From Vacant Brownfield To Valuable Community Resource

For more than 30 years, MHANY Management Inc. has worked to provide affordable housing to New York City’s low- and moderate-income residents.

Now, a $1 million predevelopment loan from Leviticus Fund is enabling the mission-driven nonprofit to move forward with an ambitious new project: Chestnut Commons, a 14-story, 300,000-square-foot development in Brooklyn that will bring 274 affordable rental units and an array of economic, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities to the community.

Chestnut Commons is a joint venture of MHANY, the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and the Urban Builders Collaborative. Launched in October 2017, the project is one of the first to be undertaken as part of the East New York Neighborhood Plan, a comprehensive affordable housing and economic development plan created through the collaboration of local residents, community groups, city agencies, and elected officials.

Chestnut Commons will be built on a brownfield site and designed to Passive House standards to optimize energy efficiency. The project is now in the predevelopment phase and is expected to be completed in 2022.

All 274 apartments—a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units—will be affordable, reserved for families at or below 60% of the area median income. Ten percent of the units will be set aside for homeless families and individuals.

In addition, Chestnut Commons will include 33,540 square feet of space for the Cypress Hills Community Center, which will offer cooking and nutrition demonstrations, workforce development programs, a food manufacturing kitchen incubator for small food businesses, and a black box theatre, as well as 6,395 square feet of commercial space that will house a grocery store, pharmacy, and credit union. The facility’s programs and services will be available to residents of the building and to members of the neighborhood alike.

This is our first loan to MHANY and the eighth we have made through our Project Start Fund. We are very pleased to be able to support such a high-impact, community-focused project that will revitalize a vacant brownfield site to mixed-use program space and provide affordable housing to the community.