Press | November 23, 2005

Senior Housing Complex Open Its Doors in Brooklyn

Real Estate Weekly, Construction and Design


Gates Gardens, an award-winning residence for low- and middle-income seniors, has opened its doors in the Ridgewood-Bushwick section of Brooklyn, one of New York City’s most underprivileged neighborhoods, announced Magnus Magnusson, of Magnusson Architecture and Planning, the designers of the building.


The seven-story building has 62 rental units totaling 54,000 sf and features generous landscaping, spacious community rooms for recreation and gatherings and other attractive amenities.


Gates Gardens, which was funded through the U.S. Department of Housing Preservation and Development Section 202 program, was sponsored by the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and a range of public entities, including local New York State assemblyman Vito Lopez and the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development. M. Melnick & Co., Inc. is the contractor for the project.


The exterior design of the building features various shades of brick and stone, with the entry marked by a vertically accented tower topped by a “butterflied” canopy stucco roof. The tower provides a vertical central element that houses main circulation space and resident lounges.


“This feature provides large areas of glass, affording light and view for the residents in the expanded area adjacent to the elevators,” explained Magnusson. “Thus, a social area or dayroom was created as a special resident amenity that was not otherwise a part of the program.”


The project was awarded the 2004 Citation of Merit from DESIGN, Senior Environmental Magazine and the Society for the Advancement of Gerontological Environments. Among the features which were given special attention in the awards were “sensitive linkage between building and street,” “great space organization and layout” and “very nice space outside of elevators – with kitchenette – that could be nice for morning visiting with coffee.”


In front of the building, a landscape buffer at the sidewalk and an open space with seating create what is effectively a front porch, where residents can safely observe the street and maintain social connections with the urban neighborhood. In the rear, a yard provides an outdoor gathering area and required parking.


The ground floor contains a modern lobby and two spacious community rooms. Also provided are a building management and social services office, the superintendent’s apartment and an ample laundry room, all adding up to a range of on-site amenities crucial to maintaining seniors’ independence.


“This building breaks out of the typical ‘box’ that so many HUD 202s are forced into because of budget constraints,” said Magnusson. “By working closely with Robert Lowe, the project manager from RBSCC, and the builder, Michael Melnick, we were able to create a new vision for affordable senior housing.”