Mayor Hails Development That Intersects Pre-K, Housing Goals

Mayor Hails Development That Intersects Pre-K, Housing Goals

Mayor Hails Development That Intersects Pre-K, Housing Goals
June 9, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a host of elected officials in hailing a new development in Harlem that intersect two of his top priorities: early childhood education and affordable housing. 

The mixed-use project, the Sugar Hill Development, was built through a collaboration between Broadway Housing Communities, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) utlizing$10 million in federal HOME funds--a federal grant for affordable housing--$3 million in tax credits and another $3 million in capital funding from the City Council. 

In addition to the building's 124 permanently affordable housing units, the development will also host a preschool center connected to the on-site Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling, which aims to foster a cultural connection to the neighborhood's rich artistic history. 

"It's an example of rejuvenation, renewal, entrepreneurship, community involvement, community leadership," de Blasio said. "We get the affordable housing; we also get this extraordinary early childhood center, which is going to be a part of our pre-k plan, starting this September. So, the vision here was so comprehensive in terms of the needs of the community, because the community was involved in the planning process, something we believed in thoroughly."

The Sugar Hill Development's affordable housing component will contribute to the mayor's stated goal of creating or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years, despite the fact that the project began under the Bloomberg administration. The mayor explained that, to his knowledge, the previous administration only counted units under their housing plan when they were fully completed. 

"I don’t think they actually counted units that were not fully complete," de Blasio said. "I think they were pretty consistent about that. They may have projected, but I don’t think they counted completed units unless they were. We received a lot of stuff in motion, but a lot of work had to be done to bring it to fruition, and that’s why we count it in our number."

The project was highlighted in the administration's plan because it made use of a former brownfield site. The land was adjacent to a gas station that was suspected to have buried gasoline and oil tanks. Broadway Housing Communities acquired the parcel of land in 2008 and enrolled in the city's Brownfield Cleanup Program, providing the developer a $165,000 grant to fully remediate the site and begin constructing the building. 

Fifty apartments will be affordable for families earning below $41,500 for a family of four, 12 will serve those earning less than $24,900 for a family of four, and an additional 25 apartments will be set aside for homeless individuals. 

The Sugar Hill Museum Preschool will serve up to 100 children ages 2 to 5, including three universal pre-kindergarten classrooms serving 54 4-year-olds in full-day sessions.

Nick Powell