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Stern-designed apartment complex gives homeless a new start

A $75 million apartment complex built to house formerly homeless families and veterans has been finished in Brooklyn.

The African American Planning Commission developed the 125-unit Edwin’s Place in partnership with supportive housing developer, Breaking Ground.

It was designed by the world-famous Robert A.M. Stern Architects and financed by Wells Fargo, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and state housing agencies, as well as a grant from National Grid

Located on Livonia Avenue between Howard and Grafton Streets in the Brownsville neighborhood, the building features 69 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 56 studios. Onsite social services are offered to all residents in the building, funded by a contract between the African American Planning Commission and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

88 units at Edwin’s Place are home to formerly homeless individuals and families, including veterans, and 37 serve low-income community residents.

Built by general contractor Mega Contracting Group, the eight-story, 115,500 s/f building features a 24-hour attended lobby, state of the art security systems, a laundry room, fitness room, and a multipurpose room for tenant and community events. There is also 3,000 s/f of retail space along Livonia Avenue occupied by the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Power of Two, which works with young parents.

Edwin’s Place’s entrance is set back from the street to accommodate the curve of the adjacent elevated New York City Subway tracks and a metal and glass window wall above the entry provides daylight to the elevator lobbies. The L-shaped building cradles a sunken garden courtyard that provides access to various outdoor amenities as well as natural lighting to lower level offices for building management and social service staff, a fitness center, a computer lab, and meeting rooms.

A “renowned” but anonymous American artist has created 125 unique paintings to give to each new resident as they move in.

Breaking Ground and AAPCI celebrated the completion of the project with partners at New York State Homes & Community Renewal, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Wells Fargo.

“The current pandemic has made clear that now more than ever, housing is health,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground. “Edwin’s Place represents our commitment to developing safe and dignified homes to help vulnerable New Yorkers escape and avoid homeless. Though this project has been many years in the making, it could not have been completed at a more crucial moment. We are proud to bring this beautiful new residence to the Brownsville community, and join our State and City partners in building a New York where people can lead stable, secure lives in thriving neighborhoods.”

Matthew Okebiyi, Founder & CEO of African American Planning Commission, said, “Edwin’s Place is an important milestone in AAPCI’s development of affordable and supportive housing.

“The project has allowed us to transition homeless individuals and families out of temporary homeless shelters into quality affordable and supportive housing with continued onsite support services. Tenants will live in an environment with mixed income families where they can resume normal, meaningful, productive lives.”

Edwin’s Place

Edwin’s Place is Breaking Ground’s seventh building in Brooklyn. The design features a robust yet economical structural system of precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls; continuously insulated walls; triple-glazed windows; a green roof; and a roof-top photovoltaic solar array – all contributing to reduced energy use. The project was constructed to meet Enterprise Green Standards.

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