Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today broke ground on the development of 90 affordable rental apartments for low-income families and fifteen units for formerly homeless families in a 105-unit building - the Tiffany Gardens Apartment and Community Park in the South Bronx. This residential development and an adjacent park are being developed by South East Bronx Community Organization (SEBCO). The project is one the last undeveloped site in the Longwood Urban Renewal Area and will turn an eyesore into affordable housing and recreational space for the community. Mayor Bloomberg joined State Assembly Member Vito Lopez, NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner Judy Calogero, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan, South East Bronx Community Organization Founder Father Lewis Gigante, and St. Atanasius Church Pastor Monsignor William Smith at St. Athanasius Church Plaza on Southern Boulevard at Tiffany Street to announce this new development.
"Tiffany Gardens marks another major milestone in the ongoing renaissance of the Hunts Point community," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Gaining access to affordable housing, in safe neighborhoods and in neighborhoods where schools provide children with the highest quality education are the most basic aspirations of working New Yorkers today. Our Administration will continue to marshal the resources necessary and build partnerships between the private and public sector in order to improve the communities of all those who work and struggle daily for a better future. I commend SEBCO for developing this one-time city-owned land for affordable housing and recreation space for the people of this area."
This new housing will be on Southern Boulevard between Tiffany and Barretto Streets and the Community Park will be at corner of Southern Blvd. and Barretto Street. The land was conveyed for a nominal fee by the City of New York to SEBCO. Funds were provided by New York State under the Homes for Working Families program, a federal Home Loan Bank grant, an Empire State Development Corporation loan and financing from Washington Mutual and First Sterling Financial, Inc. SEBCO is building the adjacent park with funds raised through its own initiative. SEBCO has been active in providing housing and social services in the South Bronx for 37 years, including the new construction, rehabilitation and management of over 5000 residential units.
The seven-story building will contain 104 two-bedroom rental units plus one superintendent's unit. The apartments will be affordable to low-income working families with fifteen units for formerly homeless families. 21 of the units will rent at $636 (plus electric), so they are affordable for families with income below 50% of area median income ($31,400 for a family of four). 83 of the units will rent at $777.75 (plus electric), so they are affordable for families with income below 60% of area median income ($37,680 for family of four).
"The construction of 105 two bedroom apartments on the last sizeable vacant lot in Hunts Point is an important addition to the community," said SEBCO Chairman and founder Father Louis R. Gigante. "It completes the Southern Boulevard corridor and will provide working class families with safe and affordable housing while simultaneously stimulating the economic base of the neighborhood. We thank Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki for making these projects a reality."
"I would like to salute and congratulate Mayor Bloomberg, the city, the state and SEBCO for providing much needed affordable housing for the residents of the Bronx," said Assembly Member Vito Lopez.
"The housing market in the Bronx is booming and this project is further proof of what we've been saying: The Bronx is back," said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. "A beautiful building like this helps restore dignity to the tenants, the neighborhood and the Bronx as a whole; it's also a great example of the great things that can happen with intergovernmental cooperation. This is our work at its best. This building will provide housing for families in the Hunts Point Area, in the heart of the South Bronx, and will provide more than just much needed housing for Bronxites. The building will further strengthen the economic base and quality of life for the borough."
Tiffany Gardens is part of the Mayor's efforts to make Hunts Point more livable and economically stronger. Over the last several years the Administration has worked with SEBCO and other community leaders in a Hunts Point Task Force to develop a comprehensive plan for the community's future. It includes a proposed rezoning of parts of the Hunts Point community that will encourage the growth of the area's food-related industry and a $27 million investment of capital funds for area infrastructure improvements. In March, "Hunts Point Works" was opened, a workforce development center that will train community residents for the hundreds of new food industry jobs that are being created in the neighborhood.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg joined community leaders and local elected officials to break ground for Barretto Point Park, a former industrial brownfield that will become a five-acre waterfront park. It and the development of nearby Hunts Point Riverside Park are part of the historic "greening" of the Bronx that the Administration is undertaking. These projects complement the $220 million rehabilitation of 70 other parks throughout the Bronx in connection to the construction of the Croton Water Filtration Facility.
"Tiffany Gardens marks another major milestone in the ongoing renaissance of the South Bronx in general and the Hunts Point community in particular," said New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner Judith Calogero. "Governor Pataki and I have been stalwart partners in New York City's determined efforts to create 68,000 affordable housing opportunities by 2008: this development is but the most recent example of our shared commitment. Thanks to the advocacy and leadership of people like Father Gigante and groups like SEBCO we have now transformed the last major vacant parcel of city-owned land in this once-blighted Hunts Point neighborhood. Because of this dynamic public/private partnership and others like it, the affordable housing goals we have set for the City seem well within range."