City Awards Brooklyn's Caton Market Development Project To Black-owned Company

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BRP Managing Partner Meredith Marshall, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte in background and Ms. Torres-Springer. Photo: Black Star News

BRP Development Corporation (BRP), an African American-owned firm has been selected by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) for a multi-million dollars project to develop 166 affordable housing units in Brooklyn and to transform the Flatbush Caton Market into a complex for vendors that will also have business incubators.

The rebuilt complex will also house the Caribbean American International Trade Center, which has long been a vision of one of New York's leading entrepreneurs Roy Hastick, President and founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce (CACCI).

Yesterday Hastick, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and scores of New York's top political and business leaders joined Maria Torres-Springer President of NYCEDC for the announcement in front of the Caton Market at 794 Flatbush Avenue.

“By providing a newly renovated market, classroom and incubator space, and affordable housing, we are continuing our work to build an equitable and diverse economy that responds to the unique DNA of every neighborhood," Ms. Torres-Springer said. "Thanks to Borough President Adams, Council Member Eugene, and everyone else who made this exciting project a reality.”   

She added: “Since 2001, Flatbush Caton Market has served as an important home for local vendors and entrepreneurs, and together with BRP Companies and our elected and neighborhood partners we are ensuring a bright future for the Market as a commercial, cultural and community cornerstone.”

In a prepared statement, Mayor de Blasio said, "The affordable housing will help Flatbush continue to be a diverse neighborhood where people from every walk of life can live. We challenged our agencies to find new ways to infuse affordable housing into their projects, and this development is a testament to that focus. We are so grateful for the support of all the elected officials and community partners working to move this new facility forward." 

The selection of BRP, a Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), followed extensive discussions with local elected officials and community stakeholders, who identified the community’s desire to bring new affordable housing and jobs to the area while protecting the current market vendors and providing expanded support to help them thrive and grow, NYCEDC officials said.

In earlier remarks, Meredith Marshall, BRP Managing Partner and Co-founder, said: "In addition to the revamped market, the project will offer approximately 166 mixed-income apartments. Caton Flats will play a critical role in providing area residents with an affordable place to live, and local entrepreneurs with a place to grow and succeed. BRP is an industry leader in developing mixed-use, mixed-income urban housing that prioritizes both affordability and design, with an additional commitment to the communities in which we operate. We will bring our proven track record, and expertise in, affordable development to Caton Flats. We look forward to working with NYCEDC throughout the development process." 

Of the nearly 166 proposed residential units to be created 20 percent will be available for low-income residents, 30 percent for moderate-income residents, and 50 percent for middle-income residents, officials said.

The proposed new community space will provide facilities to promote entrepreneurship through training and capacity-building programs, officials said. BRP plans to partner with Urbane Development to provide educational programs focusing on management skills and business development strategies for small retailers. BRP also has committed to provide a temporary space for current market vendors during the new construction.

Brooklyn Borough President Adams said he and other officials would keep an eye on the project to make sure that the contractor delivers on creating jobs, affordable housing and protecting the interests of the local vendors who were there before the neighborhood attracted wealthier business. The project was critical because it would be "the anchor to the revitalization of this entire community," Adams said.

Council Member Mathieu Eugene echoed Adams words, saying, "We must all work together to make sure that the needs of the vendors and the community are being met, and I will continue to advocate for the vendors and make sure that they remain a top priority as we move forward in this process.”

As a clear sign that the gathering was aware of his contribution to development in New York and specifically in Brooklyn is well-known, Dr. Hastick, the CACCI president was accorded the most sustained applause when he spoke.

Hastick paid tribute to Shirley Chisholm, born to Guyanese immigrants, who became the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968, saying she would have been proud to see the development in the neighborhood and the creation of the Trade Center. In earlier comments, Hastick said: "The creation of CACCI's Caribbean American Trade Center within the new development will provide a permanent home for CACCI's programs, which promote small businesses and trade and investment opportunities for New York City's Caribbean American and other communities. I am pleased with the development team's focus on enhancing the market and look forward to working with NYCEDC, BRP and Urbane to offer new training and business development programs."  

The gathering also recognized former Council Member Una Clarke, who was instrumental in the creation of Caton Market in 2001 by supporting the street vendors on Flatbush at a time, as she recalled, when they were told to "take it where you came from."

Clarke is the mother of U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, who could not attend but in a prepared statement said, “This project will provide some of the affordable housing that central Brooklyn desperately needs, particularly as all of the residential units will remain affordable to working families." She added, "I will continue to work with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Department of Small Business Services, elected officials, and members of the community to support the success of this project for the vendors who sell products at the market and the families who will soon have an affordable home there.” 

Others who spoke at the event included Assembly Members Diana Richardson and Rodneyse Bichotte.

NYCEDC is New York City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs.

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s "Housing New York" plan, NYCEDC seeks to incorporate into its Request For Proposals (RFP) development opportunities that promote mixed-use, mixed-income development throughout the five boroughs.

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