Dunn Development Corp., an award-winning private developer, and Beulah HDFC, Inc., a non-profit community-based organization in the South Bronx, announced today the recent completion of 1212 MLK Apartments – the nation’s first multifamily apartment building to earn the ENERGY STAR label. The building was part of a national pilot program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and implemented in New York by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to set a higher level of energy-efficiency standards for multifamily buildings. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR label, energy consumption must be reduced by at least 20 percent compared to a typical code-compliant building.
Located at 1212 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, this newly constructed building provides fifty-four units of permanent, rental housing affordable to families earning less than $35,450 a year. Twenty-six units are leased to working families, more than half of whom were residents of the Highbridge community. Seventeen units are leased to formerly homeless families referred from the City’s shelter system. These tenants are eligible for Section 8 vouchers provided by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and pay 30% of their income towards rent with the Section 8 voucher covering the balance. Ten studio apartments are leased to adults with developmental disabilities.
The six-story brick building raises the bar for affordable housing design, featuring an ornate front façade with pre-cast concrete bands, headers, and window surrounds, and a historic-style cornice. The interior finishes combine attractive design with long-term durability, producing a beautiful, well-built building. A children’s play area and landscaped garden complete the project.
Construction began in January 2005 and was completed in June 2006, with a total development cost of $10.2 million. Funding for the building was obtained from a number of public and private sources including an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), a low-interest loan from HPD, tax credit equity from Fannie Mae through Richman Housing Resources, a construction/permanent loan from the Community Preservation Corporation, and design and construction funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Taking part in today's ribbon-cutting were Martin Dunn, President and Founder of Dunn Development, Shaun donovan, HPD Commissioner, Judith Calogero, Commissioner of the DHCR, Peter R. Smith, President of NYSERDA, David Lee, Branch Chief Energy star Residential Branchat the Environmental Protection Agency, Walter Blenman, Executive Director of Beulah HDFC, Inc. and Joe Weisbord, Senior Policy Analyst at Fannie Mae.
This is a decisive moment for the future of affordable housing on so many different levels,” said Judith Calogero, Commissioner of DHCR. “That this apartment building can claim the distinction of being the Nation’s first Energy Star building might be gratifying enough for most developers, but not for Dunn Development. When you add together its rich architectural elements, its affordability, and the special needs population it aims to serve, what you have is a project that is cutting-edge ecologically, architecturally and socially. But Martin Dunn and his firm have set the bar high indeed and they haven’t disappointed yet. On behalf of Governor Pataki and the staff of DHCR, I’d like to thank Dunn Development and Beulah, HDFC for bringing us this project, NYSERDA and HPD for collaborating with us on it, and all of our private sector partners for making this visionary enterprise a reality."
“This project is part of Dunn Development Corp.’s socially conscious approach to real estate development,” Martin Dunn, President of Dunn Development said. “We wanted to show that it’s possible to build a beautiful building, make it highly energy efficient, and still provide affordable rents. We are very proud to have achieved the designation as the first ENERGY STAR multi-family building in the country. The energy efficiency elements we incorporated at 1212 MLK Apartments will directly result in lower utility bills for the residents and for the building, and because they are easily replicable, will help contribute to the long-term viability of affordable housing in New York City.”
“The 1212 MLK Apartments demonstrate the City’s commitment to achieving both affordability and sustainability as part of a larger effort to make environmentally friendly design accessible to low-income New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. “With the completion of this development, we are continuing to make progress on the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The Plan will build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years, enough housing for the entire population of Atlanta. I would like to thank the State for partnering on this project, especially DHCR Commissioner Judy Calogero and Peter Smith of NYSERDA.”
"NYSERDA is pleased to participate in the ribbon-cutting of 1212 MLK Apartments where the residents will now live in a more comfortable environment with lower energy bills," said NYSERDA President and CEO Peter R. Smith. "Building to ENERGY STAR standards is something we are encouraging throughout the construction industry. The 1212 Apartment project is a perfect example of how a building owner can save money on energy bills and make the building environment more comfortable for the occupants.
“Fannie Mae is pleased to have joined these exemplary partners in financing 1212 MLK Apartments, which we hope will serve as a model for serving people with diverse affordable housing needs,” said Richard Lawch, senior vice president of Community Investments at Fannie Mae. "This development highlights what public-private partnerships can accomplish, and the benefits that can be brought to a challenged community.”
“Beulah HDFC, Inc, is proud to be a partner in the physical and social renewal of the South Bronx,” Walter Blenman, Executive Director of Beulah HDFC said. “We will continue to create and provide quality affordable apartments that are well maintained and safe. We want our residents to feel secure and proud of where they live. 1212 MLK is a prime example of affordable housing with an eye on the future.”