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Construction & DesignGreen Building

City issues RFP for 400-unit Passive House development in East Harlem

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for the design, construction, and management of a sustainable, mixed-income and mixed-use affordable housing development in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan.

The development will offer no less than 400 new affordable homes.  By requiring that submissions include Passive House designs, the RFP, titled SustaiNYC, also advances the goals of Mayor de Blasio’ s One City: Built to Last.

Passive House is a building standard that reduces a building’s energy consumption by as much as 75 percent, as compared to standard building designs.

The 100 percent affordable development will be the largest Passive House project in the nation.

The RFP is the result of a collaborative outreach effort by HPD, the Office of the Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Office of Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Board 11, to engage community members around their vision for development on the East 111th Street Site, which encompasses nearly an entire city block.

The site is almost an entire city block
The site is almost an entire city block

“We’ve worked hard to make our city greener and more energy-efficient, including instituting steps to reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. This passive house request for proposals encourages developers to think creatively while taking action to fight climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“The East 111th Street project will bring badly-needed affordable housing and incorporate community gardens, making this a place that will improve the lives of both its residents and the surrounding community.”

“New York City’s affordability crisis demands that we think big and that we think sustainable. This important RFP solicits proposals that will help East Harlem, a thriving and diverse community that continues to attract New Yorkers, grow responsibly,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.

“This 100 pERCENT affordable housing development not only will provide affordable homes in an area that is quickly becoming unaffordable to many households, but also will add the high-quality community, retail and garden space our neighborhoods need.”

Bound by Madison and Park Avenues, and E. 111th and E. 112th Streets in Manhattan’s Community District 11, the site consists of all lots on Block 1617 except for 21 and 34, and is approximately 76,500 s/f.

Four existing community gardens will be incorporated into the new development, and the East Harlem Little League’s baseball field and two community gardens will be relocated in the surrounding neighborhood.

The project will be 100 percent affordable, and provide housing affordable to a range of income levels.

The development should include quality commercial and community facility uses, as well as the required open space and other amenities to enhance the overall quality of life, health, safety, and active living in the neighborhood.

Preference will be given to projects that include a significant proportion of units that serve very low- and low-income households.

The administration has committed to protecting a majority of current community garden use by requiring that developers incorporate garden space into the new site.

The new garden spaces will ultimately be transferred to the Parks department to be preserved for the long term for the benefit of the community.

HPD, for the first time, is requiring Passive House design in the RFP. That requirement will help inform design possibilities and feasibility of Passive House development at this scale.

Passive House design reliably provides reduction in energy needed for heating and cooling of up to 90%, and up to 75% reduction in overall energy use, compared to existing buildings.

It focuses on passive measures such as insulation, airtightness and heat recovery, while increasing long term viability for building owners through lower utility bills.

Other affordable housing Passive House developments include Beach Green North, the 425 Grand Concourse development in the Bronx and The Knickerbocker Commons project in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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