Thanks in part to an aggressive outreach program, African-American-owned construction contractors and individual workers are finding increasing success in finding work on the City Point project now under construction at the former Albee Mall site on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
The program is run by Crescent Consulting, a firm specializing in construction compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) requirements, which City Point developer Albee Development LLC hired to exceed those requirements.
“City Point contacted us to work with them to develop a program to get more minority contractors and to identify local contractors that could perform some of the work,” said Crescent Consulting spokesperson Rohan DeFreitas. “We have regular outreach events where minority and local contractors interface with prime contractors so they can bid on some of the work.”
DeFreitas explained some of the smaller contractors might not have the upfront money to cover insurance and bonding costs to do an entire portion of the work, so they match them with larger contractors to do a portion of the work.
“Say the prime contractor is doing concrete and you wanted to do some concrete work. We put them together and find how it would be possible to do contract work,” said DeFreitas.
Among the black-owned contractors that recently won a bid for some of the work on the project after going to one of the outreach meetings. is C&D Iron Works, 194 Sackman Street.
“We’re doing a couple of the floors,” said C&D Iron Works owner Chad Roopchan, who has nine workers on the job including the off-site fabrication work. “Often small minority contractors are locked out because bids require union workers.”
DeFreitas said similarly white-owned construction businesses working at City Point have to satisfy employment components that requires them to hire minorities and local residents.
“If you are unemployed and looking for work it would be to your advantage to go to the job site and let the supervisor on the job know you’re seeking employment,” said DeFreitas. “Your information will be taken and we will meet with you to establish what kind of trade you want and we’ll try to identify opportunities with contractors.”
Phase one of the massive mixed-use project just down the street from Juniors Restaurant was recently completed with the opening of Armani Exchange. The second phase currently underway will have 1.3 million square-feet broken down into 680,000 square feet of retail space and 680 units of housing including 125 units of affordable housing for moderate and low-income residents. The retail end will ultimately include anchors such as New York City based retailer Century 21 and the seven-screen Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Albee Development spokesperson Tom Montvel-Cohen said in phase one of the project over 50 percent of contract dollars have been awarded to local and minority-owned businesses. Over 80 percent of construction employees are members of minority groups, he said.