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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


Construction of 143 rental units for low-income seniors by SKA Marin and Local Development Corp. of Crown Heights made possible through financial support from HDC, HPD, City Council, Citi, and Boston Financial

New York, NY – SKA Marin, Local Development Corp. of Crown Heights (LDCCH) and their public and private partners today cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the newly constructed Crown Heights Apartments, an eight-story, state-of-the-art housing development in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, containing 143 affordable rental units for low-income seniors.  Crown Heights Apartments was developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP) to finance the creation or preservation of 165,000 affordable homes by 2014.  

At the ceremony, New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea joined Housing Development Corporation President (HDC) Marc Jahr, Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) First Deputy Commissioner Doug Apple, Chief Executive Officer Sydelle Knepper of SKA Marin and Executive Director Caple G. Spence of LDCCH and welcomed NYC Comptroller John Liu, NYC Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio, NY State Assembly Member William Boyland, Jr., Citibank North America Chief Financial Officer Basil Williams, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Council Member Al Vann.   The opening invocation was made by Rev. Edward Norman of the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights and an ending prayer was offered by Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Jewish Community Council of Crown Heights. 

The project was financed through a public-private partnership that included $22.2 million of tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYCHDC) which were in turn backed by a $22.4 million Citi Letter of Credit (LC).    Additional sources of financing include $10.7 million of subordinate financing from NYCHDC and The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYCHPD), $18.1 million of Low Income Housing Tax Credits syndicated by Boston Financial Investment Management, and $3,750,000 of City Council funds.  Construction began in January 2008 and was completed earlier this year.  [Tenants have occupied a total of 132 units to date.] 

Sydelle Knepper, president of SKA Marin, said,  “We sought to develop housing where elderly people could live in dignity in a beautifully designed and technologically advanced building.  The inclusion of the Jewish Board of Family and Childrens Services in the building to provide geriatric mental health counseling and the location next door of the city-funded St. Louis Senior Center will enable us to make this possible.”

Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citi, said, “We are proud to partner with organizations like SKA Marin and Local Development Corp of Crown Heights to realize important projects that address the needs of diverse and underserved individuals and communities. Through Citi Community Capital, we remain focused on supporting affordable housing initiatives, such as the Crown Heights Apartments, and projects that help preserve and revitalize neighborhoods.”

Caple G. Spence, LDCCH Executive Director, said, “The Crown Heights project, being the third of three recent large senior housing projects, has made us at LDCCH proud by bringing to the community quality homes for seniors who might otherwise have had to leave the community in which they have lived.”

Chairman John B. Rhea of the New York City Housing Authority said, “This is the second new construction project of this type which NYCHA has assisted.  Through the use of innovative financing packages and strategic alliances with government, financial, for profit and not-for-profit partners, NYCHA is making possible the continued construction of affordable housing.”

HDC President Marc Jahr said, “HDC’s ability to raise capital to fund projects such as this one is unequalled around the nation.  We are able to do this because our partners are both experienced and capable, and share our vision of creating affordable housing opportunities for a wide range of New Yorkers, from the most vulnerable and neediest individuals and families to the middle class—our cops and firefighters and teachers. No one—particularly someone on a fixed income— should have to make the choice between paying the rent and buying food. The senior citizens who will make Crown Heights Apartments home will be secure in the knowledge that this is a choice they will never have to make.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said, “Brooklyn has more seniors than any other borough in New York City, and ‘aging in place’ affordable housing like the Crown Heights Apartments provide them access to senior centers, transportation, medical care, healthy food options and exercise. As our residents grow older, many of them are choosing to stay in Brooklyn, because as we all know, there’s no better place to spend your twilight years. So, bravo to SKA Marin, the Local Development Corp of Crown Heights and their partners for helping to ensure that our older residents live what I call their ‘maturer’ years with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

HPD First Deputy Commissioner Doug Apple said, “This development is a prime example of what can be done to address the needs of a community when city agencies and private sector partners work together towards the common good.  Through our collaborative efforts here in Crown Heights we have created a state-of-the-art facility that low-income seniors can call home – affordability, sustainability, and a continuum of services under one roof. At HPD we will continue to leverage our resources and work with sister agencies like NYCHA and private partners like Citi and SKA Marin to create diverse, stable neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs for all New Yorkers.”

