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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 06-09
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seth McM. Donlin, HPD (212) 863-5176,


Addition of 130 middle-income condos to development that introduced the first new housing in Arverne in over 25 years

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

Queens, May 27, 2009 – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) joined The Briarwood Organization in celebrating the final phase of construction at the 210-unit Waters Edge development. The 40 two-family homes of the development’s first phase, completed in 2001, represented the first new housing built in the Arverne in over 25 years and the additional 130 middle-income condo units of Waters Edge at Arverne Condominium contribute to the continuing revitalization of an area that was once a thriving beach resort. 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.  HPD and Briarwood were joined by Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall; Marian Zucker, Executive Vice President of “nyhomes;” and representatives of J.P. Morgan Chase and the Housing Partnership Development Corporation (“The Partnership”).

Located on four “infill” sites between Beach 59th Street and Beach 62nd Street just across from the Rockaway Boardwalk and the famous Rockaway Beach, this second and final phase consists of 130 newly constructed two- and three-bedroom condominiums. The units, which offer amenities such as off street parking, a private garage on the lower level, plush wall to wall carpeting and a balcony on the upper level, are priced at $185,900 to $193,400 for the two-bedroom condos and $314,100 to $323,500 for the three-bedroom condos. The units are restricted to families making up to 175 percent of the HUD Income Limits ($134,400 per year for a family of four) and purchasers can take advantage of an $8,000 homebuyer tax credit and up to $4,000 in developer’s incentives.

“Waters Edge at Arverne is yet another example of the way in which public-private partnerships can have such a positive effect on our city and its many communities,” said HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. “These once vacant lots now contain quality, affordable homes for our city’s working families, adding a shot of energy to the surrounding community and strengthening the borough and the city as a whole.”

“Today's ribbon-cutting at Water's Edge opens another chapter in the continuing story of growth, quality housing and infrastructure improvements on the Rockaway Peninsula,” said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall. “Thanks to the Briarwood Organization, the City Department of Housing Preservation andDevelopment and other agencies, including my office, the borough has a new stock of affordable housing that is not only attractive but comes with a waterfront view. This could not happen without collaboration – the private and public sectors working together – on a combined goal to provide quality housing that strengthens neighborhoods and broadens horizons.”

“Days like today make the colossal efforts that go into developing affordable housing in the city all worth it,” said Vincent Riso, Managing Member of the Briarwood Organization. “The opportunity to celebrate this milestone with one of the New Yorkers who has bought at Waters Edge is tremendously rewarding. Thanks to the generous subsidies of our partners, a hard working school psychologist and her two young daughters will now be able to call the new revitalized Rockaways home.”

“Being a mother of two and having a wonderful job at 27 years old is a blessing. But living in a city in which expenses are ever growing is not easy,” said Arwina Vallejo, an owner of one of the Waters Edge condos. “Then I discovered the HPD affordable housing program. And today I am the proud owner of a condo at Waters Edge. This is what affordable housing is all about.”

During the first half of the twentieth century, Rockaway was an affluent beach resort, but through the 1950's the area declined until over 300 acres along the shoreline were designated an Urban Renewal Area in 1964 and eventually cleared by city-sponsored demolition. With the help of HPD, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Partnership and the office of the Queens Borough President, Briarwood transformed this long vacant property by investing millions of dollars in infrastructure work, including the construction of a new storm sewer system.

With Phase II construction costs totaling more than $42 million, development was financed in large part by a $24.7 million construction loan from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. HPD, the Queens Borough President and DEP each contributed $3 million, $1.8 million and $430,000, respectively, to help defray the costs of the development’s substantial infrastructure work. In addition, the development received $2.8 million in New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) funds directed through The Partnership, helping to keep the units affordable for the city’s middle-income families.

“The Housing Partnership is always proud to see the efforts of our long working relationship with organizations such as Briarwood come to fruition,” said Daniel Martin, the President and CEO of the Partnership. “We were excited to collaborate with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation in bringing affordable housing like Waters Edge to the communities that need it the most.”

Marian Zucker, Executive Vice President of “nyhomes” of which AHC is a part, said, “We at ‘nyhomes’ were happy to partner with New York City, the Housing Partnership Development Corporation and The Briarwood Organization to build the Waters Edge at Averne Condominium.  New York State is dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership, which will help build neighborhoods and revive our economy. That is what Waters Edge will do and we congratulate our partners for bringing these new homes to the Averne community.”

The Waters Edge at Arverne development is part of HPD’s Large Scale Arverne Program consisting of Water’s Edge and two other developments in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area (URA): Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East. The Arverne URA in Southeast Queens spans 308-acre and is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The URA is bounded by Beach 32nd Street, Beach 84th Street, Beach 74th Street, Rockaway Freeway, Rockaway Beach Boulevard, and the Rockaway Boardwalk.

HPD is overseeing a comprehensive neighborhood development plan for the area that will bring a mix of housing types, commercial development, a community school, a nature preserve and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors. When it is finished, it will have created over 4,000 units of new housing, 1,136 of which will be reserved for households earning up to 175% of HUDIL.

The Large Scale Arverne Program 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. 

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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

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.

The Briarwood Organization

The Briarwood Organization has been a trusted developer and builder of new homes, cooperatives, condominiums, apartments and commercial properties since 1912. In addition, the company is both a residential and commercial property manager. Over the years, Briarwood has embraced public and non-profit initiatives and partnerships to create affordable housing where it is most desperately needed, developing over 2,500 low- and moderate-income homes throughout the city of New York. The Briarwood Organization is based in Bayside, Queens. For more information, visit

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