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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


November 21, 2000

Department of Housing Preservation
and Development
Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176
Kim Brown (212) 863-8076

New York City Housing Partnership
John Cunningham (212) 493-7589
Bud Perrone (212) 843-8068
Rubenstein Associates

Development in the Bronx Creates 174 New Units of Affordable Housing
Award-Winning NEP Program Transforms Morris Heights Drug Haven into Safe Haven

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Jerilyn Perine and Charles A. Brass, President and CEO of the New York City Housing Partnership, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2001 University Avenue in the Bronx on Tuesday, November 21. The event brought together public officials and business and community leaders to commemorate 174 new units of affordable housing under the award-winning Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program (NEP).

The rehabilitation of 2001 University Avenue is particularly significant because of the building's checkered past. Formerly a center for drug dealers and illegal activity, the newly renovated building will be a center of neighborhood stability. The building will provide affordable housing under the management of a qualified local entrepreneur, Peter Magistro of Bronx Pro Real Estate, as well as social support services administered by the West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center. Rents are structured to maintain a stable resident population. Existing tenants will be able to rent renovated apartments at well below market rates. Their rents will be capped at 30%.

"This is an exciting day for HPD and its partners in this project," said Commissioner Perine. "But most importantly, it is a turning point in the life of this neighborhood. Returning this building to responsible local management will add to community redevelopment, a goal we share with the residents of Morris Heights."

"The ongoing transformation of University Avenue exemplifies the mission of the Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program -to rebuild once desolated neighborhoods by arming local entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to manage, renovate and eventually own tax-foreclosed, city-owned properties," said Brass.

2001 University Avenue is the largest component of a cluster of buildings in the area slated to be rehabilitated and transferred to community owners under NEP. The other buildings in the cluster are 1978 University Avenue, 1691 Davidson Avenue, 1668 Davidson Avenue, 1696 Nelson Avenue, and 30 Buchanan Place. When completed, the cluster will provide a total of 174 units of new affordable housing at a total development cost of $18.4 million.

2001 University Avenue contains two studio apartments, 23 one-bedroom apartments, 38 two-bedroom apartments and 15 three- bedroom apartments. It also features a common laundry facility.

NEP is an HPD and New York City Housing Partnership program that rehabilitates and transfers city-owned buildings to community owners. In 1999, the program won the Innovations in American Government Award, jointly sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation. In the same year, NEP was selected from among 3,477 entrants as one of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 100 Best Practices.

In addition to Bronx Pro Real Estate and the West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resources Center, HPD and the New York City Housing Partnership worked with several other partners to make the rehabilitation of the University Avenue cluster possible. EAB provided a total of $8.9 million in financing for all of the buildings, and J.P. Morgan is slated to provide a bridge loan. For the 2001 University Avenue building, Neighborhood Partnership HDFC syndicated more than $5 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal HOME funds contributed more than $4.4 million and city capital funds added more than $2.8 million.

"The Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program has proven to be an extraordinary dynamic in increasing the availability of affordable housing in New York City," commented Richard Roberto, president of EAB Community Development Corporation, the largest private sector lender for the project. "EAB is proud to join with our public and non-profit partners in this revitalization of the University and Morris Heights areas of the Bronx."

The New York City Housing Partnership works to promote development of affordable housing, revitalization of neighborhoods and expanded participation by local residents and entrepreneurs in the economic benefits of community development. The Housing Partnership was established in 1982 by the City's premier business and civic organization, the New York City Partnership, and has constructed or rehabilitated more than 20,000 units of housing. For more information, log on to

EAB is a New York State chartered, full-service bank with 100 branches in the New York metropolitan area. The EAB Community Development Corporation has provided $50 million in renovation financing for projects in the Bronx and Brooklyn developed through the Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Program.

HPD's mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation's largest municipal housing development agency. Since Fiscal Year 1994, the agency has completed the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 65,000 units of affordable housing. For more information about affordable rental housing call HPD's Affordable Housing Hotline at (212) 863-5610 or log on to

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