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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


HPD COMMISSIONER CESTERO JOINS BRONX PRO REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT TO CELEBRATE OPENING OF 90 NEW UNITS OF “GREEN” AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR BRONX RESIDENTS

1085 Washington Avenue Development Contributes to More Sustainable Neighborhood with Numerous Green Features Including a Green Roof Top Garden

Bronx, NY - New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero joined Bronx Pro Real Estate Management President Peter Magistro, today to celebrate the opening of 1085 Washington Avenue Apartments, a new 90-unit affordable housing development that features numerous elements that help the building and its residents contribute to a greener, more sustainable New York City.  One of these elements is a 1,850-square-foot green roof top garden. Other distinguished in attendance included Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.’s Vice President and New York City Office Director Abby Jo Sigal, Banco Popular Regional Executive, Michele F. Imbasciani, and DreamYard’s Co-Director Jason Duchin.  DreamYard is the anchor tenant of 1085 Washington and the largest arts education provider in the Bronx reaching 8,500 K-12th grade students annually.  Today’s celebration also marks the opening of their Art Center. Creating affordable housing that utilizes green and environmentally friendly initiatives in communities across New York City is part of the City's Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth and build affordable, attractive neighborhoods.

1085 Washington Avenue is located in Morrisania, a neighborhood targeted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan for New York City’s 21st Century Neighborhoods for residential and economic development.  In 2003, the NYC Council approved a re-zoning plan to change this predominantly manufacturing neighborhood into a special, mixed-use district permitting moderate-density housing as well as neighborhood retail and community facility uses.  1085 Washington Avenue, brings more than 200 new residents to the area, along with 9,513-square-feet of new commercial space contributing to the strategic revitalization of the Washington Avenue Corridor.

“With each new project, Bronx Pro strives to do something new and innovative.  At 1085 Washington Avenue, we were able to meet the challenges of developing in an emerging residential neighborhood, significantly broaden our green initiatives as well as provide a new home for DreamYard, an education-based not-for-profit,” said Peter Magistro, President, Bronx Pro Real Estate Management.  “This building is a testament not only to Bronx Pro’s commitment to developing quality affordable housing, but our commitment to the creation of new communities in the Bronx.  We could not have completed this project without the support of partners like Enterprise, HPD, HDC and Banco Popular who have come to the table with innovative ideas and financial support that helped make 1085 Washington become a reality.”

HDC provided a $13.6 million construction loan, $5.7 million in permanent financing and $4.95 million in subsidy.  Through its Mixed Income Rental Program (MIRP), HPD provided $4.97 million. HDC estimated that work on 1085 Washington created 297 direct and indirect jobs.

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., the City’s leading nonprofit provider of development capital and expertise for affordable housing, provided Bronx Pro with an Acquisition Loan equaling $3.4 million, $9.5 million in tax credit equity for this project and a $40,000 Green Communities Grant to help the building implement its green features.  Through the Green Communities Program, Enterprise has created 4,000 green affordable homes in New York since 2004 and is working to green all affordable housing across the state.

“Bronx Pro has done a beautiful job of melding state-of-the-art housing with anchor tenant Dream Yard, a dynamic arts-based program that will enrich the lives of many children and thus adults in this neighborhood,” said HPD Commissioner Cestero. “This integrated approach is also green in nature—the development’s energy-efficient features contribute to furthering our shared objective of creating a sustainable New York City.  The implementation of such innovative, forward-thinking strategies is emblematic of the City’s commitment to spur short- and long-term economic opportunities and ensure that New York remains a vital, sustainable city into the future.

“I applaud Bronx Pro for recognizing and acting on the importance of energy efficiency in today’s housing market,” said Marc Jahr, President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation.  “The Bronx has one of the highest asthma rates in the country and safe, clean and affordable housing is essential to creating stronger, healthier communities.  1085 Washington Avenue, is representative of the progress we are making in this regard, under Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan.  We are proud of the contribution we continue to make in creating a more affordable, sustainable New York City.”

To date, under Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace plan to provide affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers by 2014, HPD and HDC have financed the development or preservation of 94,113 units of affordable housing in the five boroughs. Morrisania bridges Community Boards 2 and 3, where 8,618 homes have been built or preserved under the plan.

"Enterprise’s is proud to have partnered with Bronx Pro Real Estate Management on a project that exemplifies our deep commitment to making sure that every New Yorker has a place to call home.  As a result of our work here we have helped ensure that the residents of this building have a home that is environmentally responsible, energy efficient and healthy,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and New York City Office Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Enterprise has created 4,000 green affordable homes in New York since 2004 and is working to green all affordable housing across the state. We are accomplishing this goal by expanding the availability of financial and technical resources for building green housing, promoting policies that encourage green building, and strengthening capacity for sustainable construction within New York’s affordable housing community.”

”We are proud to partner with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Housing Development Corporation, Enterprise, Peter Magistro and Bronx Pro Realty—and to provide the $13.7 million credit enhancement for the development of this wonderful affordable housing development,” said Michele F. Imbasciani, Regional Executive from Banco Popular.

1085 Washington Green Features

1085 Washington Avenue includes several designed elements that contribute to a greener and more sustainable South Bronx. One of these features is a green roof created by Atom Cianfarani, founder of AtomsEco.  AtomsEco is a green consultant firm that offers down-to-earth applications for greening urban homes as well as creates innovative eco-strategies for businesses wanting alternatives for their product or service. The 1085 Washington Avenue green roof measures 1,850-square-feet and features a certified natural habitat that contains a sustainable native organic garden, birdhouses and a solar powered birdbath.  These amenities provide a safe haven for migrating or native birds, butterflies and bees that may be seeking sanctuary in the Bronx.

