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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 18, 2011

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




HDC, HPD, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Brad Lander and L+M Development Partners Inc. Celebrate the Opening of Columbia Commons and Columbia Hicks Apartments

 

Mixed Rental/Condo Project Brings New 94 Affordable Rental Units and 42 Market-Rate Condo Units to Cobble Hill   

New York, NY, July 18, 2011 – The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Brad Lander and other officials today joined L+M Development Partners Inc. (L+M) for a ceremonial ribbon cutting at Columbia Commons and Columbia Hicks Apartments (together, “Columbia Hicks”) in the Columbia Street Waterfront section of Brooklyn. The development, which is located at 414 Hicks Street, is made up of three interconnected buildings. Columbia Hicks is the result of the successful partnership among city agencies and the private sector. Columbia Hicks Apartments, located in the main wing, is made up of 95 City- and State-financed affordable rental units. Columbia Commons, which occupies two wings, is made up of 42 privately-financed condominium units, with no City subsidy provided. The Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs provided predevelopment financing for the entire project.  

The 95 affordable units in the Columbia Hicks Apartments were developed by affiliates of L+M Development Partners through HCR-provided State Low Income Housing Tax Credits and under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), an $8.2 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of more than 124,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs; with more than 29,760 affordable units financed in the borough of Brooklyn. Columbia Hicks Apartments are available to households earning up to 90% of AMI, 130%, and 175% of AMI (respectively up to $69,120, $79,820, and $134,400 for a four-person household).  

Financing closed on the project in September 2008 and sales for the Columbia Commons condo units launched in May 2010. Financing for the affordable portion of the development was provided by $27.8 million in bonds, backed by a Letter of Credit from Citibank. Wells Fargo syndicated the tax credits. HDC also provided $9.4 million in subsidy (including $2.45 million in capital funding passed through by HPD) as a second mortgage.  All of the market-rate condo units in the development sold in less than one year. The affordable rental units in the Columbia Hicks Apartments were fully occupied by tenants in 4 months.  

In attendance for today’s ribbon cutting event were: Gregory Watson, Assistant Commissioner for Regional Affairs, New York State Homes and Community Renewal; Mathew Wambua, Commissioner, HPD; Marc Jahr, President, HDC; Councilmember Brad Lander, City Councilmember District 39; Ron Moelis, CEO, L+M; Lisa Gomez, Executive Vice President of Development, L+M; Dan Nissenbaum, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group; Matthew J. Bissonette, Director, Citi Community Capital; David Reiss, Co-Chair Economic Development Committee, Brooklyn Community Board 6; and other local officials.  

“On the behalf of the City and the staff and Board of Directors of HDC, I want to thank our partners for working with us to bring a great project to fruition in the midst of some tough financial times,” said HDC President Marc Jahr. “It’s easy to do real estate development in a rising market; it’s tough to do it when the economy and the market turn against you. That’s when relationships are tested and all the partners to a development have to be extraordinarily nimble. Columbia Hicks is a great example of public agencies, financial institutions, in this case Citi and Goldman Sachs, and an exceptionally capable developer, L+M, meeting that test. The result is this fine development, with increased affordability, that will contribute to the strength and diversity of the surrounding neighborhood.” 

 “In assembling this site for development of this mixed-income housing, L+M has brought a badly needed resource to a great Brooklyn neighborhood,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “This development went through a number of iterations before settling into its current pricing structure. While the market crash certainly played a role, at the end of the day, we have come out with a project that epitomizes the great work that L+M does as a matter of course and has more affordable units than was originally planned. It’s a win for all of us.”  

“As someone who has advocated for affordable housing since my earliest days in public life, I am thrilled that the Columbia Hicks Apartments will bring 95 affordable rental units to our burgeoning Columbia Street Waterfront District. Along with the 42 units of market-rate condos at Columbia Commons, this development will bring diverse residential options to the area while respecting the existing feel of the neighborhood.  Bravo to L+M Development Partners, Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Brad Lander and all of the state and city agencies and partners responsible for helping to assure that Brooklyn’s future is affordable for generations to come,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. 

Greg Watson, HCR’s Assistant Commissioner for the New York City Region said, “Columbia Hicks and Columbia Commons Apartments are terrific examples of the type of cutting-edge affordable housing that Governor Andrew Cuomo and HCR Commissioner/CEO Darryl Towns are committed to. By providing homeownership opportunities and apartments that are affordable to people and families of various income levels, we help create solid, vibrant communities that attract residents and businesses. On behalf of Commissioner Towns, I thank L+M Development, Marty Markowitz, HDC, HPD, Councilmember Lander and all of the partners for helping to bring new life to this neighborhood during very difficult economic times. Congratulations to the residents who will call this wonderful new development home.” 

