Castle Gardens

Organization Name: The Fortune Society

Project Title: Castle Gardens

Project Location: West Harlem, Manhattan, New York

Project Goals:
The Fortune Society’s goals for Castle Gardens included:
- Creating permanent housing for previously incarcerated clients in their program, along with affordable housing for the community;
- Creating program space to support the various client programs, along with spaces for the building residents and the community;
- Meeting community needs as determined through a number of meetings with a community advisory group. This led to the creation of low income housing with a preference for current community members;
- Creating the greenest possible building within budget limitations; and
- Creating a welcoming, warm environment without an institutional feel, that fits within and enhances the neighborhood.

Project Description:
Castle Gardens is a 110,000 SF, 11-story mixed-use multi-family building designed by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP for The Fortune Society, whose mission is to aid the reentry of previously incarcerated individuals to society through transitional housing, supportive service programs and advocacy for alternatives to incarceration. Built on a vacant lot adjacent and connected to Fortune’s flagship facility, the “Castle”, a previously abandoned school that was renovated for transitional housing, Castle Gardens extends their investment in the neighborhood to include 113 additional units of affordable rental and supportive housing and 20,000 SF of office, meeting and community spaces. Sixty-three units are dedicated to housing participants in the client’s reentry program. The LEED Gold certified project cuts energy consumption by 28% and water consumption by 44%, is a NYSERDA and Enterprise Green Communities participant and one of the first 10 Energy Star Multi-Family buildings.

Community Impact:
Castle Gardens is a welcome addition to the community, transforming an empty lot into an amenity for the neighborhood, strengthening the urban fabric in multiple ways.
The project was strongly supported by the local Community Board. Designed to fit into a neighborhood of largely 8- to 12- story apartment buildings the building filled in a missing tooth within the community. The design breaks up the mass of the building to create proportions fitting to the fabric of the neighborhood.

The affordable rental component serves individuals and families who earn less than 60% of the Median Family Income. Residents leaving incarceration also benefit from on-site supportive services. In addition, the office, meeting, and community spaces allow the client more flexibility in creating and implementing programs, while providing opportunities to share the space for other community uses, such as community board meetings and gatherings.

Organization Description:
The Fortune Society is a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities. Fortune works to create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society. They do this through a holistic, one-stop model of service provision that includes a host of services, programs, recreation, and lifetime aftercare. Founded in 1989, Jonathan Rose Companies, the co-developer for Castle Gardens, is a green real estate policy, development, project management and investment firm. Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP was founded in 1990 with the mission to provide quality sustainable design where the needs of the client, the environment and the community, from the building users to the community at large, take priority.

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