It is with great pleasure that I am sending you the next update on our Expansion Campaign. After many years of planning, raising money and working with the City on different aspects of our project, we are getting very close to getting started on our building expansion. Our expanded building will provide us with urgently needed space to expand our services and ensure that we are able to keep our promise of never having a waiting list and never turning away a client in need.
We will soon begin construction on our home here on Spring Street and Sixth Avenue. While the building is being renovated, we will move our operations to a temporary home. The move to a temporary location is vital to ensuring our commitment that there will be no interruption in our clients’ meal service.
We are pleased to announce that we are targeting the move to the new location for August 2013.
We are busy negotiating a lease in the former Pfizer building, located at 630 Flushing Avenue in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The building has been transformed into a mixed use “destination” and includes such companies as the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, One Lucky Duck, People’s Pops, Atlas Scientific and dozens more. The G train Flushing Avenue stop is on the corner of the Pfizer building, and the building is also close to the J and M trains at the Lorimer Street or Flushing Avenue stations.
We are also pleased to announce that we have concluded our agreements with the owners of the adjacent property to our north. Because of your commitment to God’s Love, we want to share some information with you about that agreement. As our volunteers are always our best ambassadors, your having up-to-date, accurate information is so important.
As part of the agreement, we are selling the owners of the adjacent property some of our excess, unused development rights. That sale is providing critical funding for our project. Here are some further details:
- Our expanded building, which will be 6 stories high and approximately 48,500 square feet, does not require any special governmental approval.
- The sale of the unused development rights does not require special approval.
- The adjacent lot is currently zoned to permit a residential building that could exceed the height of the 14-story building the owners have proposed. The sale of the excess development rights does not affect the height of the adjacent building but does permit it to be approximately 30 feet wider at floors 3 through 14.
- In order for the adjacent project to fully utilize the development rights we are selling to them, God’s Love has agreed to permit the residents of the new residential building to use a limited amount of outdoor space (referred to as open space) on the God’s Love renovated building.
The usage of the open space on our building by the residents of the adjacent building was presented to the City for consideration. The application received the support of Community Board 2, and has been approved by the City Planning Commission and the Mayor’s Office. The open space will also be used by God’s Love. Among other features, we will install an herb garden on the roof. We are excited that we will be able to grow herbs on the roof for use by our kitchen in our client meals.
As we get ready to move, I realize that for all of us, changing our routine can be challenging, and that the South Williamsburg location will not be as convenient as our SoHo home for many of our volunteers. Please know that we did not plan our move to Brooklyn lightly. We looked for a very long time for a temporary space that would meet our operational needs. We needed a large, commercial kitchen that could handle our volume of cooking, an accessible loading dock that did not have restricted hours and too many competing users, large enough office space with adequate technology that could house our staff and volunteers and enable us to do our work, and just as importantly, offer our staff and volunteers good access to public transit. This location meets all of our needs, and will allow us to maintain the level of service our clients have come to expect. We feel lucky to have found it.
As I mentioned at the Volunteer Appreciation Party in April, I ask that each of you consider coming out to the Pfizer building for at least one shift to see our new (temporary) home and to help us as you always do. If you find that the travel there is simply not possible, we certainly hope that you will stay involved with God’s Love in other ways until we return to our expanded and beautiful home on Spring Street and Sixth Avenue. We expect that to be sometime in late 2014.
I am committed to keeping you informed about our temporary move and building project, and, in the coming weeks, I will circle back with more details as they are finalized. As our project gets underway, we will post new photos and videos of our progress on our website and on social media, and we will let you know when that gets underway.
Our Volunteer Department will soon be sending out a volunteer survey, as we want to hear your thoughts as well as get an idea of how we need to structure the volunteer schedule in Brooklyn to better accommodate your schedules. Please watch for it and respond; your input is critically needed to the process. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact David Ludwigson at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your amazing dedication to God’s Love and to our clients. We look forward to continuing this journey with you as we forge ahead towards a new chapter for our organization.
All my best,
President & CEO