Men Build Foundation for Affordable Housing at Henry Apartments in Ocean Hill

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The last traces of the arson fires that devastated this stretch of Broadway and nearby blocks in Ocean Hill and Bushwick in the 1970s are slowly being erased by new development here.

Men have been busy toiling away on the largest and most prominent of these developments under the elevated J train track here on the corner of Broadway and Decatur Street in Ocean Hill since a big public groundbreaking in March.

A vacant, City-owned lot for decades, this was once a row of stores with apartments above and will soon be so again.

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A previously published rendering of the development at Site B at 1696-1712 Broadway.

The foundation here at Site B of the Henry Apartments at 1696-1712 Broadway is nearly complete. Across the street men are also at work on the foundation for Site A, but it is not as far along.

Both lots will become affordable and supportive housing for low and very low income families, as we have reported. Site B of the Henry Apartments at 1696-1712 Broadway will have six stories with 79 affordable units. There will be six three-bedrooms, 20 two-bedrooms, 15 one-bedrooms and 37 studios. There will also be 4,500 square feet of retail.

Inside will be laundry, elevators, parking for bicycles. There will be a landscaped outdoor recreation space with seating and tables, as well as a garden for “urban farming.”

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City officials celebrate the start of the project in March.

City officials and pols as Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna and local City Council Member Darlene Mealy were on hand for the ground breaking in March. The project is a public-private partnership, a joint project between developers SUS and Alembic Community Development.

The latter includes Stan Henry, after whom the apartments are named. He is a local businessman and employer who owned Site A here at 1674-1684 Broadway.

He also owned a business on the site, building supply shop Henry’s Distributors, which since 1970 operated out of an old theater called People’s Pleasure Palace. The building was demolished in April, as we reported.

Building A will be the smaller of the two, with 55 affordable units over six stories and 2,500 square feet of retail. Henry’s will one day operate a hardware store in one of the retail spaces, a former Henry’s worker told Brownstoner.

The apartments here will include five two-bedrooms, 10 one-bedrooms, and 40 studios. It will have the same amenities as the building across the street, including a garden area where tenants can grow their own food.

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A lottery for the units has not yet opened, but they will be aimed at very low and low income families “with a preference for formerly homeless families and individuals,” according to the city. The majority of units will be reserved for those making 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income, which works out to no more than $29,400 for one person or $41,950 for a family of four.

Fewer than 30 units will be aimed at those earning 60 percent or less than the Area Median Income. Many of the units, 78 in total, will be set aside for formerly homeless families. Residents will pay 30 percent of their monthly income in rent, and the rest will be made up from Section 8 vouchers.

There will be on-site supportive services such as recovery programs, life skills training, employment and job placement, structured social activities, and case management.

The architect of both buildings is Peter Woll. In business since 1997, the firm specializes in affordable and supportive housing.

SUS, which stands for Services for the UnderServed, is a nonprofit social services agency that supports veterans, families and the disabled.

The development joins many other types of low income housing in the area, including co-operatively owned low-income apartments and city and privately run shelters and halfway houses.

Henry Apartments Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo of March groundbreaking and rendering via SUS

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