Mayor Eric Adams, joined politicians, community leaders and organizations, URBANE and BRP to officially open Caton Flats, a 14-story building, that houses 255 low- and middle-income homes, and the Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace at the intersection of Flatbush (Dr. Roy A Hastick Sr. Way) and Caton avenues in Brooklyn.
Before cutting the ribbon, on Friday, May 13, the politician applauded the economic development as a significant moment in the spirit of the late Dr. Roy Hastick who was a mentor and friend.
“I recall when he planted the seed of this idea in concept, of how we use this space, not to displace but to build up.
“This is a rich Caribbean community. The Caribbean diaspora has held down Flatbush for so long, and to incorporate the housing with the business I think that the the team really put it together, to give training so that we can continue to evolve, as our communities evolve.”
“Two-hundred and fifty-five affordable homes, and an extended food market retail space and most importantly a community space,” said Adams.
“The projects made use of city property by the combination that we put together at this corner, said Adams, sharing that he had purchased a bedroom set in the old Caton marketplace. “I have always spent my money in my community. I come here to patronize small businesses, to create a new pathway to economic future.”
He thanked, URBANE, and BRP for having a vision. “This happened through hard planning and allocating of resources to make the project go from a dream to actualization, he said, thanking Meredith Marshall, co-founder and managing partner of BRP Companies, along with private partnerships.
Mayor Adams, also applauded newly elected officials, singling out Assemblymember Rita Joseph, in whose 40th NYC Council District Caton Flats is located, and that he said has new energy, and vibrancy.
“We can do this together. We have more in common, than we have that’s different. When we put aside our differences and focus on our commonalities, we can build structures and build people at the same time,” said Adams.
Andy Cohen, managing partner, BRP, said Caton Flats structure boosts retail space, incubator for entrepreneurs, the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CACCAI), that had the support of people from all walks of life, who worked for the heart of Flatbush.
He said he sat in the backyard of the late Dr. Hastick, drinking mauby, and acknowledged the legacy the Grenadian-born leader left behind.
“We would not be here without his vison,” he said and thanked Renee and Camile Hastick, who were in the audience.
James Johnson Piett, founder of Urbane Development that serves underserved communities across America, to promote internal wealth generation, said it has been Seven years since the housing development project started.
Piett, said the marketplace, with all things Caribbean, was the vision of Dr. Una Clarke, who made sure he was a good steward, who followed her vision for a legacy. He also applauded Dr. Roy A. Hastick for bringing people together, and for his vision for the building, while thanking vendors for helping him to grow. He described, Lisa Thompson, manager of the Caribbean Marketplace, as a world class market operator and lauded her work.
URBANE provided training, management, and business development for the 47 vendors to help them flourish.
Meredith Marshall, co-founder/Managing Partner of BRP Companies, in turn, called the project a labor of love, that came full circle, and thanked everyone, for choosing the best developer, for the job, while noting the love his team had for the Hastick family and thanked the daughters in the audience.
“Unfortunately, your father couldn’t be here. Thanks for sharing your vision for the marketplace,” said Marshall.
Dr. Una Clarke, via a video response, from Jamaica in the Caribbean, said welcome all to Central Brooklyn Marketplace, I am honored and privileged to welcome the community and all the visitors who will visit the marketplace and find it a welcoming site.
She expressed excitement and gratitude to all who over the 20 years worked with the community to bring realization to the Caribbean Marketplace on Flatbush Avenue, at Caton Flats.
She congratulated the vendors, whom she said have struggled over the years, in dignity to get a small income from their small businesses at the old Caton Market.
Clarke thanked all the mayors who have supported her, from the time she served as a City Council member, and after she completed her tenure. This allowed her to push government agencies for funding for the marketplace, and capital dollars that benefit the Caribbean Marketplace.
“I am more excited that we can have a wider range of products from the Caribbean and the vendors who are also from the general area. All of us feel the pride that I feel that the marketplace remains a centerpiece of Flatbush Avenue,” said Dr. Clarke
Councilmember Rita Joseph recalled how merchants were ill-treated while plying their products in the parking lot, thanking Dr. Clarke for her vision.
She is hopeful that the affordable housing in Caton Flats would accommodate, many students whom she said had to enter shelters due to lack of affordable housing. “This is amazing, and we are counting on you to continue this project, she told agencies.
“Thanks to my colleagues in government, and thanks to the small business owners that incubated businesses that can create generational wealth. Come back and spend your money,” not only on Labor Day, but all year round,” she urged.
Assemblymember Brian A. Cunningham, of the 43rd District, in turn thanked Dr. Clarke, Diane Richardson and all his predecessors, for seeing the project completed. He recalled visiting the old Caton marketplace with his Jamaican mother, a place that was familiar to her.
He said he is happy that his children would be able to “visit this marketplace.”
“I want to thank the Hastick family, sorry he is not here, but his name floats above and he is looking down on us today. We look forward to you coming back to the 43rd Assembly District and spending your money and developing more of these projects in the community.”
A wide-cross section of the community attended the opening of the marketplace that was celebrated with steelpan music by pannist Selwyn Branker of Flagathon, and members of Tropicalfete’s Stilting Unit, founded by Alton Aimable.