Developers break ground on 287 units of affordable and supportive housing at Marcus Garvey Apartments

groundbreaking at marcus garvey apartments in brownsville
Officials celebrated the groundbreaking for nearly 300 affordable and supportive apartments at Marcus Garvey Apartments on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Services for the UnderServed

Construction is underway on nearly 300 affordable and supportive units at Marcus Garvey Apartments — including dozens of units reserved for formerly-incarcerated and formerly-homeless Brooklynites. 

Marcus Garvey Extension Phase 2, a $204 million, three-building project, is the second and final part of a push to bring more than 600 new units to the campus. All 287 of the new units will be considered affordable for Brooklynites earning between 40-70% of Area Median Income — or between $55,920-$97,860 for a family of three. At 40% AMI, “affordable” rent is considered $1,165 for a one-bedroom, and $1,398 for a two bedroom; while renters would pay $2,038 for a one-bedroom and $2,446 for a two-bedroom at 70% AMI. 

rendering of marcus garvey apartments at construction site
A rendering of part of the expansion at the future site of the development. Photo courtesy of Services for the UnderServed

According to city data, nearly 60% of households in Brownsville and Ocean Hill earn less than 50% AMI, and are considered “very low income.” Another 17.5% are considered “low income,” earning between 51-80% AMI. More than 96% of households in the area spend 30% or more of their income on rent, and only about 54% of rental units in the area are considered affordable to people earning between 31-80% AMI. 

“I am committed to increasing the housing supply to ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to find a safe, stable and affordable place to call home,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “The expansion of Marcus Garvey shows how our investments and partnerships can take a previously underutilized property and bring over 600 homes and important services to the Brownsville community.”

First constructed in the 1970s, the original Marcus Garvey Apartments, also known as Marcus Garvey Village, comprises of 625 federally-subsidized affordable apartments. In 2019, the state launched a two-phase plan to add new housing to the campus, and Marcus Garvey Extension Phase 1 — with 384 units plus community and retail space — opened in 2022.  

hochul housing plan
The expansion is part of Hochul’s plan to create and preserve affordable housing. Photo courtesy of Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Marcus Garvey Extension Phase 2 will include 88 supportive units for formerly-incarcerated people, and 55 supportive apartments for formerly homeless New Yorkers and families at risk of homelessness under the city’s 15/15 program. The development will provide myriad support services for residents — The Osborne Association will run workforce development programs, family and relationship coaching, and independent skills training for formerly-incarcerated tenants, while Services for the Underserved will offer support for formerly-homeless and at-risk residents. 

“The community I represent in Brownsville has among New York’s highest rates of people returning from state prison,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker, in a statement. “These are people who need housing, job training and other services to help them successfully re-enter society. The development is not only part of the state’s response to the housing crisis, but it also represents the best of what can be achieved when lawmakers, developers and service providers work together.”

All three buildings will be all-electric, with no natural gas used whatsoever — a climate goal included in Hochul’s statewide housing plan. Geothermal systems will heat and cool the buildings. The Marcus Garvey Apartments were outfitted with a solar panels and a battery storage system in 2017 in an effort to increase resiliency and lower electric bills. The expansion will also include landscaped courtyards, a bike storage room, and a shared resident lounge. 

rending of marcus garvey housing
A rendering of one of the new buildings at Marcus Garvey Apartments. Image courtesy of L+M Development Partners

Hundreds of affordable units have come online in Brownsville over the past few years, with dozens more slated to open over the next few years. 

“What we need to address NYC’s housing crisis is more truly affordable housing built for all members in the community, which the Marcus Garvey Apartments will help bring to Brownsville,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, in a statement. “Brownsville deserves the best housing that meets the needs of residents, from people returning from incarceration to families doing their best to make ends meet. Thank you to Governor Hochul and the many partners coming together to prioritize important projects like this that uplift whole communities.”