After a two-year battle ending in a six-month sprint, Queens Power/Metro IAF NY won, securing the Governor's commitment to build 2800 homes at the under-utilized, state-owned site located at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Hospital in Queens. This will be the most significant 100% affordable community development in New York City. Of the 2800 units, 1600 will be for affordable homeownership. This is the first site of many Metro IAF NY intends to fight for as part of its Public Land for Public Good Campaign. The Kingsboro Psychiatric Hospital site in Brooklyn is up next.
Queens Power dared to take on this fight as a new organization bolstered by the power and experience of East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) and Manhattan Together. This hard-fought, historic win is a true testament to the top-flight Metro IAF NY team led by Queens Power Co-Chairs, Rev. Patrick O' Connor and Ben Thomases; Manhattan Together Co-Chairs Joanne Kennedy and Rev. Getulio Cruz; and EBC Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. David Brawley, and Rev. Dr. Adolphus Lacey, Along with a fierce organizing and staff team consisting of Ivelisse Gilestra, Hanif Parker, Anna London, Sara Blazevic, Robbie Block, Nicole Guyette, Pia Horton, Trina Scotland and Nehemiah HDFC's Aaron Graf, Arshad Bacchus, and Lawrence Bell, Metro IAF NY leaders' decades of experience, imagination, and shared power anchored by Pastor Brawley's leadership overcame all odds.
The product of this two-year battle is outlined below in an article put forth in Crain's New York Business.
Hochul administration plans more than 2,800 new homes at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
by Eddie Small for Crain's New York Business
December 6, 2023
Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration wants to bring more than 2,800 housing units to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in eastern Queens.
The new residences are the crux of her master plan for the sprawling site, which she unveiled early Wednesday evening. Empire State Development and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards launched a public engagement process for the campus, which stretches out over 50 acres, at the beginning of the year to develop a master plan for it.
More than 55% of the housing units, or 1,633, will be homeownership opportunities. The plan will also include 1,240 rental housing units, split between 377 units of affordable senior housing, 431 units of supportive housing, and 432 units without age restrictions. The homeownership units will be "heavily targeted" to homes earning up to 100% of the area median income, or $113,000 for a family of two. Hochul's administration did not specify income levels for the rental units but said they would be for low- and moderate-income households.
The plan also sets aside about 14 acres for open space and includes space for a recreation center, daycare, a school, and retail.
The administration does not yet have an estimated cost for the project.
Creedmoor has served as a mental health center since 1912 and hit its peak population of patients in 1959, at more than 7,000. The number of patients dropped after that, although part of the site is still used for mental health treatment today.
The following steps for the project include launching an environmental review process and finding development partners.
A coalition of activist groups had been pushing for the Hochul administration to turn Creedmoor into a completely affordable housing development with about 3,000 residential units, arguing that the large size of the campus and the fact that it is state-owned land make it a unique opportunity for New York to increase its affordable housing supply significantly. Members of the coalition, called Public Land for Public Good, described the Governor's plan as a starting point but stressed the importance of moving quickly and committing to more affordability.
"The plan we were shown today is a good start in scale, affordability, and homeownership," said the Rev. Patrick O'Connor, co-chair of the advocacy group Queens Power. "To begin to meet the needs of the worst affordability crisis in decades, more work is needed to ensure all 2,800 units are affordable, and the first phase must create hundreds of units."
Increasing the state's housing supply has been a significant goal for Hochul, and she has lately focused on doing so through executive actions after failing to pass a more comprehensive package through the Legislature. Her administration also announced this week that it had chosen a development team to turn the Lincoln Correctional Facility, a shuttered prison in Harlem, into an affordable homeownership building with 105 units.
But the Creedmoor plan may still face at least some neighborhood opposition. Corey Bearak, a local community board member, blasted the proposal as out of character for the otherwise low-density area.
"We do not want to lose people who seek a low-density lifestyle to Long Island, Westchester, Rockland" and other suburbs, he said.