Breaking Ground, Cutting Ribbons

A former hotel in Brooklyn is now welcoming new guests – and inviting them to call it home.

The Watchtower Society developed the building at 90 Sands Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood in 1992 to provide a long-term residence for its volunteers and staff (at one time the building housed more than 1,000 people). In 2018, Breaking Ground acquired the then-vacant building with a plan to transform it into supportive and affordable housing. They completed construction and officially opened the building in the Fall of 2022.

Breaking Ground is a nonprofit that since its founding in 1990 has become New York State’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing for homeless and low-income people. Breaking Ground owns and operates more than 4,000 units of housing, and its programs benefit approximately 8,300 individuals each year. The organization operates primarily in New York City, but also runs housing developments in Rochester, New York and in the Connecticut cities of Hartford and Willimantic.

We were delighted to attend the ribbon cutting at 90 Sands, which now provides 491 affordable and supportive apartments in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.

The repurposing of this significant community asset sends a clear message to the individuals and families that live here now and will call it home in the future: You matter. You’re important and deserving. You’re worthy of the same dignity and care as everyone else.

The Leviticus Fund was pleased to help Breaking Ground pay architectural and engineering expenses for 90 Sands with a $1.5 million predevelopment loan, which can be hard to secure early in a project. But the success of the conversion was truly a team effort, with the support of the staff of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the NYC Housing Development Corporation.

We also thank the attorneys who provide pro bono services to the Leviticus Fund. Austin Castellano of Denton’s helped close this loan for us. Because of his generosity, Leviticus charged no lender legal fees to close this loan, making a significant in-kind grant to the project.

This was our first loan to this strong and highly respected nonprofit. We were happy to provide patient, flexible capital to help move this much-needed project from concept to reality.