Mayor Adams Breaks Ground on $18 Million Marlboro Agrigultural Education Center in Brooklyn (2024)

June 1, 2024

Video available at:

New Building in NYCHA Marlboro Houses Will Serve as
Urban Agriculture Education Hub, Will Host Community Programs

Construction Will Be Accelerated Through DDC Design-Build
Program; Building to Be Completed by End of Summer 2025

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and senior administration officials today broke ground on the new $18.2 million Marlboro Agricultural Education Center at the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Marlboro Houses in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The 9,900-square-foot center will include a rooftop greenhouse that supports raising fish and plants. The greenhouses will empower young adults in underserved communities to engage with local, sustainable food production, as well as serve as learning labs for schoolchildren and visitors.

“All New Yorkers deserve access to healthy, nutritious food — you can’t have Whole Foods in Park Slope and junk food in Brownsville,” said Mayor Adams. “This state-of-the-art agricultural education center will help us get closer to that goal, while providing an invaluable, resilient space that will bring sustainable food, jobs, and education to this community. And best of all, thanks to the Design-Build contracting tool, we’ll be able to finish this project far quicker and cheaper, so this neighborhood and community can start using it sooner.”

Mayor Adams Breaks Ground on $18 Million Marlboro Agrigultural Education Center in Brooklyn (1)
Mayor Adams Breaks Ground on $18 Million Marlboro Agrigultural Education Center in Brooklyn (2)
The future Marlboro Agricultural Education Center in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Credit: Studio Gang

“Every neighborhood in New York City needs and deserves a lot more green, and Marlboro Greenhouse will green the Marlboro Houses year-round,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.“Before it’s even built, it’s already done so much — it will be delivered two years early thanks to Design-Build, showing us all what possible if New York has access to better tools to deliver projects faster and less expensively. This week, Albany can grant New York the power to deliver projects like this citywide. It must.”

“Every neighborhood in New York City needs and deserves a lot more green, and Marlboro Greenhouse will green the Marlboro Houses year-round,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.“Before it’s even built, it’s already done so much — it will be delivered two years early thanks to Design-Build, showing us all what possible if New York has access to better tools to deliver projects faster and less expensively. This week, Albany can grant New York the power to deliver projects like this citywide. It must.”

“A major part of this administration's housing blueprint is ensuring all New Yorkers have healthy and sustainable food systems,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “NYCHA's Marlboro Agriculture Education Center helps fulfill this vision, and is a model of how we can bring healthy food resources to communities as quickly as possible.”

“Using our most advanced construction tools, we are converting this space into a state-of-the-art urban agricultural center that will support local food production and will offer education, job training, and internships on-site,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “For years, Mayor Adams has advocated for construction reform for projects like these, for other public buildings, and for billions of dollars in climate resiliency projects. Right now, as the state legislative session wraps up for 2024, is the time for simple commonsense construction reform that will save years of work and millions of dollars.”

"NYCHA is very excited to be taking a huge step forward in cultivating this critical neighborhood hub for the residents of Marlboro Houses and members of the surrounding Gravesend community," said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. "It is a tremendous feeling to contribute to a project like the Marlboro Agricultural Education Center, which will yield fresh, healthy food, and serve as an educational epicenter and community gathering space. We are so thankful to our city partners for their work to help make this new climate-forward and sustainable building a reality."

“The Marlboro Agricultural Education Center represents a positive step forward in providing agriculture education for both NYCHA residents and surrounding communities,” saidMayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture Executive Director Qiana Mickie.“I would like to thank Mayor Adams for his longstanding commitment and support for providing increased access to fresh, healthy food and urban agriculture opportunities for Brooklyn public housing residents. This state-of-the-art greenhouse facility will include hydroponic and soil-based growing, a teaching kitchen, aquaponics, and an indoor market. Kudos to DDC for their spectacular work. I would also like to recognize Dr. Melony Samuels of The Campaign Against Hunger for her stalwart advocacy and partnership in realizing this amazing vision for urban agriculture.”

"A large part of food education is learning about how food is grown. Residents of Marlboro Houses will have an extraordinary asset, an Agricultural Education Center, to learn about growing food, and to enjoy the vegetables and fruits it will produce," said Mayor's Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “This is a significant investment that will have profound benefits for the community."

"This milestone groundbreaking for the Marlboro Agricultural Education Center shows that New York City is making extraordinary progress with our capital process reform initiatives, directly supporting communities with projects done more quickly, efficiently, and inclusively," said Chief Infrastructure Officer Alison Landry. "With better tools, we can do better work, and I’m hopeful that we can get expanded alternative delivery legislation passed in Albany this session."

The center will also include an indoor market for the winter; a teaching kitchen that will offer cooking classes and demonstrations for seniors, teens, and adults; and a multipurpose room for job training and other programs for the community. Educational programming will include The Campaign Against Hunger’s “Green Teens” internship and certificate programs, as well as other partnerships with community schools, camps, and non-profits. The center will be built on West 11th Street between Avenue W and Avenue X.

