Noble Drew Ali Plaza
The Moorish Mosque, f/k/a the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc.—Temple #66, pioneered the development of non-public low- and moderate-income housing in New York City. On November 20, 1968, the Moorish Mosque formed the Brownsville Housing Development Fund Corporation, (with Joseph Jeffries-EL as president), a domestic not-for-profit corporation duly organized and existing pursuant to Article XI of the Private Housing Finance Law and the Membership Corporation Law, both of the State of New York.
Brownsville Housing Development Fund Corporation organized a joint venture with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company and the Federal National Mortgage Association (FannieMae) to provide $12 million in federal financing to develop the Noble Drew Ali Plaza I, named after the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America. Noble Drew Ali Plaza I, comprising five six-story elevator buildings containing 385 apartments, was the city’s first HUD private housing project in which the sponsor, developer, architect, and contractor were all minority members. The program was established under president Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11458 — Prescribing Arrangements for Developing and Coordinating a National Program for Minority Business Enterprise, issued March 05, 1969.