Mayor's Office Press Release #406-01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMAYOR GIULIANI, CARDINAL EGAN, AND HUD SECRETARY MARTINEZ BREAK GROUND FOR NEW HOUSING IN THE BRONXNew Homes for Families and New Apartments for Seniors in the Highbridge Neighborhood
December 19, 2001
Sunny Mindel/Peter C. Fenty, (212) 788-2958
Carol Abrams, HPD, (212) 863-5176
Kelley Keeler, HUD, (202) 708-0685
Jason Langer, Archdiocese of NY, (212) 714-3537
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Edward Cardinal Egan were joined today by Secretary Mel Martinez of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), elected officials and community leaders to break ground for a new development of 60 two-family homes and a 79-unit senior housing project in the Highbridge neighborhood of the South Bronx. These two initiatives represent the latest phase in the revitalization of a community virtually abandoned in the 1970's and 80's.
"This town home development is a sure sign that Highbridge is once again a viable, safe community where New Yorkers want to live and raise their families," said Mayor Giuliani. "Homeownership gives us the opportunity to invest in our family's future while making our neighborhoods and our City stronger."
Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, said, "I stand behind this wonderful Highbridge effort with great zeal. This new initiative in this neighborhood, at this time in our City's history, is proof positive that New Yorkers continue to do what they have always done - pulling ourselves forward with brick and mortar in hand, with renewed spirit of work and collaboration, and with our eyes focused on strategies that improve the social and economic conditions in people's lives."
Working closely with the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York Archdiocese through its affiliate, Highbridge Community HDFC, transformed formerly city-owned vacant land and buildings. The neighborhood, once plagued by chop shops and drug activity, now boasts affordable housing, a primary health care center and a new recreation facility and park. The New Foundations townhouses will provide homeownership opportunities for families who are ready to buy their own homes. The two-family homes will sell for $250,000.
To finance the homeownership development, Highbridge Community HDFC has invested $3.684 million of revenues created by the efficient management of the Highbridge Unity Apartments, 29 buildings rehabilitated with $60.5 million of city capital money between 1989 and 1991 with HPD's support. The use of funds generated by Highbridge Unity buildings is a unique and innovative method of financing housing development. Highbridge Unity Apartments were rehabilitated to provide affordable rentals to low and moderate-income households with 30% of the units set aside for formerly homeless families. By managing these 722 apartments well, Highbridge Community HDFC was able to accumulate the cash reserves that now provide the equity for the new homes. Homebuyers will finance their purchase with conventional mortgages.
Along with homeownership and affordable rental housing, Highbridge Community HDFC is sponsoring Shakespeare Senior Housing, a Federal Section 202 project for low-income elderly. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has committed $9.460 million to the construction of this building, which is part of today's groundbreaking.
"Today's groundbreakings are further proof that the best is yet to come for New York City," said HUD Secretary Martinez. "Public-private partnerships are renewing urban communities across the nation, and for good reason: they work. I am proud that HUD is helping to bring New Yorkers back home to the Bronx."
In addition to the construction starts celebrated today, Highbridge has been awarded several other housing developments, including a second Federal Section 202 for low income elderly and a NY State Housing Trust Fund Project to be known as Jessup Heights Apartments with 65 units for low and moderate income families, particularly ill housed veterans and the vision impaired. The City is providing the land for both projects.