Brooklyn, NY According to Brooklyn Music School (BMS) and the Gotham Org., plans have been made to build a new, 20,000 s/f facility for BMS as part of a 167,000 s/f mixed-use development in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District. The plans expand the BMS headquarters by 20,000 s/f adjacent to its existing facility, allowing the celebrated cultural institution to meet its consistently growing demand from students of all ages, incomes and experience.
Along with expanding BMS’ facility, the proposal calls for the creation of 120 new homeownership residential units. 30% of the residences (approximately 36 units) will provide the rare opportunity for moderate-income affordable homeownership in a historic district. The permanently affordable homes will be available to households earning a range of incomes from 70-100% of the metro area median income.
The balance of the units will be market rate, which will subsidize the ability to provide moderate-income homes without the need for public capital.
In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, the opportunity for those of moderate income to buy in the Brooklyn submarket, which is burdened with a high cost of entry, addresses disparities of opportunities in the housing market, and removes a steep barrier to building homeowner equity. Residences will be family-oriented, with unit sizes and distributions catering to families so that they can grow and put down roots in the local community, rather than exhausting income on rent.
Complementing the neighborhood’s legacy of blending civic institutions with residential density, the 24-story building designed by FXCollaborative will fill in a currently empty lot and architecturally blend with the surrounding community with appropriate scale. The building’s massing, along with its Neo-Romanesque design, was carefully designed to create a transition between the church and the tower on adjacent lots. The project’s facade also creates a direct visual connection to the existing school while providing a new accessible front door with a pattern of vertical windows and palette of light-colored brick and limestone.
“For 110 years, Brooklyn Music School has brought the joy of music and performing arts to our community, with a special focus on the disadvantaged, immigrants, and lesser heard artistic voices. This partnership with the Gotham Org. allows us to expand the depth and reach of our services, which have benefited generations of children and emerging artists. Our collaboration with Gotham will provide us the room to continue our growth and create an exceptional environment for learning, performance, and forming that special sense of community through music,” said Shelby Green, of the board of trustees of Brooklyn Music School.
“We want to give special thanks to the New York City council, the mayor, and the department of cultural affairs, and our council member Laurie Cumbo for their ongoing support of the modernization and expansion of this treasured community cultural resource,” she said.
The new facility will more than double BMS’ instructional space, allowing the school to accelerate its programming for underserved communities. BMS serves over 8,000 students at its historic site in Fort Greene and at 24 schools, community centers, and senior centers across NYC. More than 80% of the students served receive music and performing arts instruction at no or reduced cost. The cultural center will be wholly owned by BMS.
The larger, modernized facility will allow for more diversity of programming including a digital music lab which will expand the electronic music programming BMS has offered under Beats for Peace, a partnership with the New York City Department of cultural affairs and the School of Integrated Learning under the NYC Anti-Gun Violence Initiative. The new facility will enable BMS to expand the range of programming catered to seniors and disabled community members. In addition, the construction schedule ensures that this treasured community resource will remain open through facility upgrades with no interruptions to its services.
The Gotham Organization has a long history of partnership with New York institutions to build affordable housing, schools, community facilities and cultural spaces.
“Public private partnerships, like this one, help create opportunities that directly benefit the neighborhood and its residents,” said Bryan Kelly, executive vice president of Gotham Org. “Not only will BMS be able to serve more of the community in more ways, this plan gives New Yorkers of moderate income means the security of establishing a long-term home and the ability to generate equity.”