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said, “I am so thrilled to see the completion of this building.  The City Council is committed to working with HPD and other City agencies to provide affordable housing options for seniors. I’m glad $3.75 million of the Council’s money went to this project and look forward to seeing this community thrive. This new building will give 143 senior households a place they can call home. I want to thank HPD First Deputy Commissioner Doug Apple and Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr for all their work on seeing this through. Through partnerships like this one, the Council will continue to look at ways to provide affordable housing throughout the City.”

Crown Heights Apartments was constructed through HDC’s Low Income Affordable Market Place Program (LAMP).  LAMP provides financing for affordable rental housing reserved for tenants earning a maximum income of up to $29,760 for an individual and up to $42,540 for a family of four (or 60% average median income).  NYCHA provided project based Section 8 vouchers enabling residents to pay no more than 30% of their income for rent. For Crown Heights apartments, eligibility is capped at 50% of median income because of Section 8 restrictions.

Loans are provided to private for-profit and non-profit developers in the form of first mortgages, which are made through the proceeds from the sale of tax-exempt bonds.  Second mortgages are also used with this program and are funded through HDC’s corporate reserves and typically provided at a one percent interest rate.  By using tax-exempt bonds, the development automatically receives as-of-right four percent Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which helps to further the affordability of these apartments.

Crown Heights Apartments is located at 1055 St. Johns Place, on Kingston Avenue between Sterling Place and St. John’s Place in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.   This is the third project financed by HDC that was developed jointly by SKA Marin and the LDC of Crown Heights. The first is Kings County Senior Residence, a LAMP project owned by a partnership of SKA Marin, STL Corp.  and LDCCH, which closed in June 2005, is 100% complete and converted to permanent in December 2007. The second is David Chavis Senior Apartments, which closed in November 2006 and is owned by LDCCH with SKA Marin as the co-developer and managing member until permanent conversion.


About Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at or

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 — 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   

About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation or 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 100,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit

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 affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. HDC’s programs are designed to meet the wide range of affordable housing needs of the City's economically diverse population. In partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, HDC works to implement Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to create of preserve 165,000 affordable housing units by 2014. Since the plan launched in 2004, HDC financed nearly 44,200 homes for low- , moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. The New York City Housing Development Corporation is rated AA by S&P and Aa2 by Moody’s.

About SKA Marin

SKA Marin is a real estate firm specializing in the development of affordable housing and community development projects.  As developer, construction manager and owner, SKA Marin has built thousands of affordable units in the Metropolitan New York area.  SKA Marin is widely respected in the affordable housing industry for its innovative approaches to aging in place and ease in using creative finance.

Sydelle Knepper is the founder and owner of SKA Marin. Ms. Knepper has more than thirty years of experience in community and real estate development in both the private and public sectors.  Her past positions in government include Assistant Commissioner for Development and Policy at the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Director of Project Finance at the New York State Housing Finance Agency, Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Director of Local Legislation for Mayor Ed Koch. In 2005, she was honored by the National and New York Housing Conferences for her contributions to housing development in New York.  Ms. Knepper's project experience aggregates in excess of over one billion in total constructed value.

About LDCCH 

The Local Development Corp. of Crown Heights, Inc is a Non-Profit Organazation founded by Rev. Clarence Norman, Sr., in 1987. Its mission is to provide quality low-income housing for people lease able to help themselves. In 1998, Caple G. Spence was assigned as Executive Director of LDCCH. With a wealth of knowledge from his experiences with Chelsea National Bank, European American Bank and Banco DePonce/Banco Popular N.A., he has continued to carrie on the mission and vision. During his leadership he has since developed over 600 low-income quality housing units.We trust he will continue doing the same to try and reduce the need for quality senior housing. In addition, LDCCH has also provided assistance to women and minority own business in their development of becoming more financially able.  


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