local business owner, resident of Downtown Brooklyn and The Alloy Block's Equity Officer.
Alloy has taken its construction hiring outreach to a new level, going above and beyond to reach MWBE contractors across the borough and hiring an Equity Officer to oversee that work. None of this would be possible without the help of Ed Brown, a lifelong Downtown Brooklyn resident.
The Alloy Block will be built by Brooklynites
Tell us a bit about your work on the project. How did you get involved with the Alloy Block?
Alloy knew about my work in the area with MWBE contractors and sought me out. Right away, I thought it was pretty meaningful that they wanted to talk, and really interesting that they’d created this Equity Officer role, something I hadn’t heard of for a development project before. A lot of developers talk about diverse and local hiring goals, but not all of them back up the talk. Alloy had a plan in place: don’t just meet MWBE goals, but exceed them. I got to work offering guidance and providing referrals. In the end, what my work did was get these firms, many of them pretty small, to the table – firms that probably wouldn’t have had a chance to bid on a project like this otherwise.
You grew up in Downtown Brooklyn and for years have lived in the area. What do you find compelling about the Alloy Block?
This is a project that, for me, is about opportunity. It will provide affordable housing so people who live in the area can have a chance to stay in the area. It’ll also provide opportunities not only for new businesses to grow, but to support other businesses in the area struggling to get back on their feet after the pandemic. Development in this area should be about providing opportunity.
Does your work with Alloy take on added meaning given the pandemic?
Oh, absolutely. The timing couldn’t be better. I mean, we all know that people out there are struggling. We need job opportunities more than ever. Given all of this, and the challenges ahead, the start of construction this spring really is perfect timing – this is going to provide a real opportunity to businesses struggling to get by. And it’s a testament to the work Alloy put in with me during the approval process. That work will go a long way in proving that this project is development done right: development that’s focused on equity, focused on providing opportunity.