New Units of Affordable Housing on Watkins Street Brownsville developed using CPCR’s unique Infill Housing Model under Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan
Brooklyn, June 23, 2011 – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) joined CPC Resources (CPCR) and East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) today as they celebrated the grand opening of 550 Watkins Street, 104 units of new affordable housing in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Thirteen four-story apartment buildings now stand fronting Watkins Street between Newport and Lott Avenue. The architecture of 550 Watkins Street borrows from New York City’s time-honored brownstone walk-up residences and applies the latest green building techniques and materials.
550 Watkins Street was developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), an $8.5 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of more than 114,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; 3,947 of those units in Brooklyn Community Board 16 where 550 Watkins Street is located.
“Through HPD’s work with CPC and EBC, 550 Watkins stands as an example of how neighborhoods can be transformed through strong public-private partnerships. This collaboration did not produce one new building, but thirteen new structures that have added 104 affordable new homes to this resurgent community. Each unit is a symbol of opportunity for a family here in Brooklyn, an opportunity to have an affordable home.” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “The City is committed to empowering and serving New Yorkers. That commitment drives our mission to complete the most ambitious housing plan in the nation. We could not achieve this without the critical support of HDC and our development partners such as the CPC and EBC who share our goal of creating a more affordable and sustainable City for all New Yorkers.”
“Thanks to the long standing partnership of the Community Preservation Corporation and East Brooklyn Congregation and the help of HPD and HDC there are now 104 more units of affordable housing in an area of Brooklyn that desperately needs it,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “This project is a great example of how the government and communities can work together to expand Brooklyn’s affordable housing stock and help make our borough home to everyone from everywhere.”
“Progress, opportunity and hope are what fuel a developing community,” said HDC President Marc Jahr. “Mayor Bloomberg’s housing plan has been the great driver of development in Brooklyn and all boroughs. Tens of thousands of affordable homes have been funded since 2003. These homes not only provide shelter but invigorate the community. HDC plays a pivotal role in this process, providing access to capital and deepened subsidy from its corporate reserves. HDC’s and HPD’s financial support enables developments like 550 Watkins to be built and communities like Brownsville to be revived.”
Located on former City-owned land that was conveyed to the developer by HPD for this project, the housing was built using CPCR’s unique Infill Housing Model – an efficient, cost-effective prototype for building affordable housing that is designed specifically to fit R-6 zoning, which is prevalent in residential neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Michael Lappin, President and CEO of CPC Resources and the Community Preservation Corporation, said, “CPC and East Brooklyn Congregations have been housing development partners for over two decades. As we stand here today, 30 years later, we can look across the street and see the splendid results of that very first effort, the Nehemiah homes. This development at 550 Watkins Street exemplifies the most modern advances in quality and scalable design. Nehemiah and Watkins Street are a generation apart, but taken together they represent a long-lasting commitment to build and restore our city’s neighborhoods for future generations.”
East Brooklyn Churches (EBC) has been a strong tool for neighborhood transformation for 25 years. Through the Brooklyn Nehemiah Program, EBC and HPD have jointly constructed and sold close to 3,000 single family homes within East Brooklyn. The development is composed of 35 one-bedroom, 57 two-bedroom, and 11 three-bedroom units with an additional unit set aside for the superintendent. The location will feature on-site laundry facilities and 22 on-site parking spaces. All of the units will be affordable to tenants with incomes at or below 60% Area Median Income (AMI) or what is equivalent to an annual household income of $47,520 for a family of four. Out of 104 units, 21 will be reserved for the homeless.
Rev. David K. Brawley, Co-chair of EBC, said, “One time an official visited East Brooklyn and called it ‘the beginning of the end of civilization.’ Where others saw destruction and ruin, neighborhood leaders saw potential and opportunity. The completion of the Watkins Street Development marks another important chapter in the Brownsville’s return from empty lots and burned down buildings to affordable homes and apartments. This development reminds us that a lot of good is possible when the government, private sector and local churches work together."
The total development cost was $28.5 million. HDC financed the construction of the Watkins Street buildings by issuing $14.5 million in tax-exempt bonds and lending $5.9 million in low-interest subsidy from its corporate reserves. CPCR, the for-profit development arm of the Community Preservation Corporation, managed all aspects of the development and construction of the project. In addition to HDC financing, HPD provided $6.3 million in City Capital and HOME funds subsidy through the Low Income Rental Program. During construction, the bonds were backed by a letter of credit from Chase Community Development Banking. RBC Capital Markets’ Tax Credit Equity Group syndicated $10 million in tax credit equity as part of the total development cost.
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CPC Resources, Inc. (CPCR) is the for-profit development subsidiary of The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a not-for-profit mortgage lender that has financed more than $7 billion of affordable housing since its founding in 1974. CPCR has developed or rehabilitated more than 14,400 units throughout New York State, including Parkchester Apartments in the Bronx, representing an investment of $678 million in affordable housing. www.communityp.com/cpc-resources
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.
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/or preservation of multi-family affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. HDC is the number one issuer affordable housing bonds in the country, issuing more than $1.3 billion in bonds financing the construction or preservation of 7,371 affordable homes in 2008. Please visit www.nychdc.com for more information.
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. As of May, 2011 the City had financed the creation or preservation of more than 113,000 affordable units—representing an investment of more than $4.5 billion to date by the City, not including roughly $5 billion in bonds issued by HDC.
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 http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/about/plan.shtml.