Nonprofit developer wants to build eight-story supportive housing at Woodhull Hospital

Comunilife wants to build an eight-story extension to its supportive housing complex at Woodhull Hospital.
Monica Lopez

Nonprofit developer Comunilife is looking to build an eight-story residential complex with social services and units for low-income seniors on city-owned land at Woodhull Hospital in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to officials. 

The Manhattan-based social services provider, who is in the process of finalizing a deal with the city, wants to erect the structure on the currently-empty lot at 171 Throop Ave., which would serve as an expansion of the organization’s existing six-story supportive housing project at the corner of Park Avenue.

The company operates almost 2,000 units of below-market-rate housing for homeless adults struggling with HIV/AIDS, serious mental and behavioral health issues, and other chronic medical conditions, according to its website.

The new building would have 65,320 square feet of new space for housing with supportive services for its residents, such as case management, computer classes, social activities, and referrals for community health, social service, and education programs, according to Comunilife’s president and chief executive officer Rosa Gil. 

The public hospital system — which currently owns the land – wants to fit 93 rental units into the new multi-family building at prices affordable to low-income New Yorkers, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Guzman, who noted that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has stalled progress on some parts of the project.

The planned facility would adjoin the nonprofit’s already-operational Woodhull Community Residence, which has 89 studio units — 54 for New Yorkers with special needs and 35 for low-income residents.

That original building, which opened in February 2019 on the site of a former hospital parking lot, also features a community room and a computer lab on the ground floor and cost $29 million funded by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and its state counterpart the New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

As with the already-built section of the project, the firm will work with the hospital’s staff to get medical services to the residents who need them, according to Gil. 

“Like the Woodhull Phase 1 Residence, the new building will work with the staff of Woodhull Hospital to ensure that the residents receive the ongoing medical services they require to remain healthy and stably housed,” she said in a statement. 

The public hospital system filed permits for the new structure on May 9, as first reported by New York Yimby.

Officials are likely to close on a deal some time in 2021 to lease the land to the organization for 99 years, according to HPD spokesman Matt Creegan, whose agency would fund the new project.

The developer could erect the building without a rezoning, but because it’s on public land, they still have to present their plans to the local community board and seek approval from City Council before they can break ground, according to Creegan.