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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Press Release # 03-05
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Contact: Ginny Gliedman (HPD) (212) 863-6166 Howard Marder (NYCHA) (212) 306-3322 Tracy Paurowski (HDC) (212) 227-9496


$27 Million Rehabilitation and New Construction in the University Heights Neighborhood of the Bronx Kicks Off New Program

Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Tino Hernandez today launched a collaborative effort that will develop dilapidated and vacant NYCHA properties into affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. The citywide initiative implements a key component of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's housing plan to fund the rehabilitation and construction of apartments and homes for 200,000 New Yorkers. By tapping underutilized sites in the portfolios of other landholding public agencies, the city expects to create significant additional affordable rental and ownership opportunities. The occasion for the announcement was the start of a $27 million development in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, where a combination of rehabilitation and new construction will create 210 rental apartments. The development is being largely funded by a third NYC housing entity, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC). Joining Commissioner Donovan and Chairman Hernandez were HDC President Emily Youssouf, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Banco Popular NA New York Region Executive Michele Imbasciani, and Enterprise New York Director Jim Himes.

"To address New York City's housing shortage, we are looking at all available land and buildings in both our own portfolio and the holdings of other public sector partners like the NYC Housing Authority," said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "Transforming this inventory of currently dilapidated buildings and empty lots into much needed affordable housing will help us realize the Mayor's ambitious housing plan."

"Our collaboration with HPD and HDC is a clear example of NYCHA's continuing commitment to the growth and improvement of New York," said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez. "Through this process of identifying properties that can be reborn, we are meeting the goal of providing affordable housing opportunities for all New Yorkers while benefiting from our relationship with other government agencies and the private sector."

HPD and NYCHA selected Unimac, a subsidiary of Bronx Pro Real Estate Management, Inc., through a competitive request for proposals process. Unimac will completely rehabilitate the four elevator buildings totaling 180 apartments at 1647 Macombs Road, and 1669, 1611 and 1615 University Avenue, and construct a new seven story 30-unit building on the empty lot at 1605 University Avenue.

"This development is a winner for the tenants and the neighborhood," said Unimac/Bronx Pro Real Estate Management, Inc. President Peter Magistro. "It enhances investments our organization has already made in University Heights through other HPD programs, and our property management expertise will ensure safe, quality apartments for generations to come of University-Macombs tenants."

Thirty-five percent of the University Macombs Apartments will be reserved for homeless families and NYCHA tenants. Tenants for the remaining 65% will be selected through an HPD-supervised lottery with preference given to residents of Bronx Community Board 5, where the development is located. Applications for University Macombs Apartments are expected to become available shortly; their availability will be advertised in a major-circulation daily newspaper as well as on the HPD website

The rehabilitation and new construction will be financed through HDC's Low-income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP). This program provides low-cost mortgages through the sale of tax-exempt bonds combined with the sale of Federal low-income housing tax credit equity. This financing makes the apartments affordable to households whose annual incomes are less than 60% of the area median ($37,680 for a family of four).

"At a time when public money is limited, collaborations like this one that leverage additional resources are crucial," said HDC President Emily Youssouf. "HDC continues to be a leader in developing innovative programs to finance affordable housing and we are pleased to be working with HPD and NYCHA on this historic transaction."

Banco Popular North America and Wachovia Bank will provide the letter of credit guaranteeing the bonds, and Enterprise New York is investing $9.7 million in low-income housing tax credit equity.

"We are excited to be part of this collaborative partnership and feel the program will contribute significantly to the city of New York, a marketplace we remain dedicated to since 1961," said Michele Imbasciani, New York Region Executive, Banco Popular. "Banco Popular firmly believes in providing affordable housing and community investment and we are confident this initiative will support growth, provide stability and improve the quality of life for many New Yorkers."

"Enterprise New York is proud to be working in collaboration with these city agencies and private investors on this inspired re-use of public lands into affordable housing," said Jim Himes, Director of Enterprise New York. "Creative, forward-thinking partnerships like this one will allow thousands of families the opportunity to live in decent affordable homes throughout the city. I can't imagine a more significant investment in the future of New York."

In a continuation of today's collaboration, NYCHA and HPD are currently preparing requests for proposals for other sites. Rehabilitation of a second cluster of eight NYCHA owned properties located on Brook and Willis Avenues in the South Bronx is expected to begin in the fall and will result in 121 apartments.

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 223,000 units of affordable housing. To request a Homeownership kit or for more information about affordable rental housing, call 311 or log on to

Banco Popular North America is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc., with more than $44 billion in assets and is ranked among the country's 30 largest bank holding companies. BPNA operates 137 branches in California, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Florida, as well as 114 financial services stores under the name of Popular Cash Express. Banco Popular was named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2005 by FORTUNE Magazine and ranks among the top 10 Small Business Administration lenders in the country. Banco Popular was founded 112 years ago in Puerto Rico. For more information, visit

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