"Columbia Commons and Columbia Hicks Apartments have helped solidify the Columbia Street Waterfront District as a popular residential area in Brooklyn,” said Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M. "The development serves as a capstone to several years of our investment and rehabilitation along the Waterfront District. It is also an excellent example of a project developed during the financial downturn which has still been able to achieve successful sales.”   

"Columbia Commons and Columbia Hicks Apartments represent a great partnership between affordable housing developers and our community,” said Brad Lander, City Councilmember, District 39. “L+M Development Partners worked in a true spirit of collaboration with Brooklyn Community Board 6 and neighborhood residents to simultaneously create a contextual project that fits into our community and increase the amount of greatly needed affordable homes. Thanks to HPD, HDC, the L+M team, CB6, and all the other partners for strengthening Brooklyn's diversity." 

"We appreciate the care and sensitivity shown by the development team in creating a project that respects this neighborhood's physical context and our community's values," said Daniel Kummer, Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 6.  "This public-private partnership will go a long way toward maintaining diversity in our community by creating a broad range of new housing options.  We're very gratified that this day has come." 

“We are thrilled with the success of Columbia Commons, a mixed-income development that will help transform the Waterfront District,” said Alicia Glen, Managing Director and Head of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs.  “Providing early stage capital to facilitate innovative projects is a demonstration of our unique approach to revitalizing emerging urban neighborhoods.” 

"The family home ownership opportunity L+M planned for the site was clearly pitch-perfect for both the neighborhood and for the times in which we live. While many for-sale projects elsewhere have languished, the units at Columbia Hicks drew immediate market acceptance and sold at a near record pace," said Steve Hall, a managing director at Citi Community Capital. 

The buildings have helped spur the rapid evolution of the Columbia Street Waterfront District in Brooklyn and have expanded opportunities for homeownership and apartment rentals to New Yorkers from a wide range of incomes. The buildings offer one-, two- and three-bedroom homes and boast impressive amenities such as a shared courtyard, onsite gym and laundry facilities and a package room for convenient, tenant-friendly postage handling. Onsite parking is also available. Each unit contains high-quality finishes and energy saving appliances. Residents all share in a wide array of high-end amenities including a large courtyard, fitness area, common laundry room, as well as a parking garage located underneath the buildings.  

L+M worked closely with local Community Board 6, neighborhood groups and residents to ensure that the development would complement the architectural style of  Cobble Hill, and nearby Brooklyn Heights and as well as the active local waterfront.  Each of the three buildings is defined by a different façade and shares complimentary architectural detailing that helps preserve the design integrity of the area.  The buildings contain masonry detailing, multi-paned windows, distressed brick façades, and color schemes reflective of the historical style of the neighborhood.  

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 About L+M Development Partners

Since 1984, L+M Development Partners has been an innovator in developing quality affordable, mixed-income and market rate housing, while improving the neighborhoods in which it works.  A full-service firm, L+M works from conception to completion, handling development, construction and management with creativity that leads the industry.  L+M is responsible for more than $2 billion in development and construction and has created more than 10,000 high-quality units in the tri-state area alone. Community leaders, government officials and investment organizations turn to L+M because of its consistent track record of excellence.

 L+M is a double bottom line company, where its success is measured not only in financial returns but also by the positive impact it makes. L+M  takes pride in its  long-standing dedication to the communities it serves, demonstrated through an annual scholarship fund, job training programs and substantial support for local nonprofits. L+M brings a superior level of commitment to its investments in developments, and equally important, to its investment in people. Additional information can be found at www.lmdevpartners.com

 About the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC)

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family affordable housing throughout New York City. 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 finance the creation or preservation of 165,000 affordable housing units by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Since the plan launched in 2003, HDC financed more than 50,000 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 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 of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 114,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd 

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.


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.

 About the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world. 

Goldman Sachs established the Urban Investment Group (UIG) in 2001 to deploy the firm's capital by making investments and loans through comprehensive community development platforms that benefit underserved communities in the United States.  UIG has committed more than $1.3 billion, facilitating the creation and preservation of approximately 9,100 housing units - 75% of which are affordable to low, moderate and middle-income families - as well as over 730,000 sq. ft. of community facility space and approximately 900,000 sq. ft. of commercial and retail space.  To learn more about UIG, visit www.gs.com/uig.




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