The roof was made with high recycled content and all American made materials. The recreational section includes a container garden built with only found materials such as old steel bathtubs and sinks merged with re-used structural beams. The garden’s cedar fencing was reclaimed from a demolition site in Bensonhurst Brooklyn to emulate the surrounding city landscape.

To ensure energy efficiency, 1085 Washington Avenue has high efficiency boilers for heat and domestic hot water, bi-level public hall lighting with energy efficient light fixtures, occupancy sensors and Energy Star-rated appliances.  There are solar thermal panels that pre-heat the building’s domestic hot water supply before it enters the boiler that help reduce fuel costs.  There area also photovoltaic panels that provide electricity to the public areas.  The building features low-e wooden framed windows, an additional layer of rigid insulation in addition to low-flow showerheads, faucets and dual flush toilets that help conserve water.

Non-green features of 1085 Washington also include a two-story, light-drenched granite lobby featuring art created specifically for the project by the co-founder of Survivors Art Foundation, Candyce Brokaw.  Survivors Art Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping trauma victims and victims of domestic abuse heal through the expression of art.

DreamYard

The anchor tenant for the building is DreamYard, an innovative not-for-profit that integrates art education into elementary, middle and high school curriculums.  The organization is the largest arts education provider in the Bronx reaching 8,500 K-12th grade students annually.  Today’s celebration also marks the opening of their Art Center.  The organization occupies 5,400 square feet in the 1085 Washington building, which includes its offices, classrooms and dance/performance space.  

The Art Center is home to DreamYard’s Out of School Programs, a series of pre-professional, artistic programs that guide Bronx middle and high school students towards a path of higher education. The Art Center is also home for DreamYard’s professional development programs for school leaders, teachers and teaching artists. 

“The DreamYard Art Center will give hope to those who are inspired to create. Our collaborating students and families are champions of creativity; they embrace education; they have the capacity to imagine and the bravery to express the deepest parts of their soul. BronxPro is a major inspiration in helping DreamYard launch this exciting new space,” said Jason Duchin, Co-Director, DreamYard.  “Our goal is to help our students to develop as complete human beings capable of leading empathetic and productive lives, and to empower them to grow and shape our democracy. On behalf of our artists, students, teachers, Board of Directors, staff and all those that move, shape and represent DreamYard, thank you BronxPro and all the partners that have helped make this building happen.  Your tremendous support will bring our vision of the DreamYard Art Center to reality.”

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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.

About Bronx Pro Real Estate Management

Bronx Pro Real Estate Management, Inc. is a neighborhood based firm incorporated in 1988 for the management of property portfolios in the Bronx.  In 1998 the company expanded its business activities to include the development of quality low and moderate- income housing that is also sustainable.  Bronx Pro, although a for profit firm, embraces a company mission to develop with a social conscience and a broad awareness of the greater needs of the neighborhoods in which it works.

To date, Bronx Pro has completed new construction and renovation projects through the Neighborhood Entrepreneur and New Foundations programs sponsored by the City of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The company has completed more than $116 million of affordable housing projects and has approximately $52 million in various stages of development. Projects in development include the new construction and the renovation of multifamily buildings financed with City sponsored tax-exempt bonds, capital funds, loan programs and federal low income housing tax credits.  Bronx Pro property portfolio consists of 27 multifamily apartment buildings containing 1164 residential units, of which 266 units are in the development stage, and 20 commercial units. 

About Enterprise

Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For more than 25 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $10 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve more than a quarter of a million affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Enterprise is currently investing in communities at a rate of $1 billion a year. Visit www.enterprisecommunity.org and www.enterprisecommunity.com to learn more about Enterprise's efforts to build communities and opportunity.

Enterprise New York has been working to revitalize low-income communities across New York City since 1987.  In that time, Enterprise New York has housed nearly 100,000 men, women, and children, developed more nearly 30,000 affordable homes, and committed $2 billion in equity, grants, and loans to community development projects across the city.

About The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC)

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family housing that meets the wide range of affordable housing needs of the City's economically diverse population. It is the nation’s number one issuer the nation’s top issuer of affordable housing bonds. In 2008, the Corporation issued more than $1.3 billion worth of bonds in the calendar year, including approximately $500 million in tax-exempt housing revenue bonds, enabling HDC to finance the construction and/or preservation of 7,371 apartments. HDC is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history.  For more information visit www.nychdc.com

About 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.

About Banco Popular

Banco Popular North America serves the needs of a diverse group of consumer  & business customers across the U.S, delivering comprehensive financial services through its more than 100 branches in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and California. The bank provides financing to small businesses within its markets, as well as mortgage and consumer lending, and insurance and investment products through Popular Insurance. Banco Popular North America is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP). For more information about Banco Popular North America, visit the company’s Web site at www.bancopopular.com.

About DreamYard

DreamYard is the largest arts education provider in the Bronx and its programs reach 8,500 K-12th grade students each year during in-school and out-of-school hours. DreamYard impacts the social and intellectual growth of thousands of students through safe, positive and creatively challenging programs. It is our expectation that our students will be engaged citizens, life-long learners and the leaders and innovators of the 21st century. For more information, visit us at www.dreamyard.com.




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