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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176 (HPD)
Christina Sanchez 212 227-2644 (HDC)


First New Multifamily Building on Privately Owned Land In Melrose Commons in 60 Years

Bronx, NY - On May 6, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for El Jardin de Selene, a new LEED®-Gold affordable apartment development at Melrose Avenue and East 158th Street in the Melrose section of the Bronx.  The event celebrated the opening of the 12-story affordable housing development designed by award-winning Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC (MAP). 

Developed by an innovative joint venture of Nos Quedamos, MJM Construction Services LLC, Melrose Associates and under the financial guidance of Forsyth Street Advisors, this mixed-use, mixed-income development has achieved a LEED-Gold rating.  Yolanda Gonzalez, Executive Director of Nos Quedamos, says, “We have been a champion for sustainability in the neighborhood since its inception. Magnusson Architecture and Planning helped us reach our goal by designing our greenest building yet.”

In addition to a LEED-Gold rating, El Jardin de Selene is NYSERDA Energy Star certified and Enterprise Green Communities compliant.  “We met the stringent energy requirements for this project  through a variety of sustainable strategies including: daylight and occupancy sensors in common areas; energy star fixtures and appliances; bamboo flooring; green roofs at setbacks; recycled content; energy efficient windows; thru-wall ventilation and solar panels on the building’s roof,”  says  Petr Stand, MAP principal.

“We believe sustainable design is important to our communities,” says Manny Kanaris of MJM Construction Services.  “In addition to being better for our health and the health of the environment, it makes a building more efficient and more affordable in the long term.  Our innovative partnership with Nos Quedamos and MAP made it possible to develop an elegant, sustainable home for residents while maintaining affordability.”

“This new green affordable development is exactly the sort of sustainable project we are promoting throughout the City,” said New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero, “As one of the first multifamily buildings to be constructed on privately owned land in Melrose in more than 60 years, El Jardin is not just symbolic of recovery – it epitomizes the new housing marketplace in the South Bronx. HPD and HDC are proud to be able to provide the equity, access to capital and the expertise that have made this innovative and important project a reality.”

 “We at HDC are proud to have played a part in making El Jardin a reality," said Marc Jahr, President of the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC). "Yolanda Gonzalez's leadership, vision and tenacity -- and that of her mother before her -- are the driving force behind Nos Quedamos, which has played an important role in the rebuilding of the Melrose Urban Renewal Area. This new, LEED Gold mixed-income building is a great addition to the neighborhood and a testament to the care and commitment that Nos Quedamos has devoted to the growth of the community and the health of the people who live here.”

"NYSERDA is proud to participate in a public-private partnership working to create New York City housing that is not only affordable, but energy efficient," said Francis J. Murray, Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "The leadership at El Jardin de Selene should be applauded for their initiative to incorporate energy measures into the construction plan, achieving a LEED-Gold rating and ENERGY STAR certification.  The Green Affordable Housing Program, a collaborative effort between NYSERDA and the Attorney General's Office also helped implement a number of green features in the building. NYSERDA has been pleased to work with building owners and developers throughout New York City that have used our Multifamily Performance Program to not only help reduce their costs, but to save energy and create a healthy environment for residents."

"With the completion of El Jardin de Selene, we celebrate the revitalization of the Melrose section of the Bronx and the bright, healthy future of its residents," said Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and New York Director, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc." Enterprise shares Nos Quedamos' vision of creating a healthy and sustainable community. We are proud to have contributed to this project by providing a loan through the New York City Acquisition Fund to help provide families with the quality, energy efficient homes that they deserve."

To date, 100,000 affordable homes have been financed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). A total of 31,779 of these affordable housing units (16,291 preserved and 15,488 newly constructed) are in the Bronx; many of those in the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area where El Jardin de Selene is located.

El Jardin de Selene, located at 384-388 East 158th Street in The Bronx, was developed under the NHMP and financed with $18.85 million in construction and permanent loans from HDC, and $15.8 million in a combination of HPD City Capital funds, HOME, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HPD Housing Trust Fund money, City Council Reso A, and a grant from NYSERDA. The development has 84 rental units in an array of studio, 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for very low- , low-   and middle-income households (respectively: $38,400; $46,080; and $61,450/year for a family of four.) Residents have access to over 2,000 square feet of community space, including a laundry room, and an outdoor courtyard at the second level. The building also includes 6,000 square feet of commercial space and over 12,000 square feet of structured parking.  Mindful of the rich architectural heritage of the Bronx, MAP incorporated art deco elements into the project’s design. 

MAP has been designing innovative community-based projects since 1986.  Current projects include:  several new housing and mixed-use developments throughout the boroughs of New York City, as well as developments in the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey.  Other current and past MAP clients include: Phipps Houses, Volunteers of America, the Jewish Board of Children and Family Services, CPC Resources, Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, Inc., Fifth Avenue Committee, and BFC Construction. 

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About Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan

New York City’s affordable housing program to build or preserve 165,000 units of housing by 2014 — enough to house half a million New Yorkers — is the most ambitious and productive in the nation—creating housing as well as jobs for New Yorkers. In April, 2010 the City reached the critical benchmark of 100,000 units financed—representing an investment of $4.5 billion to date by the City, not including roughly $5 billion in bonds issued by HDC.

Led by HPD Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero, the Plan has been recast to maintain production momentum while confronting head on the economic challenges facing the City, the State, the housing industry, the financial sector and individual New Yorkers and their families. In order to fulfill the NHMP goal of 165,000 units, HPD and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) are responding to market realities and focusing on three primary goals: strengthening neighborhoods, expanding the supply of affordable and sustainable housing and stabilizing families by keeping them in their homes. To read more about the NHMP, please visit

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