Organization Name: Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, Inc.
Project Title: Mennonite United Revival Apartments
Project Location: 424 Melrose Street Brooklyn, NY
RBSCC developed Mennonite United Revival Apartments (MURA) in partnership with the Mennonite United Revival Church to meet the goals of providing high quality, safe, sustainable, accessible and affordable supportive housing to the neighborhood of Bushwick. The project was the first affordable multifamily Passive House built in the country, and provides 24 units affordable to a range of incomes between 30%-60% of AMI. 15 units are set aside for the physically disabled.
Designed by the pioneering architect Chris Benedict to meet the strict Passive House design standard, and using detailed attention to means and methods during construction, the building's energy usage is 25% of that of a typical NYC building. The building is fully accessible to residents with physical disabilities, with supportive services by local provider Buena Vida Continuing Care and Rehabilitation Center. Built in partnership with a church on former church land, MURA also meets the goals of faith-based development.
MURA is a four-story residential building containing 24-units of affordable housing, with a community room, laundry room, tenant storage, outdoor patio and garden. 100% low-income, with a unit mix of 3 studios, 4 one-bedrooms, 13 two-bedrooms and 4 three-bedrooms, the project provides a majority of units for individuals and families with physically disabilities, all within one of the most energy efficient envelopes in NYC. Through aggressive insulation, compartmentalization, and air management strategies, MURA was able to meet Passive House standards for energy efficiency. A solar thermal array on the roof further reduces the building's carbon footprint. Financed in partnership with HCR, HPD, TD Bank, RBC, and CPC, and built by Procida Companies, the project has been featured in numerous publications including the NY Daily News, the Commercial Observer, Oculus, Mennonite World Review, and Curbed.
Built on a formerly vacant lot on the edge of an industrial area, MURA provides affordable housing options in an area where rents have skyrocketed beyond the reach of the working poor. In providing stable housing to a vulnerable population on a formerly blighted lot, the project had an immediate positive impact on the Bushwick community. Through the attention it received as the nation's first affordable Passive House, the project also had a significant impact on the broader community of design, construction, and affordable housing professionals.
In 2015, the building was selected for the Community Artists Projects (CAP), an RBSCC led initiative to highlight local Bushwick artists through street art installations. The artist HopsArt installed a piece called Bushwick Windows representing the familiar three story Bushwick rowhouse. The windows in the mural depict traditional cultural and ethnic scenes of Bushwick, and are a reminder of the heritage that exists in a changing community.
For 40 years, RBSCC has been devoted to serving the needs of low-income communities in Brooklyn and Queens through housing and community development. When founded in 1976, RBSCC provided services to the 30,000 elderly residents living in the joint communities of Ridgewood and Bushwick. It since expanded its mission to the promotion and provision of comprehensive neighborhood stabilization and social services. RBSCC pursued the development of new housing as anchors of community revitalization and, through various city initiatives, the rehabilitation of numerous distressed properties in Bushwick and surrounding neighborhoods. In addition to the direct development, rehabilitation and management of over 2,000 units of affordable rental housing throughout Brooklyn, RBSCC has sponsored the development of almost 3,000 affordable homeownership units. The organization is the largest employer in Bushwick, providing services in the fields of youth, education, seniors, housing, and health care.