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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


October 18, 2003

Press Contact: Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176


Hundreds of Families Welcomed Home at Block Party

Residents of West 148th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards today celebrated the transformation of their block from derelict vacant shells and rubble-strewn lots into elegant apartment buildings and a vest pocket park. Representatives of the government agencies, developers, bankers and the community organization responsible for the $42.7 million redevelopment of 290 apartments hosted a block party to welcome families back home and mark the completed rehabilitation of the last large cluster of vacant city-owned buildings in Harlem. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) sponsored the redevelopment. Funding was provided by the JPMorgan Chase, New York City Housing Development Corporation, and Roslyn Savings Bank.

Seventeen of the 19 residential properties on the block had been acquired by the City through in-rem tax foreclosure when the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) issued a competitive request for proposals to rehabilitate the buildings. BFC Partners and L&M, joined forces with a locally based not-for-profit organization, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI), and were selected to develop 187 rental and 103 cooperative apartments for a range of incomes. BFC and L&M bought the two remaining privately owned buildings along with a vacant lot thereby insuring full rehabilitation for the entire block and a landscaped open space.

The two rental developments were financed by the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) with JPMorgan Chase providing credit enhancement. The Empire State Development Corporation contributed additional funds for the larger of the two, the 100-unit Amy Gladys Farrell Gardens, named in memory of the mother of Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell. The Farrells once lived in on the block. Monthly rents range from $425 for a one-bedroom for low-income families to $1,455 for a three-bedroom apartment for families of moderate/middle income.

The cooperative apartment building is a combination of seven rehabilitated structures and new construction on an adjacent formerly city-owned vacant lot. Financing for this development was provided by HDC and Roslyn Savings Bank. Sale prices for the 104 one-, two- and three- bedroom apartments including some duplexes with garden patios range from $81,000 to $250,650. The building also has 1,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

Block party participants joined the family and congregation of the late Bishop Preston R. Washington, founding member and first president of HCCI, in a ceremony to name the cooperative development "The Washington" in the Bishop's memory.

NYC Housing Commissioner Jerilyn Perine said, "As Mayor Bloomberg likes to say we are a City of more than 300 neighborhoods. They're the places we call home, where our children go to school, our shopkeepers serve their customers, and New Yorkers enjoy family life. Affordable housing is fundamental to prosperous neighborhoods. That's why Mayor Bloomberg developed his housing plan, The New Housing Marketplace: Creating Housing for the Next Generation to build or rehabilitate 65,000 homes and apartments citywide over a five year period."

"HDC proved nearly $27 million to revitalize this block and to create affordable housing for a range of low, moderate and middle-income families," stated William Traylor, HDC Acting President. "We are pleased that the many financing programs HDC offers are able to meet the diverse housing needs of New Yorker's neighborhoods."

"Roslyn is pleased to play a role in the rebirth of this block of West 148th Street through the financing of construction and rehabilitation of this much needed affordable housing," said Dan Martin, Roslyn Savings Bank's vice president.

"The commitment of JPMorgan Chase to strengthen the communities in which we do business is clearly demonstrated on this block. We are proud of our role and work of our great partners, the Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, L&M Equities and BFC Partners," Said Mark Willis, Executive Vice President of JPMorgan Chase.

"For many years. This Harlem block was a symbol of urban decay," said Donald Capoccia, Managing Principal of BFC Partners. "Today, with the vision and resources of both private and public entities, it is a symbol of urban renewal. BFC is especially proud of the diverse range of low and middle income housing that will make the dream of home ownership a reality for over 100 families and bring nearly 200 affordable rental units to the community."

Lucille McEwen, HCCI President and CEO, said, "148th Street is an ideal block. We have created a mixed income community that provides both rental and ownership housing to persons in a large range of incomes. In the midst of apartment density, we have an oasis of a 10,000 square foot green space."

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

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