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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 04-09
Thursday, May 7, 2009

Seth McM. Donlin, HPD (212) 863-5176, donlins@hpd.nyc.gov
Jacqueline Burke, SoBRO (718) 732-7522, jburke@sobro.org


HPD, SoBRO CELEBRATE OPENING OF GATEWAY BUILDING, A LONG-VACANT EYESORE IN SOUTH BRONX

Former commercial building now comprised of 23 units of quality, affordable housing

New Housing Marketplace Plan to Create Affordable Housing for 500,000 New Yorkers is Part of the Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

The Bronx, May 7, 2009 – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero and South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO) Senior Vice President Neil Pariser announced today the opening of Gateway Building.  The building – visible to commuters on the Willis Avenue Bridge – sat vacant for three decades prior to its transformation into high-quality, affordable housing.  The creation and preservation of affordable housing in neighborhoods across New York City is part of the City's Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to implement a vision for long-term economic growth.  Commissioner Cestero and Pariser were joined by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, and Michael Lambert of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC).

Located at 130 Willis Avenue, just one block away from where the new Willis Avenue Bridge enters the Mott Haven section of The Bronx, the newly renovated residential building has 23 rental units, including spacious studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The units, which offer residents a panoramic view of the Harlem River and Upper Manhattan, are priced at rates of $900 a month for the studios, $1,050 a month for the 1 bedrooms and $1,350 a month for the 2 bedrooms, and are restricted to families earning less than $81,001 a year.

“Developments like the Gateway Building are evidence of the commitment of organizations like SoBRO and the Community Preservations Corporation to redeveloping the South Bronx in a manner that is affordable to the community as a whole,” said HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. “We at HPD are proud to be part of a development that helps add to the vitality of its surrounding neighborhood and to the well being of the families that call it home.”

“The Gateway Project is another example of the spirit of redevelopment and renewal so prevalent throughout The Bronx, even in these difficult economic times,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.  “This project not only addresses our continued need for affordable housing, but with its viable energy efficiency features demonstrates that such development can be done in a sustainable manner.”

With the help of HPD, CPC, Council Member Arroyo and many others, SoBRO transformed this century-old former warehouse into a gorgeous living space designed by Curtis & Ginsberg Architects and constructed by Expo Development Corporation. The newly renovated building boasts a brand new elevator and incorporates NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) approved energy efficient features, aimed at saving residents money and reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

“For decades this building has been a bleak reminder that you are entering the Bronx,” says SoBRO Senior Vice President Neil Pariser. “Today, it stands as a welcoming beacon. The Gateway Building represents another sign heralding the resurgence of the Bronx from the steep decline it endured for decades. We hope you can join us to welcome the latest indicator that despite hard times, SoBRO and the Bronx community are going to continue to work together to make sure that the Bronx keeps getting better.”

SoBRO made use of nearly $3.7 million in funding from HPD’s Participation Loan Program (PLP), a program which provides low-interest loans to private residential building owners for the moderate-to-gut rehabilitation of housing for low-to-moderate income households. Since the beginning of the Bloomberg administration in 2002, the PLP has helped to create or preserve almost 1,700 units in the Bronx alone. An additional loan from CPC of more than $1.6 million helped to cover the total $5.5 million cost of turning the long vacant commercial building into modern, energy efficient, affordable housing.

“For over 30 years, CPC has worked with local developers, community organizers and local and state housing authorities to develop and implement a variety of investment programs to address the multiple affordable housing needs in neighborhoods across New York City.  Working with SoBRO and HPD to make this project a reality brings us one step closer to our ultimate goal -- to preserve and strengthen the neighborhoods of the South Bronx,” said Bruce Dale, Senior Vice President and Regional Director of CPC’s Bronx office. 

The City’s use of Capital Funds invested through the PLP is part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP) to create and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing. The NHMP is part of the Mayor’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan aimed at bringing New York City through the current economic downturn as quickly as possible. To date, the NHMP has created or preserved over 85,000 units of affordable housing.

Guided tours of the newly renovated structure took place from 11am to 2pm. 

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The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD’s mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. It is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing, HPD also actively promotes the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd. 

Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

CPC is a not-for-profit mortgage lender that finances residential multifamily development throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Since its founding in 1974, CPC has invested more than $7 billion to develop or rehabilitate nearly 130,000 units of housing.

South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)

SoBRO, a not-for-profit community development corporation, has been serving the South Bronx since 1972.  SoBRO’s programs include adult education and workforce training, real estate and community development, technical and financial assistance for businesses, and an array of programs for youth. For additional information about SoBRO, call 718 292-3113 or visit www.sobro.org.

New York City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth.

 




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