Affordable housing, revitalized Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace opens in Caton Flats

Caton Flats, a community-based development, opened over the weekend with 255 new affordable homes, an expanded Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace, and 20,000 square feet of community space.

Caton Flats, a new mixed-use development with 255 affordable homes, a revitalized and expanded Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace, and 20,000 square feet of community space, officially opened to the public over the weekend.

“We are thrilled to share the new and improved Flatbush Central with the public and to continue the legacy of the market as a vital hub for Caribbean commerce as well as a unique and inviting gathering space for the community,” said James Johnson-Piett, CEO and principal of Urbane, the project’s developer, in a statement.

The $136 million project launched in 2015 when the New York City Economic Development Corporation selected minority-owned business BRP Companies and Urbane Development to design and build the mixed-use building focused around serving local business, improving the community’s quality of life and supporting the neighborhood’s growth. 

The complex’s housing will be capped at affordable to low- and moderate-income, at 40 to 130 percent of the area median income. 

“We have a lot of work to do to tackle our city’s housing needs, but Caton Flats — as a mixed-used, mixed-income project — is exactly the type of project that will get us there, while supporting thriving neighborhoods,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “I am honored to stand with the Flatbush community in celebration of this new project and especially with the 255 families that we are welcoming to their new homes.”

A vendor shows off her wares at the reimagined Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace.Marino

In addition to providing fair housing, the space will also house an economic mobility platform and incubator program called the Mangrove business accelerator that will center around offering Black, Indigenous and other business owners of color state-of-the-art facilities for all sorts of industries such as culinary, producing natural body care and cosmetics, new media and textiles.

“The Flatbush Central Caribbean Market, now reopened on the ground floor, has been essential to the social fabric of this community for decades,” said City Housing, Preservation and Development Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Including the market in this project enhances a longtime anchor of this community and provides opportunities for culturally significant commerce and affordable housing for years to come.” 

The new and improved Flatbush Central Caribbean Market will fill the development’s first floor displaying its expanded space for vendors, a shared commercial test kitchen as well as a bar and lounge.

The new, reimagined marketplace on the first floor of Caton Flats.Marino

The development’s grand opening featured a line-up of live performances and family-friendly activities, like cooking and dancing, on May 13 and 14.

Mayor Eric Adams kicked off Friday’s grand opening celebration sharing his support of Caton Flats since its inception and pronouncing it a model for community-based development in New York City. 

“We are building a more equitable economy that will help lift up all New Yorkers, in every neighborhood and every borough,” said Adams. “This project is a model for community-based development across the city, which is why I was proud to fight for it as borough president and even prouder to see it completed today as the mayor.”

Caton Flats’ completion is the end-result of a multi-year visioning process by NYCEDC, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the New York City Housing Development Corporation with support from Councilmember Dr. Una Clarke, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry founder Dr. Roy Hastick, local elected officials, and community members. 

“Investing in opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs is what SBS’s partnership with the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry is all about,” said New York City Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim. “The expanded and improved Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace is a bridge to economic opportunity for BIPOC entrepreneurs, a hub of culture, and a pillar for our five-borough economic recovery plan.”