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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Mayor's Office Press Release #204-03

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 21, 2003

Press Contacts:
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Carol Abrams (HPD) (212) 863-5176
Matt Higgins (LMDC) (212) 587-9339

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, HUD SECRETARY MEL MARTINEZ AND GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI ANNOUNCE $50 MILLION PROGRAM FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN LOWER MANHATTAN

Grant to Fund Over 300 Units for Moderate to Middle Income Working Families

The affordable apartments in Lower Manhattan announced on 7/21/03 are at least 18 months away from being marketed. When that time comes, each developer will advertise the availability of applications and the specific eligibility criteria in a major citywide daily newspaper. A lottery will then be held among qualified applicants. In the meantime, individuals looking for rental and homeownership opportunities may visit www.nyc.gov/hpd to view current listings.

More specifically, the links are as follows:

The City itself does not rent the apartments nor sell the homes, but works with real estate professionals and community sponsors to market them. You will see phone numbers or mailing addresses listed for our marketing partners, and you will need to contact them directly to fill out an application and enter it in the lottery. In addition to income guidelines, the marketing agent will consider the applicant's credit worthiness. In order to be eligible, you must occupy the apartment or home as your primary residence.




Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Mel Martinez, Governor George E. Pataki and announced today that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) will allocate $50 million in HUD funding, including surplus from the LMDC Residential Grant Program, for an affordable housing initiative. The grant will fund approximately 300 affordable units for moderate to middle-income working families in the income range of approximately $50,000 to $85,000.

"Lower Manhattan's residential renaissance is integral to our Administration's vision for Lower Manhattan, as well as our plans to create or preserve 65,000 units of housing over the next five years," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Affordable housing is fundamental to New York City's long-term economic prosperity and today's announcement demonstrates that in these difficult budget times, the City has found innovative news ways of funding it. The investments we are making today will help to create the kind of Lower Manhattan we want - a vibrant and diverse 24/7 community for people to live, work and play in. I want to thank Governor Pataki, HUD Secretary Martinez, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for their continued dedication to the housing component of the revitalization of Lower Manhattan."

"President Bush and I have pledged to do all that we can to bring stability, restore prosperity, and enhance the livability of Lower Manhattan neighborhoods," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "We have an important opportunity here to help families find an affordable place to live. HUD grants continue to improve housing in Lower Manhattan by attracting new residents and encouraging others to stay."

"Having a safe, affordable place to call "home" is part of the American Dream, and something every New Yorker should have the opportunity to achieve," said Governor George E. Pataki. "This program will make it easier for hundreds of hard-working New Yorkers who want to settle downtown find an affordable place to live, build a bright, stable future for their families, while simultaneously rebuilding and revitalizing Lower Manhattan."

"Thanks to the support of Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and Secretary Martinez, this program will be the first of several initiatives to create affordable housing for working families in Lower Manhattan," said LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe. "These funds will ensure that a diverse range of professionals including firefighters, police officers, and teachers can become part of downtown's thriving residential community."

The program will provide a $50 million grant for subsidies for affordable housing tied to the Liberty Bond program, jointly administered by the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). The program will require that 20% of the units developed, for the next four projects or until the $50 million is fully allocated, be provided for affordable housing.

The New York Liberty Bond program is a joint City-State initiative that provides tax-exempt private activity bonds for the construction and renovation of commercial and residential facilities. The bonds provide incentives for developers to continue the expansion of the residential market in Lower Manhattan by making construction and/or permanent mortgage loans available for residential rental projects located within the Liberty Zone. The Liberty Zone is the area located on or south of Canal Street, East Broadway (east of its intersection with Canal Street), and Grand Street (east of its intersection with East Broadway). More than 1,300 units have been approved for Liberty Bonds and over 6,000 units are in the pipeline.

Lower Manhattan was the fastest growing residential neighborhood in New York City prior to September 11, 2001. Immediately following September 11, 2001, vacancy rates climbed to over 40% in some areas and the stabilization of the residential base became essential to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan. The LMDC Residential Grant Program (RGP) funded by HUD contributed significantly to the stabilization of the neighborhood by attracting new residents to the area, encouraging existing residents to stay, and providing an incentive for two-year leases. Residential occupancy rates in Lower Manhattan are now over 95% and Battery Park City has higher occupancy rates than at any other time in its history. More than half of the residents in the area closest to the World Trade Center site are new residents.

"New residential development is happening all around Lower Manhattan," said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner and Housing Development Corporation Chair Jerilyn Perine. "Over 1500 apartments are now in construction - that is more than fifteen percent of the 10,000-unit goal laid out in the Mayor's vision for Lower Manhattan just seven months ago."

The Mayor announced his administration's New Housing Marketplace: Creating Housing for the Next Generation plan on December 10, 2002, which will dedicate $3 billion in funds over the next five years, creating or preserving 65,000 units of housing; of these 27,000 units will be new and 38,000 units will be preserved. 25% more new units of housing will be constructed over the next five years when compared to the last five years. The plan includes a stream of initiatives aimed at facilitating private investment in housing in targeted communities by removing barriers to development and reducing costs of construction. As of July 1st, 2003, the official kick-off of the plan, the Housing Development Corporation already started 1,749 units, and by next July, HDC and Housing Preservation and Development anticipate starting 8,030 units of housing.




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