New York City Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan and Sean M. Moss, US Housing and Urban Development Regional Director for New York and New Jersey today announced that the tenants of the Gates-Patchen apartment complex, a 104-unit residential rental building in Bedford Stuyvesant, have purchased their building as the first step of turning their building into an affordable cooperative. They have also secured over $10 million in funding for much-needed infrastructure investment at the complex. Gates-Patchen is at 940-950 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn.
The City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) worked with HUD to reach an agreement to sell the building to the tenants and for HUD to provide forty percent of the necessary rehabilitation funds for the building. The City will provide up to $3 million. The Community Preservation Corporation has agreed to provide a loan to fund the remaining portion of the rehabilitation work. Gates-Patchen needs approximately $10.5 million in rehabilitation work according to inspections done by HUD.
Elected officials U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Council Member Tracy Boyland and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz have worked hard to make this agreement a reality.
Faced with foreclosure, the former owner gave the deed to HUD. HUD then transferred the property to the New York City Housing Authority. In turn, the NYC Housing Authority transferred the property to the not-for-profit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. CPC supplied the development with a $1.5 million bridge loan for the acquisition. UHAB will work with the tenants to form a tenant cooperative. UHAB has more than 30 years experience in developing tenant cooperatives.
The residents of the complex have suffered for years under the mismanagement of the former owner and management company. The building scored a pathetic 13 out of a possible 100 points on its last HUD physical inspection. Subsequently the rehabilitation process will be substantial, including replacing the roof, excavating the old oil tank and contaminated soil which leaked as much as 50 gallons of oil, and gutting each of the 104 apartments. When complete, residents will inherit essentially a brand new building, complete with a healthy reserve account.
NYC Housing Commissioner Donovan said, "This is wonderful news for the residents of Gates-Patchen who not only will be living in safe and well maintained housing, but will be able to become cooperative owners. Gates-Patchen exemplifies two mainstays of Mayor Bloomberg's "New Housing Marketplace" plan to build and rehabilitate more than 65,000 homes and apartments citywide: preserving buildings for another generation of New Yorkers and enabling New Yorkers to own their own homes. The City hopes to continue working with HUD to transfer properties in upcoming foreclosures to responsible new owners who are committed to affordable housing."
This is part of a larger initiative in which the City is working with HUD to transfer properties in upcoming foreclosures to responsible owners who will ensure the long-term affordability of safe, decent housing for tenants; 857 units have been saved to date. Mayor Bloomberg celebrated a similar victory with the tenants of Logan Gardens in Harlem on April 6, 2005.
"This unprecedented partnership among HUD, the City of New York, NYCHA, UHAB, and the Community Preservation Corporation continues our Department's efforts to ensure that all HUD-assisted residents live in decent, safe and affordable housing," said Sean M. Moss, HUD Regional Director for New York and New Jersey. "HUD's faith and financial commitment to the Gates-Patchen residents and the Bedford Stuyvesant community has paid off with the eventual transfer of the property to UHAB, who will in turn work with the residents to form a tenant cooperative. This has truly been a public-private partnership to preserve this much needed affordable housing resource."
Senator Schumer said, "This journey with Gates Patchen has been long, and today we can finally call it a success. This agreement represents a commitment by HUD to preserve affordable housing, and to promote the notion that tenants should have an active role in controlling their homes and their communities. I can only hope that success stories like these will set a precedent for preservation of nearly 70 other HUD-insured buildings that are at risk of foreclosure."
Andrew Reicher, Executive Director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board said, "We are delighted with this successful outcome. It has been a long process but everyone played an important role. This is a huge victory for the tenants of Gates-Patchen and we look forward to working with them as they become cooperative owners."
"CPC's $3.04 million loan will help support the successful conversion of this property into a stable, safe tenant-owned cooperative," said Michael D. Lappin, president and CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation. "CPC's ongoing commitment to creating partnerships with government, the community, nonprofits and private owners has been essential to the successful revitalization of many communities throughout New York City and the state."
"We suffered together, we fought together, and now we will enjoy the fruits of collective ownership together", said Ms. Nadyia Abdullah, a leader of the tenants association at Gates Patchen.
According to Deloris Morris, a co-leader of the tenant association, there was never any question about whether or not the tenants would succeed in their quest to attain control of their building. "There were a couple of close calls along the way, but we stayed strong and were surrounded by many allies- we always knew we would end up here, it was just a matter of when!"
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 nyc.gov/hpd