The building is designed to be sustainable, using materials that can endure conditions of heavy use and require minimal maintenance over a life cycle of more than 60 years. The facility, which will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standards, will be elevated to address the building’s location within a coastal flood zone, and to provide spaces with more natural light and views. The greenhouse growing areas will be located on the second floor to maximize daylight and visibility.
The building is designed by Studio Gang, the international architecture and urban design practice founded and led by Jeanne Gang, and will be built by Consigli Construction Co., Inc., a leading construction firm and general contractor.
The Marlboro Agriculture Education Center project is utilizing the Design-Build project delivery method, among the first of this kind since DDC obtained authorization in 2019 for its use on city capital projects. The Design-Build method cuts a lengthy contracting step out of the traditional project delivery method that is historically used for city capital projects, fosters increased minority- and women-owned business enterprise engagement and participation, and greatly shortens timelines.

Earlier this month, Deputy Mayor Joshi, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, DDC, and members of Mayor Adams’ Capital Process Reform Task Force were joined by labor, civic, and construction industry leaders at City Hall to call on New York State to ease restrictions and kick off a “Let NYC Build Better, Faster, and Cheaper” campaign using contracting tools like Design-Build that states around the country and the private sector successfully use every day.

“It is great that an agricultural education center will be coming to Marlboro,” said New York State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Stanton. “This is an important investment in our community which will empower youth through their learning labs for students. Thank you to Mayor Adams for prioritizing this project.”

"As the assemblymember representing Marlboro Housing, I am thrilled to see the Agricultural Education Center become a reality,” said New York State Assemblymember Michael Novakhov. “Thisinvestment is a commitment to the future of our youth. The center will be a vital educational hub for our children and a cornerstone for community programs. This project represents a significant step forward in empowering our community and fostering a brighter future."

“Today we break ground on what will become a beloved institution in New York City,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Our new $18.2 million, 9,900-square-foot Marlboro Agricultural Education Center will be a hub of urban agriculture. Young people from the Marlboro Houses and across the city will come to the greenhouse and fish farm for firsthand experience in sustainable food production. More than growing delicious plant-based foods and fish, the Center will grow and nurture the minds of generations of children, showing them that even the urban jungle of New York can be an epicenter of agriculture.”

"Urban agriculture at NYCHA is truly a fruitful endeavor,” said New York City Councilmember Justin Brannan. “Once completed, this unique rooftop oasis center will help expand access to healthy local food and transform our beloved concrete jungle into a vibrant hub of sustainability. The construction of theMarlboro Agricultural Education Centerwill be accelerated through design-build. Projects using design-build not only get done faster but often come in under budget – that's why I fought so hard to fast track design-build way back in 2019. TheMarlboro Agricultural Education Centerwillbe a place where sky meets soil;where innovation, environmental justice, agricultural sustainability, climate resiliency, and food equity all come to life. I appreciate the mayor's dedication to sustainable living practices in urban environments and I'm excited to be around to help make this important projecta reality for generations to come."

“Supported by Mayor Adams and city agencies, The Campaign Against Hunger gratefully inaugurates the Marlboro Agricultural Education Center, creating a vibrant ecosystem by advancing food equity in Brooklyn,” said Dr. Melony Samuels, CEO and founder, The Campaign Against Hunger. “This facility expands our ‘Green Teens’ program, equipping 130 youths annually with skills in sustainable food practices. Our efforts are enhancing community outreach and strengthening a food system that nourishes and unites.”

"I am thrilled that we've arrived at the groundbreaking for this monumental project for the Marlboro Houses community," said Amarilys Herrera, president, Marlboro Houses Tenant Association. "The Marlboro Greenhouse will serve as a neighborhood focal point and an incredible resource for NYCHA residents and the local Gravesend community. We are creating a safe space for everyone to gather and actively better themselves through educational trainings, community programming, and sustainable food resources —among much more — and it will be an amazing asset to the residents of Marlboro Houses."

“The construction of the Marlboro Agricultural Education Center will not only provide the Gravesend neighborhood with a new community hub and source of fresh food production but will also create hundreds of good-paying union careers for tradesmen and tradeswomen in New York through an agreed-upon project labor agreement,” saidGary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.“We thank Mayor Adams and NYCHA for their commitment to and collaboration on projects, like this one, that enrich our city, uplift underserved communities, and improve the lives of hard-working New Yorkers. Our members look forward to playing a part in this initiative and pursuing the path to the middle class it paves for them and their families.”

“The Adamsadministrationcontinues tochampion capital process reform in support of meaningful projects for New Yorkers,” said John Evers, PhD, president and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York. The increased innovation thatthe citycouldachieveif they received approval from Albany to use alternative delivery methods such as Progressive Design Build and CM-Build would be a game changer for the City of New York. We continue to support the cityin this effort and hope the state legislature passes these bills before the end of legislative session next week.”

“Creating spaces that will provide the communities we serve with opportunities for continued growth, success, and well-being is essential to Consigli’s commitment to building beyond itself,” said Laura Bush, regional director — NYC Metro, Consigli Construction Co., Inc. “The new Marlboro Agricultural Education Center will provide Brooklyn residents and the New York City Housing Authority with a sustainable greenhouse and innovative educational facility, and we are proud to partner with the Adams administration and the City of New York to deliver this critically important resource.”

“We’re proud to have partnered with the City of New York to design a building that empowers and provides for its neighborhood through urban agriculture,” said Jeanne Gang, founding partner, Studio Gang. “I am hopeful that the Marlborough Agricultural Education Center will serve as a model for how our cities can address food insecurity, promote access to healthy food, and ultimately increase equity.”


Mayor Adams Breaks Ground on $18 Million Marlboro Agrigultural Education Center in Brooklyn (2024)
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