Six-Site Pipeline for Pre-Qualified M/WBEs to Develop Affordable Housing for New Yorkers Across the City Means as Many as 260 Units Under Housing New York Plan
Workshops Continue to Provide Instruction and Expert Insight Into Industry Best Practices for M/WBEs and Nonprofit Developers

New York, NY – November 25, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been announced today the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop new affordable housing on six sites: three in Brooklyn, two in the Bronx, and one in Manhattan, in the neighborhoods of East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Melrose, Crotona Park East, and Central Harlem. One of the new measures announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase the role of M/WBEs in City housing and economic development projects, the RFP is only open to a pre-qualified list of M/WBE developers created through the competitive Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The development sites are vacant, City-owned lots, ranging from approximately 4,700 to 26,000 square feet, and will expand opportunities for M/WBEs competing for HPD-supported affordable housing development work – the goal of HPD’s Building Opportunity initiative.

“This RFP empowers M/WBEs by giving them meaningful development experience while providing affordable housing for New Yorkers across our city,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been.

“The City of New York continues to make great strides towards its goal of $16 billion in minority and women-owned business contracts, and today’s announcement is further proof of the administration’s commitment to diversifying. Tapping into this talented workforce helps to both level the playing field and improve city services. On the state level, I established a small-business mentoring program that has been extremely successful in expanding our workforce and improving access for MWBEs. I look forward to continuing our collective efforts to make MWBE inclusion a priority at all levels of government, ensuring progress for our communities,” New York State Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright said.

Senator Catharine Young, Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, said, “Making development opportunities available to those who have previously had limited ability, especially for women-owned and minority-owned businesses, creates greater economic prosperity and job growth. This program allows New York City to address the disparity in opportunities afforded by smaller, less capitalized developers in the affordable housing market. I was glad to help advance this initiative and look forward to continued progress on this important issue.”

“As chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, my priority is to ensure not only that we build truly income-targeted housing, citywide, but that we make sure that firms that are historically underrepresented in the development community –Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises – are able to compete, on a fair basis, in bidding for jobs. Making sure that these firms are able to receive contracts historically not widely available to them also ensures that we use the levers of government to improve the lives of all people, including people of more color across this city,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

HPD and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) also launched the 2015-16 capacity building course for M/WBEs in partnership with the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Holland & Knight, and Paul, Weiss. Expanding on the success of the inaugural course introduced last year, the new session includes nonprofit developers.

“Strengthening our pool of M/WBEs and nonprofits creates a more diverse industry, improves competition, and promotes community development and local job growth, all crucial elements of Housing New York,’ Commissioner Been said. “Through our Building Opportunity program, we are working on multiple fronts to expand the capacity of M/WBEs and nonprofits who are so critical to developing the quality affordable housing that will strengthen our neighborhoods. We thank our many partners in this effort and look forward to working with all the program participants to build a more diverse and equitable city.”

The 34 participating entities meet monthly from October 2015 to May 2016 on a wide range of development topics. They will hear from experts across the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. The course is intended to level the playing field for M/WBE developers. Networking is an integral part of the course. Participants will have multiple opportunities to talk with their peers, past graduates, government officials, as well as potential development partners and lenders.

The six sites will be developed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan seeks to use affordable housing as an anchor to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities.

Through state-enabling legislation sponsored by State Senate Housing Chairwoman Cathy Young and State Assembly Housing Chairman Keith Wright, HPD was able to designate this pipeline of development projects to be competitively solicited to a pre-qualified list of M/WBEs to promote the participation of M/WBEs in HPD’s loan and disposition programs. Through the RFQ issued last fall, HPD evaluated and compiled a pre-qualified list of M/WBE developers with the necessary experience and capacity to develop, maintain, and manage high-quality affordable housing. Currently, 27 developers are certified. The pre-qualified list was published on HPD’s website on June 3, 2015 and is available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdf/MWBERFQPreQualifiedList.pdf.

The sites range from 4,700 square feet to 25,762 square feet and will accommodate the development of buildings ranging from 20 units to 85 units. All proposals will be for the creation of low- and moderate-income affordable housing. At the larger sites, proposals may include ground-floor space to enhance the inventory of community and cultural spaces available in the neighborhood.

The RFP submission period is now open and runs through February 23rd, 2016. Only developers on the pre-qualified list are eligible to apply. For more information and to obtain a copy of the RFP, please visit HPD’s website at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/developers/rfp-rfq-rfo.page.

This is one of several new measures the Mayor announced recently to increase the role of M/WBEs in City housing and economic development projects. In addition, the City will establish a new $10 million predevelopment loan fund to help emerging firms secure financing to purchase land and get projects underway, as well as an additional new $10 million fund to help those firms secure the bonds they need in order to qualify for City business. Additional reforms will reduce unnecessary barriers in the RFP process and introduce a two-step RFP process to limit upfront investments and provide feedback for respondents.

Launched by HPD in 2013, Building Opportunity is a four-pronged pilot initiative to expand opportunities for M/WBEs to compete more effectively for HPD-supported affordable housing development work. Many M/WBE developers have limited access to affordable credit or land, constraining their ability to compete with larger firms for HPD subsidy in building affordable housing. The four prongs of Building Opportunity include:

Build the Capacity of M/WBE Developers
Increase Access to Capital
Encourage Developers to Use M/WBE Contractors
Increase Development Opportunities
For more information on the program, visit the ‘M/WBE Initiative’ page on HPD’s website under the ‘Developer’ section or at the following link: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/developers/mwbe-initiative.page.

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New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing.

Melissa Grace (HPD),

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