Organization Name: National Development Council
Project Title: Jay Street Fire House Affordable Housing
Project Location: DUMBO Brooklyn, NY
365 Jay Street was constructed in 1892 as the Headquarters for the Brooklyn Fire Department, throughout its history the building had been repurposed for NYFD, until abandoned in the 1970s. In 1987 the City converted the building into affordable housing. It was an exciting time for the neighborhood, as it welcomed Brooklyn Metro-Tech. The construction of Brooklyn Metro-Tech displaced many low-income residents that for generations called the neighborhood home. The Jay Street building conversion filled a need for affordable housing, but funds to support building maintenance were scarce. Pratt Area Community Council (PACC) first became aware of building conditions when the tenants came to the organization to report the horrendous conditions, after management was unresponsive to tenant’s complaints. With a mission to keep housing units affordable, PACC led a massive restoration of the building. The $5.6 million project was completed by PACC, MDG Design and Construction and NDC.
At the time of rehabilitation there were 12 existing tenants, who have called 365 Jay Street home for over 20 years. The building had a badly leaking roof, malfunctioning elevator, no heat, and a major rat infestation from the subway that is located below the building. The interior required a gut renovation, each of the 18 units was stripped and replaced with updated fixtures, including new bathroom, energy efficient kitchen appliances and hardwood floors. In addition to the interior restoration, the development team paid meticulous detail to exterior refinishes. These included bringing the roof, windows and other exterior elements back into code. The restoration took over a year to complete, and was restored in accordance with the NPS historic standards. The project received support and funding from the City of New York in the form of grants from the NYS Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation, as well as HTC Equity from NDC Corporate Equity Fund.
A unique element of the historic restoration was the addition of street level community space. In line with the PACC and NDC’s non-profit mission, the restoration set aside 710 square feet of ground level retail space for use by a community organization. The current lease price on the space is $15/Square Foot, a very modest price for the downtown Brooklyn location.
The meticulously restored landmark continues to be home to 18 families, some of whom are the original tenants from the 1980s, and who will continue to pay affordable rents. The use of Historic Tax Credits and LIHTC allowed community partners and the City of New York to preserve the integrity of a National Historic Landmark that would have otherwise been swallowed up in the greater redevelopment and modernization of downtown Brooklyn. Jay Street Firehouse continues to provide an affordable housing option for local residents.
NDC’s work focuses on HOMES, JOBS and COMMUNITY. Founded as a national nonprofit in 1969, NDC has worked for 46 years at fulfilling its mission to increase the flow of capital for investment in low-income communities. NDC directs capital to support the preservation and creation of affordable housing, the creation of jobs through training and small business lending and the promotion of livable communities through investment in social infrastructure. NDC’s products and services are deployed for the benefit of our municipal and nonprofit partners in both urban and rural low-income communities. NDC is headquartered in New York City with offices in Washington, DC, Seattle, WA, Cleveland, OH and Edgewood, KY.