No 421a, no problem: Camber, RiseBoro land $75M for Bushwick affordable project 

Financing will build 127-unit Brooklyn development

Camber, RiseBoro Land $75M for Bushwick Affordable Housing
Camber Property Group's Rick Gropper, RiseBoro Community Partnership's Scott Short with rendering of 1601 DeKalb Avenue (Camber Property Group, RiseBoro Community Partnership, Aufgang Architects, Getty)

Camber Property Group and RiseBoro Community Partnership are developing hundreds of affordable housing units in one of Brooklyn’s hottest neighborhoods — after fending off cranky neighbors.

The partners just landed $75 million in financing to develop a 127-unit project on a vacant parcel at 1601 DeKalb Avenue in Bushwick, The Real Deal has learned. A majority of the financing was through a subsidy from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Affordable projects are expected to gain market share in multifamily rental development as the 421a pipeline runs dry. The tax break, without which market-rate rentals usually don’t pencil out, expired in June 2022.

The Camber-RiseBoro joint venture plans to break ground next month and complete the fully affordable development by the end of 2025.

Affordability levels will vary, with units restricted to households earning 40 to 100 percent of the area median income. Under HPD funding rules, 50 percent of the apartments will go to residents of the local community district, while 5 percent will be reserved for tenants with mobility challenges and 2 percent for those with impaired hearing or vision.

A majority of units will be studios and one-bedrooms, though dozens will be two- and three-bedrooms. There will be social services offices, security, bike storage, community rooms and a landscaped courtyard.

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Despite all that, the project had to overcome resistance. In 2018, according to CityLand, local residents opposed a rezoning for the project, voicing fears of displacement, albeit without demonstrating how that could happen. The gripes were mostly if not entirely from people in two adjacent buildings who did not want a new building taking up any of their light and air.

In a statement on the new funding, Camber Property Group principal Rick Gropper said the project was “critical” to affordability as the city deals with its housing crunch.

Camber owns and operates thousands of affordable housing units in Brooklyn. Last year, the firm picked up four Section 8 buildings in East New York for $107.5 million.

Nonprofit Riseboro is among the organizations developing a 2.5-million-square-foot affordable housing project in East New York. The $1.2 billion, state-backed project will create 2,400 apartments on the former grounds of the Brooklyn Developmental Center.

Elsewhere in Bushwick, a joint venture including Pennrose Holdings and Acacia Real Estate Development last year landed $117.4 million in construction take-out financing for the 1,321-unit Hope Gardens portfolio on Wilson Avenue.

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