide onsite social services to residents. Breaking Ground and CUCS have a longstanding partnership and 90 Sands marks their 10th building together to provide housing and onsite support for formerly homeless individuals and families.
In addition to 300 apartments for people exiting homelessness, 90 Sands will offer 191 affordable units for low-to-moderate income households in one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. Along with supportive services, tenants will have access to an onsite medical clinic, fitness room, digital library, and multipurpose space for community events.
Breaking Ground will activate the currently closed-off plaza at Jay and Sands streets to create a 7,000 sq ft community amenity, including new street-level retail space. Breaking Ground seeks to bring in commercial and community-serving uses to occupy extensive spaces on the ground floor and two lower levels.
The building’s rooftop observatory level – featuring two large outdoor terrace spaces with spectacular views that extend to Brooklyn, Queens, New York Harbor, and Manhattan – will also be reimagined to a multipurpose space for use by tenants, staff and peer nonprofit organizations.
The building, originally constructed in 1992, is in exceptional condition, thus renovations will be minimal and limited mostly to creating office space for social service and building staff. 90 Sands will be retrofitted to meet high energy efficiency standards.
Breaking Ground is New York’s largest supportive housing developer. With 24 transitional and permanent housing residences under management, primarily in NYC, the agency provides safe, stable, beautiful housing for those who need it most. Breaking Ground also runs, under contract with the NYC Department of Homeless Services, street homeless outreach services in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and a portion of Manhattan. Each year, Breaking Ground’s programs and housing resources touch the lives of more than 9,000 vulnerable New Yorkers.
Center for Urban Community Services
Enterprise Community Partners
Beyer Blinder Belle
Monadnock Construction, Inc.