Christian Cultural Center (CCC) and Reverend A.R. Bernard, in partnership with the Gotham Organization and Monadnock Development, have received full city council approval to transform CCC’s East New York campus into a sustainable, pedestrian friendly, mixed-income community. The proposed development will supplement the existing church facility with 1,975 new income-based affordable residences in addition to numerous purpose-built neighborhood amenities, thoughtfully envisioned to support civic, spiritual, educational, cultural and economic opportunities.
Under the leadership of Rev. Bernard, CCC has become the largest house of worship in New York City, with 37,000 active members. CCC integrates institutional and intellectual elements with spiritual teachings to create a dynamic experience that has served as the foundation for a vibrant East New York community. CCC has created outreach programs that support the greater Brooklyn community, including large scale food assistance programs, comprehensive youth programs, ministry to the incarcerated, a charter school and educational partnerships with the NYPD.
“The Urban Village changes the narrative that the way up in East New York is out. Now the way up is to stay, grow and contribute. The Urban Village is based on a quality of life philosophy that focuses on – Environment, People, Programs, and Sustainability. It is a model we can all take pride in as evidenced by the unanimous approval of the City Council. We must now make this vision a reality,” said Reverend A.R. Bernard.
“The Innovative Urban Village has always been envisioned as a 100% affordable, community-enhancing development, with vision led by Reverend A.R. Bernard,” said Bryan Kelly, President of Development at Gotham Organization. “Throughout this five-year process we have listened and responded to residents, local leaders and elected officials. We are incredibly proud of the final vision that has now been approved by the City, and look forward to bringing the vision to fruition.”
“Monadnock is proud to partner with CCC and Gotham on the Innovative Urban Village. Our company has been a part of transformative development in East New York, led by faith-based organizations for almost 30 years. The vision of Reverend Bernard and the breathtaking scope of this project will deliver the next amazing chapter in the re-imagining of the neighborhood,” said Nick Lembo, Chairman of Monadnock Development & Construction.
The project’s master plan – designed by architect Vishaan Chakrabarti and his innovative Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) – repurposes the campus’ surface parking lot into a vibrant, active community, with CCC at its core. As the anchor in this new development, CCC will ensure that development in East New York is attainable for those who live in the community.
“The Innovative Urban Village plan, at its core, is welcoming and inclusive,” said Vishaan Chakrabarti, FAIA, Founder of PAU. “With more than six acres of open space, new publicly accessible sidewalks, paths and roadways, the neighborhood is designed to welcome and engage its residents and visitors.”
Anchored by the creation of approximately 1,975 income-based affordable housing units, including approximately 200 senior housing rentals and 100 homeownership units, the development will implement a holistic approach to community designed to maximize diversity and enhance economic opportunity. Residences will be available as the project is constructed through a lottery process. Following productive conversations with community leaders and residents throughout the ULURP process, income levels for the overall project target a diverse population to address the ongoing housing crisis and the issues that rent burden has on working households.
“Addressing our city’s housing crisis requires creative and thoughtful projects that deliver affordable homes for New Yorkers,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Innovative Urban Village adds nearly 2,000 affordable units while providing major benefits for local residents of East New York. This development is a major win for Brooklyn and our entire city, and I’m proud the Council voted to approve it. I thank Reverend A.R. Bernard for his vision and persistent leadership, Council Member Barron for his advocacy, and all the partners who helped get this project across the finish line.”
“It’s projects like the Innovative Urban Village in East New York that are how we are going to build our way out of this housing crisis,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Through the strong advocacy work of our community and the collaborative spirit of Reverend Bernard and the entire development team, the Innovative Urban Village won’t just be home for thousands of Brooklynites, it will be a supportive space that elevates the well-being of the entire community. Thank you to everyone who made this project possible.”
“It is exciting to see this project come together at a time when our city needs it most. Innovative Urban Village will be the pinnacle of diverse and inclusive living within Brooklyn, and I am grateful to Reverend Bernard and the development team for their years of persistence and unwavering commitment to the city,” said Daniel Garodnick, Director of the New York City Department of City Planning and Chair of the City Planning Commission.
“I congratulate and commend the Reverend Dr. A.R. Bernard and the Christian Cultural Center for the vision, hard work and fortitude in making the Innovative Urban Village a reality. The Urban Village project will help transform the greater East New York community, dramatically improve the quality of life for its residents and provide desperately needed affordable housing and amenities in Brooklyn. This is a really big deal,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“This project exemplifies the gold standard New York is creating for residential developments, with an emphasis on affordability, throughout the country. Thank you to the entire development team, and congratulations on such an exciting milestone,” said New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud.
The plan also includes often overlooked necessity services, including a trade school, 24/7 childcare facility, performing arts center, fresh food grocery store and lifestyle-enhancing retail. The entire community will be seamlessly connected by walking paths and green spaces, these amenities combine to create a collaborative, accessible, ‘urban village’ lifestyle.
The anticipated retail will provide residents with easy access to daily necessities, while the performing arts center has been envisioned as a community-focused meeting and event space. Each proposed service will foster a collaborative, engaged community. In addition, a shuttle service will be provided to connect residents to the L and 3 train lines, providing easy access to critical infrastructure needs.
Critical features of the plan include a vocational training facility and a performing arts center that will be open to the East New York community at large. The vision for these facilities is to provide the support and flexibility that members of the community need to pursue employment opportunities and advance educational training that will generate upward mobility and career enhancement.
CCC chose Gotham as its partner to help plan and build the desired services and necessities, building on Gotham’s long history of partnership with New York institutions to build affordable housing, schools, community facilities and cultural spaces. Construction on the first phase is expected to begin by late 2023 with delivery of the first residences in 2026. The overall master plan is expected to be completed in phases over a 10-year period.