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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


April 30, 2003

Press Contacts:
Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
Contact: Cheri Fein - (212) 843-8019

Elected and Community Leaders, Public and Private Lenders and Residents Celebrate the Reclaiming and Renovation of Four Harlem Buildings for Affordable Housing

Buildings Had Been Owned By Notoriously Disreputable Landlords

A Harlem building that once was owned by one of the City's most notorious landlords will be the site for a celebration of that building's gut renovation into quality affordable housing, along with three other formerly derelict buildings. 232 West 122 Street had been owned by Andonis Morfesis, a Harlem landlord so infamous for failing to provide even the most basic services that he was known as the Dracula Landlord. This building alone had over 400 violations when it was taken over by Novalex Contracting, which renovated 232 West 122 Street, along with 63 West 119 Street, 571 West 151 Street, and 219 West 121 Street.

Attending a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, April 30th at 10:30 AM at 232 West 122 Street will be New York City Comptroller William Thompson, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) First Deputy Commissioner John Warren, Councilmember Bill Perkins, and Jack Greene, Senior Vice President of The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), along with community leaders and residents. All four buildings are located in neighborhoods that recently have experienced significant improvements, many financed by CPC and the City of New York.

The financing which made this possible came from a number of sources both public and private. CPC provided a $1,366,000 construction loan with the permanent takeout provided by the New York City Pension Funds. HPD provided an additional $1,824,000 in construction and permanent financing for a total construction and permanent loan of $3,190,000.

"CPC's ten year partnership with Novalex Contracting has been extremely beneficial to the Harlem community. They have done quality work to bring affordable housing to this community's residents," said Michael Lappin, president and CEO of CPC. "CPC is also proud to partner with the City with whom we have worked for more than 20 years to create programs to rescue New York's neglected and abandoned properties and bring them back to life."

"As the City's Chief Investment Officer, it is my responsibility to invest and protect the City's funds and to achieve economically targeted investments that will benefit our City for years to come," New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. said. "Our partnership with the Community Preservation Corporation has turned four rundown buildings into quality, cost-effective homes for Harlem's low- and moderate-income residents. This is an excellent investment for the pension funds and one that will help improve the Harlem community."

Although all four buildings were in severe disrepair, all but 232 West 122 Street had tenants. Those tenants, who were relocated during the renovation, are now returning to wonderful "new" homes.

HPD First Deputy Commissioner John Warren said, "These buildings demonstrate the effectiveness of public private partnerships in transforming once derelict shells into much needed quality housing."

The total rehabilitation of the four walk-up buildings included replacement of all systems, including plumbing, windows, sheet rock, boilers, and beams. The apartments have been given new kitchens, bathrooms, floors and finishes. Exteriors were cleaned, waterproofed, and painted. 232 West 122 Street, which was completely vacant, received new layouts. Combined, the buildings now provide ten studio, 13 one-bedroom, five two bedroom, and ten three-bedroom apartments.

Rents for apartments already occupied by tenants vary but fully comply with current Rent Regulation Laws. Rents for formerly vacant apartments range from $625 a month for a studio to $1,100 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The four derelict buildings, which were in substantial tax arrears, were transferred to the developer through HPD's Third Party Transfer Program. The Third Party Transfer Program, created under Local Law 37, allows the City to transfer title of tax delinquent residential properties directly from the tax delinquent owners to responsible new owners without ever taking title itself.

"I really want to thank CPC and HPD for the work they've done to create programs that allow people from the community to stay in the community. Their financing helps to keep the rents affordable. A lot of people's time and energies had to come together to make this work," said Mike Rooney, Vice President, Novalex contracting.

The Community Preservation Corporation is a mortgage lender specializing in the financing of multi-family housing in low, moderate and middle-income communities throughout New York and New Jersey. Since 1974, CPC has financed over 93,000 units for an investment of more than $3.3 billion. For more information, log onto

HPD, the nation's largest municipal housing development agency, has completed the construction or rehabilitation of more than 204,000 units of affordable housing citywide and invested over $1 billion in Harlem since July 1986. Mayor Bloomberg announced a $3 billion plan to create and preserve more than 65,000 homes and apartments in neighborhoods throughout New York City over the next five years, which will increase production of new units by 25%, as well a stream of initiatives aimed at facilitating private investment in housing. For more information about affordable housing, log onto

Novalex Contracting Corp. and its affiliated companies are developers, general contractors, managers, architects and housing consultants specializing in turning around distressed buildings and neighborhoods in New York City. Novalex and its affiliates have been involved in the development of over 600 different properties in the past ten years totaling over $200,000,000.

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