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Work starts on turning brewery into senior housing

Work gets underway today on transforming the former Rheingold Brewery Building in Bushwick into am affordable senior housing development.

Developed jointly by Southside United HDFC — better known as Los Sures— and Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH),  Rheingold Senior Residences will be located at 15 Montieth Street on a site that was once part of the Rheingold Brewery.

Supported by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, Rheingold Senior Residences aims to set a new standard for deeply affordable housing for seniors and is designed to be age-friendly, both inside and out.

The development was the recipient of a NYSERDA Buildings of Excellence Award and its sustainable design reflects the project team’s commitment to improving the safety and environmental quality of the neighborhood’s streets and buildings.

The total development cost for the project is approximately $67 million. The eight story, 94-unit building will feature studio and one-bedroom apartments. A day-lit lounge will be built on each floor where residents can gather and connect to the outdoors. Additionally, apartment entrances are recessed from the corridor with a shelf for convenience and to encourage individualization so that seniors can easily identify their own and others’ units.

Los Sures will manage the property and offer activities such as gardening, art, poetry and healthy cooking classes, as well as more traditional social services.

Outdoor space will include a landscaped rear yard, an accessible rooftop with raised beds for gardening, and a seating area at the building’s entrance.

Amenities for the wider public include a separately accessible multipurpose room with a warming kitchen that will be open for use by local community groups, as well as several classrooms and an adjacent office space for programming.

Juan Ramos, Executive Director of Los Sures, said: “This development will provide affordability and direct services needed to protect the aging and vulnerable population in our city and its energy saving design will help preserve the planet for their grandchildren.”

Rob Solano, Executive Director and Co-Founder of CUFFH, added: “Our hope is that these residences, with their sustainable design, will remain a standard in the continuation of providing affordable supportive housing for our aging communities.”

Rockabill Consulting and Development is serving as financial advisor for the project, which has been designed to passive house standards.

A 39-kwh solar panel system will occupy the roof of the building with centralized heating and cooling powered entirely by an electric heat pump system. This eliminates the need for residents to buy AC units. Energy recovery ventilation will also be used to provide dedicated, filtered fresh air throughout the building. Overall, the project anticipates a 44 percent energy‐cost savings. The architect for the project is Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC.

Financing was secured by Rockabill Consulting and includes a $29.5 million construction loan from Chase, a subsidy loan for $11.2 million through HPD’s SARA program and an allocation of $1.6 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), also awarded by HPD. CREA LLC and Bellwether Real Estate Capital are providing $16.3 million in tax credit equity, which is facilitating the permanent loan to be held by Freddie Mac for $17.4 million.

Mayor-Elect Eric Adams and Brooklyn Borough President-Elect Antonio Reynoso also contributed a combined total of $7 million in Reso A funds for the construction of the project.

Additional participants in the financing are Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), which provided a predevelopment loan and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which provided an award through the Buildings of Excellence program and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which has awarded Rheingold a Project Based Section 8 award for all 93 residential units (exclusive of the superintendent’s unit).

Per SARA requirements, 30 percent of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless persons.  The remaining units will be for older adults with incomes up to 60 percent of AMI.  All of the residential units will be covered through a project-based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract.

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