The Kingsboro Psychiatric Center site in East Flatbush will be redeveloped as part of the state’s Vital Brooklyn initiative, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend, with the centerpiece being a new residential complex boasting 900 affordable apartments.
The $400 million project aims to “transform” 7.2 acres at the western end of the Kingsboro site, at 681 Clarkson Ave, into a large mixed-use development as part of the governor’s $1.4 billion initiative to invest in Central Brooklyn in order to address longstanding inequalities the area has borne the brunt of. The psych hospital will remain at the site.
“The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the inequalities among the state’s at-risk and in-need communities, including a fundamental need for safe and affordable housing,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, we are better addressing these needs by transforming underutilized land on the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center campus into a community-oriented development that provides housing and programming to better serve those in-need, building New York back better, fairer and stronger for all.”
The 900 homes will include supportive housing and senior housing, and two existing homeless shelters on the site, Kingsborough Star Men’s Shelter and the Salvation Army Men’s Shelter, will be rebuilt. The shelters will be rebuilt on a different patch of the site and, once open, residents will be moved to the new facilities and the old ones will be torn down. Thirty-five percent of units on-site will be affordable for those making below 50 percent of area median income, a source at Douglaston Development, the main developer of the project, told Brooklyn Paper.
Other amenities will include public green space, a basketball court, urban farming space, a 10,000 square foot grocery store, a 7,000-square-foot “community hub” for after-school programs, with computers and classroom space, free wifi, exercise rooms, and performance space.
The governor’s office says the development will create 200 permanent jobs in the area, and 3,700 construction jobs. The project is being developed by Douglaston Development in conjunction with several other local nonprofits, and was designed by Adjaye Associates.
Cuomo launched Vital Brooklyn back in 2017, with a stated aim of investing in the area to combat poverty, crime, and poor health care outcomes. The marquee item of the project so far has been Shirley Chisholm State Park, which first opened back in 2019. Another major, and controversial, facet of the project has been the consolidation of several Brooklyn hospitals — Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center, and Brookdale Hospital — under the umbrella of nonprofit One Brooklyn Health. That consolidation has involved the shutdown of patient services at Kingsbrook, leaving many fearing worse health care outcomes for East New York and Brownsville residents.
Since it’s a state project, the development will not go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), but rather the state’s somewhat less formal General Project Plan. The developers are planning to do community engagement work with local stakeholders such as community boards in the coming months.
If all goes to their plan, the site is expected to begin opening for business in about four years.