Plan approved to convert Jehovah’s Witnesses hotel in Dumbo into 500-unit affordable complex

April 27, 2020

 90 Sands Street from Brooklyn Bridge; Courtesy of Breaking Ground

The New York City Council last week voted to approve plans to convert a Brooklyn hotel formerly owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses into an affordable housing complex with 508 units. Developed by nonprofit Breaking Ground, the project at 90 Sands Street in Dumbo sets aside 305 apartments for formerly homeless New Yorkers, with the remaining 203 rentals priced below market-rate. Breaking Ground plans to renovate the existing 29-story building and add a public plaza along Jay Street.

“Now, more than ever, New York City needs new supportive and affordable housing for the homeless and lower-income individuals,” Brenda Rosen, CEO of Breaking Ground, said. “With the City Council’s approval of Breaking Ground’s ULURP application for 90 Sands, we are on our way to bringing 500 much-needed affordable units to DUMBO, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the borough.”

The 300-plus supportive units for those formerly homeless will also offer residents on-site social services from the Center for Urban Community Community Services, including case management, benefits counseling, job placement, primary medical care, and more.

The remaining units will be available to households earning 30 to 100 percent of the area median income, with apartments priced from $504/month for a studio to $2,000/month for a one-bedroom. Amenities include an attended lobby, community room, fitness center, a digital library, and the public plaza.

“I was proud to support Breaking Ground’s application to develop over 500 units of affordable housing in DUMBO, and thrilled that the City Council has approved this important project,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said. “As I have said from the beginning, this public health crisis did not put the other crises our borough was facing, including the affordability crisis, on hold – if anything, it only exacerbated them.”

A luxury 600-key hotel was originally planned for 90 Sands Street after RFR Realty bought the property in 2017 for $135 million. The developer sold the site to Breaking Ground for $170 million the following year. The tower on Sands Street was part of a six-building portfolio sold by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2013, as the Real Deal reported.

The rezoning application will next move on to Mayor Bill de Blasio for approval.


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