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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


August 14, 2002

Press Contacts:
John Yiannacopoulos (Fleet) 212-819-5927



Fleet Real Estate Finance Group, a unit of Fleet National Bank, Fannie Mae and Abyssinian Development Corporation hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony today to mark the completion of Renaissance Homes in Harlem. A number of elected officials and community and business leaders attended the ceremony, including NY State Senator David A. Paterson, Councilman Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Keith T. Wright.

The 30, 1-4 family brownstones located between W. 129th and 136th Streets were gutted and rehabilitated as part of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's HomeWorks program which promotes affordable homeownership opportunities for New Yorkers. Under the program, vacant homes owned by the city are sold to developers, rehabilitated and then sold to third-party homeowners for owner occupancy. The brownstones were restored in two phases over the course of four years, and all 33 have been sold. Novalex and Central Development Corporation served as contractors on the projects.

The majority of funding for the development was provided through a $9.8 million construction loan from Fleet Real Estate Finance Group, $700,000 in equity from Fannie Mae's American Communities Fund, and an $873,000 subsidy from the City of New York.

"Abyssinian Development Corporation is committed to building sustainable communities in Harlem," said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation. "Through our partnerships with Fannie Mae, Fleet and HPD, we are continuing to rehabilitate Harlem's housing stock to provide safe and affordable living options for Harlem families."

"This is the first American Communities Fund investment of its kind here in New York City," noted Naomi Bayer, Director of the New York Partnership Office at Fannie Mae. "Fannie Mae remains dedicated to helping more families achieve the dream of home ownership and is equally proud to contribute to the economic renaissance and revitalization of the historic Harlem community."

"Fleet is proud to have played a lead role in the financing of Renaissance Homes, particularly in the wake of President Bush's recent call to bridge the home ownership gap among minority families," said Philip Grossman, Senior Vice President and Director, Community Real Estate Finance at Fleet. "This development will help fill that gap by providing affordable, quality housing in Harlem, opening the door for many to become home owners for the first time."

"New York City HPD has invested $1 billion in housing in Harlem since 1987," said HPD Commissioner Jerilyn Perine. "The rehabilitation of these brownstones stand alongside the more than 40,000 homes and apartments in Harlem that we have built or rehabilitated during that time."

Harlem's Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC) was founded in 1989 by the Abyssinian Baptist Church as a preservationist force to reclaim Harlem's first-rate but neglected housing stock and it remains one of the most successful community development corporations in the country. ADC is committed to improving the quality of life in Harlem by increasing the availability of affordable housing for Harlem residents, enhancing the delivery of social services to the community, fostering economic revitalization, and creating new educational opportunities for children.

Fannie Mae is a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. Fannie Mae is working to shrink the nation's "homeownership gaps" through a $2 trillion "American Dream Commitment" to increase homeownership rates and serve 18 million targeted American families by the end of the decade. Since 1968, Fannie Mae has provided more than $3.8 trillion of mortgage financing for over 44 million families. More information about Fannie Mae can be found on the Internet at

Since 1998, Fleet has provided over $400 million in financing resulting in over 2,300 units of affordable housing in New York City. Most recently, Fleet received an "Outstanding" - the highest rating possible - in its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), underscoring its unwavering commitment to meeting the diverse credit needs of all the communities its serves.

FleetBoston Financial is the seventh-largest financial holding company in the United States, with assets of $191 billion. The company's principal businesses, Personal Financial Services and Wholesale Banking, offer a comprehensive array of innovative financial solutions to 20 million customers. Through its Personal Financial Services franchise, Fleet offers retail banking, wealth management and investment services, nationwide brokerage, credit card and consumer lending services. These services are available through approximately 1,500 branches and more than 3,500 ATMs in the Northeast; through Fleet HomeLink, one of the nation's leading online banking platforms, and through telephone banking. Fleet's Wholesale Banking division offers commercial banking, commercial finance, capital markets, and global processing services. FleetBoston Financial is headquartered in Boston and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FBF) and the Boston Stock Exchange (BSE: FBF).

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 1987, the agency has completed the construction or rehabilitation of 180,000 units of affordable housing.

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