Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor Eliot Spitzer announced the completion of Morrisania Homes, a 64-unit affordable housing development in the South Bronx comprised of 16 three- and 8 two-family houses. The development is the first affordable development in the State to qualify for LEED for Homes (LEED-H) designation from the U.S. Green Buildings Council. The Morrisania Homes are being developed by Blue Sea Development through HPD’s Partnership New Homes Program and financed through the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation. The two- and three-family homes are affordable to families of four earning approximately $42,000. The homes meet requirements for water efficiency, sustainable site planning, energy, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and design process. All of the homes’ indoor features are Energy Star certified, signifying that energy consumption is at least 30 percent less compared to standard features and include high-efficiency sealed combustion boilers, lighting fixtures, and recyclable carpeting. The Mayor and the Governor were joined at the ribbon cutting by HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan, New York State Housing Finance Agency President and CEO Priscilla Almodovar, New York City Council Member Helen Foster, Housing Partnership Development Corporation President and CEO Dan Martin, Blue Sea Development Principal Les Bluestone, and U.S. Green Building Council New York Chapter Executive Director Russell Unger.
“The Morrisania Homes show that affordable housing can also be sustainable housing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As we work to build housing for the million new people expected to come to New York by 2030, we need to ensure that we are building homes that people can afford and that allow the city to grow in a environmentally responsible way. These new homes are part of our 165,000 unit affordable housing plan, the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history. Nearly 65,000 units have already been financed through the plan, putting us on track to complete the plan on schedule.”
“Green buildings represent an important new frontier in the development of sustainable, affordable housing,” said Governor Spitzer. “Perhaps most importantly, they demonstrate how each family can play a meaningful role in protecting our environment without incurring tremendous expense. By bringing green building to individual affordable housing units, we are adapting a comprehensive approach to conservation and helping to lay the groundwork for a cleaner, healthier future."
As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, HPD is working to create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers by 2030 while making housing more affordable and environmentally sustainable. The plan also recommends that future housing developments be located less than half a mile from public transportation. The Morrisania Homes are located within a two-block walking distance of public transportation in the Bronx. The development consists of two phases, with the second phase to be completed in the fall and resulting in four three-family homes. In total, totaling 76 affordable will be created.
“The Morrisania Homes represent a significant step forward in integrating affordable housing with environmental sustainability,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan. “As New York’s population grows, integrating these two concepts will be crucial to the well-being of the City, its residents, and the environment we all share. Part of the success of the Mayor’s PlaNYC is ensuring that residents also have access to transportation and open space. By bringing these elements of a healthy community together, the Morrisania Homes serve as an example for future developments around the City. I want to thank the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation, the Housing Partnership Development Corporation, Blue Sea Development and JPMorgan Chase for making these homes possible.”
“I am proud that the Affordable Housing Corporation has helped finance the next generation of affordable housing,” said President and CEO of the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation Priscilla Almodovar. “The Morrisania Homes demonstrate New York State’s commitment to innovative housing strategies that create homes that are both affordable and environmentally sustainable.”
“Without support from the City and State, we could not have completed the first affordable LEED-H homes to be built in New York State. What makes this an especially important event is that they are built in an area of the South Bronx that was once written off and abandoned by many. We are extremely proud to be able to offer sustainable design in high performance homes to low and moderate income New Yorkers,” said Blue Sea Development Principal Les Bluestone.
Housing Partnership Development Corporation President and CEO Daniel Martin said, “Despite the perception that green homes cost more to build than conventional projects, the Housing Partnership believes, as well as our construction lenders and our public partners, that the development of sustainable, environmentally efficient homes is a sound investment. The long-term benefits will far outweigh the extra up front cost, and we are delighted to have acted as the financial intermediary on behalf of Blue Sea Development for this high-quality, affordable and energy-efficient development.”
HPD worked together with Council Member Helen Foster and neighborhood organizations to preserve a community garden on the designated property, and to relocate two additional gardens to an alternative site. HPD is working closely with the New York City Parks Department and community organizations throughout the City to identify opportunities for affordable housing development while also preserving vacant land for open space and community gardens, which contribute to healthy, sustainable communities.
“Congratulations are in order for the new Morrisania homes because we got both new homes and kept our gardens,” said Council Member Helen Foster. “These homes are the result of a partnership between HPD, my office and the Bronx United Gardeners under the leadership of Ms. Cordelia Gilford. No active gardens were lost in tribute to gardeners who had worked for decades as community leaders. A special posthumous tribute to gardener Mr. Bill Smith, who agreed to move his garden so that new homes could be built, and to his friends who continue to tend his garden.”
For the financing of the first phase of the development, the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation provided a grant of more than $1.5 million. In addition, the City provided approximately $1.9 million in subsidies and Borough President Adolfo Carrión provided $453,115 in additional funding. Council Member Helen Foster funded $40,000 for the preparation of the alternative site for the community gardens. JP Morgan Chase provided a construction loan of over $6.6 million.
“HPD and its partners have hit the mark with this inspiring, green first development,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the organization that created and administers LEED. “Our most vulnerable populations – the very young and the very old – spend most of their time inside homes so there is no better place for green building features, like improved air quality. The energy saving from this development is not only great for climate change, but also for the pocketbooks of the low-income New Yorkers who will be living here. As the first LEED Homes certified in New York, Morrisania Homes shows the rest of us how it should really be done.”