Plans to convert the former Greenpoint Hospital complex into affordable housing may be stalled as ever, but it’s not like nobody’s living there. According to DNAInfo, squatters have taken up residence in the abandoned building, much to the chagrin of its neighbors.
Residents of the nearby Cooper Park Houses say in the last two weeks they’ve seen squatters “coming and going from the abandoned building with mattresses and dogs, disappearing into the building’s basement though an unsecured door,” raising concerns about safety, and exacerbating long-simmering frustration about the (lack of) redevelopment, which has been promised for decades.
In theory, the city was going to “put out a request for ideas for affordable housing on the site” by January—something, DNAInfo notes, residents have been gunning for since 1983—but that never happened.
It’s hardly the first delay in recent memory: back in 2015, Mayor de Blasio reopened the project after the contractor the city had selected in 2012 was arrested on bribery charges. That sort of gained steam, in that the city did host a series of “visioning sessions” to get neighborhood input, and promised to put out an official RFP “soon.” But they didn’t, and in February 2016, DNAInfo recalls, the call for proposals was delayed indefinitely, in part because the site was being used as a laundry facility for homeless shelters, and in part because some of the site was under consideration for the National Register of Historic Places.
In December of 2016, a rep from the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation told the community board the city would release a Request for Expressions of Interest (not an RFP) in January 2017. It is now June.
"We've continued to work on this exciting project and expect to be able to release the RFEI this summer," HPD spokeswoman Juliet Pierre-Antoine told DNAInfo, though she declined to comment further. But as Eric Lang, housing director at St. Nicks Alliance, which is part of the Greenpoint Renaissance Neighborhood Coalition, and which owns and operates offices and affordable housing in other parts of the complex, points out, that’s basically now. “The summer is like next week,” he said.