Bed-Stuy Public Housing Expansion Underway

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The cash-strapped New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is laying the groundwork for going into the commercial real estate business in Bedford-Stuyvesant, this paper has learned.
Several sources confirmed NYCHA has been meeting with stakeholders from both the Sumner and Tompkins Houses to discuss its preliminary plans to add hundreds of housing units to both developments with retail on the ground floor.
The Housing Authority, which ran a $19 million operating deficit for fiscal year 2010, will present its expansion plans at the May Community Board 3 meeting as a preemptive discussion of the northern Bed-Stuy rezoning initiative now under way.
NYCHA’s Sumner, Tompkins and Marcy Houses are all included in the rezoning footprint. Under existing zoning, NYCHA can add housing units as of right now, but any retail and commercial development would have to be part of the rezoning.
“NYCHA is looking for ways to generate income and is looking to put retail in both the Sumner and Tompkins Houses,” said a source involved in the discussions. “They were saying they want to add over 100 units to both of those housing developments.”
The source said NYCHA did not specify what type of retail they were looking for, but noted the area could use a pharmacy and there is only one supermarket – a Key Food – on Myrtle and Throop Avenues that serves the Sumner, Tompkins and Marcy Houses.
Another source involved in the discussions said NYCHA appears to be looking at adding senior housing as it would generate more separate city, state and federal funding streams than typical NYCHA developments.
But NYCHA spokesperson Sheila Stainback downplayed the agency’s plans.
“Although NYCHA does not currently have any proposed development under consideration,  NYCHA is interested in obtaining the commercial overlay now so that we can plan for mixed use development in the future,” said Stainback.
Stainback noted NYCHA has identified such commercial and retail uses as sporting goods, accounting/tax services and medical offices that could be considered for either the Sumner or Tompkins site.
“The Tompkins resident leadership agreed to put forward suggestions for retail uses when NYCHA issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop the Myrtle Avenue site,” she said.
NYCHA currently has 200 spaces citywide in its commercial property portfolio. This includes space currently for rent at the Whitman Houses and the Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn.
NYCHA currently has 200 spaces citywide in its commercial property portfolio. This includes space currently for rent at the Whitman Houses and the Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn.
The 22-acre Sumner Houses includes 13 buildings of 7- 12 stories housing 2,554 people in 1,098 apartments. It is bordered by Park, Lewis, Myrtle and Throop Avenues.
The 12-acre Tompkins Houses includes eight buildings of 8- 16 stories housing 3,281 people in 1,048 apartments. It is bordered by Park, Throop, Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues.