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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


December 1, 2003

Press contact: Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176
To apply for an apartment, please call the developer at 212-309-2990
or visit
To request a homeownership kit, call 311.


Construction Begins on City Sponsored Mixed-Use Development Complex Along East Houston Street

Rendering of Avalon Chrystie Place
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, New York City Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Jerilyn Perine, and AvalonBay Communities Vice President for Development Fred Harris joined other city and state officials and community leaders to break ground for Avalon Chrystie Place, the first of a four-building development along East Houston Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The event also celebrated the contributions of the Cooper Square Task Force, a city-initiated collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and elected officials, whose study and recommendations formed the basis for the transformation of the Cooper Square Urban Renewal Area, where Avalon Chrystie Place is now being constructed at a cost of $150 million.

Deputy Mayor Doctoroff said, "This is a great day for the City of New York. This magnificent mixed-use development is located at the crossroads of four dynamic Lower Manhattan Neighborhoods, the East Village, the Lower East Side, NoHo, and NoLita. It will provide over 700 new rental apartments, retail outlets and a beautiful community center and create hundreds of jobs. Best of all, the Cooper Square community was a full partner in the decision making process."

Guided by a planning consultant, the Cooper Square Task Force sought to strengthen the areas surrounding the urban renewal sites while reflecting the scale and character of the adjacent neighborhood. The group formulated a consensus around all aspects of the urban renewal area redevelopment including new construction, disposition of City-owned buildings, limited demolition and relocation and the preservation of the Liz Christy and Rock' n' Rose Gardens. Their recommendations were incorporated into the competitive Request for Proposal issued by HPD in March 2000. Chrystie Ventures, LLC, lead by AvalonBay Communities, Inc., a publicly traded, national real estate investment trust, was designated the developer on July 20, 2000. Phipps Houses, an established not-for-profit housing developer in New York City, was included in the original proposal and will develop one of the four buildings.

"We are excited by the opportunity to bring the AvalonBay name and a superb new development to Manhattan," said Fred Harris, AvalonBay Communities Vice President for Development. "It is extremely gratifying for us to be able to offer New York City residents a wonderful living option in a vibrant community and together with our community center partners, the YMCA of NYC and University Settlement, to provide the neighborhood with a splendid center for recreation, learning, and services."

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, advised by JPMorgan Fleming, is to be part owner of Avalon Chrystie Place, providing $25 million of equity financing.

NY State comptroller Alan Hevesi, the sole trustee of the New York Common Retirement Fund, said, "The Lower East Side is growing rapidly, and now, thanks to Avalon Chrystie Place, there will soon be 361 additional housing units, and new retail space. The $25 million investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, along with a $6 million investment from our partner, AvalonBay, gives the Fund an 80 percent equity stake in the project. That's important because in addition to creating much-needed housing in New York City, we are also helping to create jobs and to generate above average returns for the retirement plans of our 965,000 members. I look forward to working with your partners to continue developing more housing for all New Yorkers."

The developer, Chrystie Ventures LLC, is providing over $6 million of equity. Additional financing comes from the sale of $117 million of tax-exempt bonds issued by the NY State Housing Finance Agency (HFA). AvalonBay Communities Inc. paid the City 13.5 million for the land.

"The New York State Housing finance Agency is pleased to invest $117 million in the development of Avalon Chrystie Place," said Stephen J. Hunt, President and CEO of HFA. "This development will bring not only new families to a dynamic and diverse community, but will also create jobs and economic growth. HFA's loan is part of a successful partnership among the community, the City, and the State and we look forward to participating in similar partnerships in the future."

Avalon Chrystie Place will also receive 421a property tax benefits and sales tax exemption for on-site construction materials through a unique arrangement with the Empire State Development Corporation.

Charles A. Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development said, "The Lower East Side has seen great improvements over the past couple of years. New residents at Avalon Chrystie Place will shop, dine, and entertain in neighborhood venues, revitalizing the Houston Street and Second Avenue retail corridors and stimulating job creation for area residents. This development is one of the many clear signs that Lower Manhattan is alive and well, just as vital as it was before the terrible events of September 11th. Governor Pataki and Empire state development are determined to pursue vital funding and assistance for our business community as well as help our residential communities, who make this city home."

The building, now under construction, will occupy the entire south side of East Houston Street between Chrystie Street and the Bowery and will include 360 rental apartments, 85,000 square feet of commercial retail space, and a 40,000 square foot community center complete with swimming pool, gym, activity rooms, and a basketball court. The community center will be jointly owned and operated by the University Settlement and the YMCA of Greater New York.

80% of the apartments are market rate and 20% are reserved for households earning no more than 50% of the Area Median Income. Residents will enjoy the services of a 24-hour doorman, roof top recreation area, lounge, indoor exercise room, and a business center. Avalon Chrystie Place was designed by Arquitectonica; SLCE is the architect of record. When completed, the entire four- building complex will include 178 apartments for low income households.

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 over 212,000 units of affordable housing. To request a Homeownership Kit or for more information about affordable rental apartments, call 311 or log on to

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