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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2002

Press Contacts:
Lloyd Kaplan/David Wheeler (212) 575-4545
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Public Relations

PHIPPS HOUSES AND NOS QUEDAMOS OPEN FIRST APARTMENT BUILDING IN MELROSE COMMONS

La Puerta de Vitalidad provides 61 apartments for low-income and formerly homeless families

The Bronx, New York- Phipps Houses and We Stay/Nos Quedamos today opened La Puerta de Vitalidad, the first new apartment house developed in the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area.

Located at 3103 Third Avenue at East 158th Street, La Puerta de Vitalidad serves a mixed population of low-income families and formerly homeless families in 61 units: 15 one-bedrooms, 40 two-bedrooms, and 6 three-bedrooms. Rents range from $545 to $759 per month. Fronted on Third Avenue by a multi-hued seven-story façade, the building also includes a retail outlet and 6,500 s.f. on the ground floor that is slated for a child care center to be operated by Phipps' human service company.

Phipps Houses and We Stay/Nos Quedamos formed a joint venture for the long-term planning and development of the $14 million La Puerta de Vitalidad. The building is financed by the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development through the 85/85 Program, and equity was raised through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. Construction began in September 2000 and was completed earlier this year.

"By working together on this joint venture with the community, City and State, we were able to create much-needed affordable housing and implement a key step toward revitalizing the Bronx's Third Avenue Corridor and achieving this ambitious community-based urban renewal plan," said Adam Weinstein, President and CEO of the Phipps Houses Group. "La Puerta de Vitalidad was built with considerable community guidance, and we are delighted to play a role in supporting the needs and aspirations of the community."

Yolanda Garcia, Executive Director of We Stay/Nos Quedamos, said, "Since Nos Quedamos' inception, we have strived to represent and protect the various interests of the residents of the Melrose Commons Community. The strength of any community lies in its ability to provide for its current residents and for their children, and this key step in the shared vision of the Melrose Urban Renewal Plan sets the stage for all development in the neighborhood."

Phipps Houses and We Stay/Nos Quedamos are also pursuing three more joint ventures. The first, known as La Casa de Felicidad, is directly across the street from La Puerta de Vitalidad. Construction begins in the spring of 2003 on the HUD 202-funded La Casa de Felicidad, which will provide 85 one-bedroom apartments for senior citizens, a large day room on each floor and a multitude of ground floor community spaces. The team has also been designated to develop a 50-unit building under the same auspices as La Puerta, a few blocks to the north at the junction of Boston Road and Third Avenue. Lastly, the joint venture has just been designated to renovate five City-owned buildings totaling more than 100 affordable housing units under the City's Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Both Phipps Houses and We Stay/Nos Quedamos intend to expand beyond these 300 units of affordable housing.

The Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area plan calls for approximately 1,700 units of mixed use, mixed-income new housing integrated with planned open space, healthcare, daycare, educational facilities, cultural facilities and retail. Melrose Commons, comprised of 35 blocks in the heart of the South Bronx, is also part of the larger Bronx Center Plan spearheaded by the Bronx Borough President's Office.

The Phipps Houses Group is the nation's oldest and largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development, ownership, and management of affordable housing with related community services. The organization has developed nearly 5,500 affordable apartments and continues a controlling interest in nearly 4,000 units of housing providing homes for 14,000 New Yorkers in nine communities in Manhattan, South Bronx, and Queens. Through its property management subsidiary, Phipps Houses manages 13,500 units of affordable housing in New York, both for itself and other owners, ranging from large institutions to small community groups. Phipps Houses supplements its work in housing with services that are in short supply in New York City's less advantaged neighborhoods: child care, after-school assistance, counseling, and job placement and development.

We Stay/Nos Quedamos is a grassroots, not-for-profit community organization that is comprised of local business owners, homeowners, and tenants who are working to implement their Melrose Commons plan developed collaboratively with the City of New York. Over $80 million in development has been targeted for Melrose Commons through the efforts of We Stay/Nos Quedamos.




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