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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eric Bederman (HPD) 212-863-5176

HUD, HCR, HPD, Jonathan Rose Companies, and HCCI Celebrate the Naming and Grand Opening of Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza

Harlem’s first LEED-Silver Designed Housing Development Creates
65 Low-Income Green Residences for Seniors

(NEW YORK – Nov. 30, 2011) – The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New York City Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) joined Jonathan Rose Companies and  Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI) to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza.  Previously known as Erbograph Apartments, the building is being named in honor of Dr. Petioni, an active member of HCCI’s Board of Directors who has served as a doctor in Harlem for over 60 years.  The eight-story, 65-unit building is located at 203 West 146th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd in the Bradhurst section of Harlem.  Dr. Petioni Plaza is Harlem’s first LEED-Silver designed affordable housing development for low-income seniors.  

Green design features include high-performance mechanical systems, rainwater harvesting, a green roof, non-toxic paints and materials, FSC-certified wood, south-facing sun shades, and EnergyStar lights and appliances.  The building is designed to accommodate aging-in-place seniors earning no more than 50% of the area median income, and is fully accessible for individuals with physical disabilities.  HCCI will offer health and wellness services to building residents and operating support from the HUD Section 202 program will allow for an on-site social services coordinator. 

 “Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza is a remarkable example of what strong partnership, vision, and leadership can achieve. This is exactly the kind of project HUD’s Section 202 was created to support, and I am proud HUD was able to provide $9.7 million in funding,” said Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrion. “I applaud HCCI, Jonathan Rose Companies, HPD and HCR for creating a development that promotes energy efficiency and sustainability, while providing much needed housing and services for the Harlem community.” 

“How appropriate that an iconic LEED-Silver designed, senior affordable housing complex should carry the name of an American icon, Dr. Muriel Petioni, who has been blazing trails for more than 70 years,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner and CEO Darryl C. Towns. “The Dr. Petioni Plaza project has more than 60 affordable units for very low-income elderly and frail elderly households, with on-site access to health care and social services. This great building deserves to carry the name of the ‘The Mother of Medicine in Harlem.’  Dr. Petioni was completely ahead of her time as a primary care practitioner who knew that the best care treats the entire patient and not the individual symptoms of an illness.  HCR was proud to provide $4.4 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funding from the New York State Housing Trust Fund.  Dr. Petioni Plaza reflects the commitment of Governor Cuomo and HCR to provide safe and secure affordable housing for our seniors.” 

Dr. Petioni Plaza was created under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The plan, launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2003, is a multibillion dollar 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 125,700 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. More than 43,200 units have been financed in Manhattan with more than 10,352 units in Community Board 10 where the 203 West 146th Street site is located. 

“Developing affordable housing in this economic climate is not only important but vital, especially for the City’s most vulnerable populations who have limited options. Senior citizens in this city often struggle to keep up with the perpetually rising cost of living and maintain fundamentally basic needs,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua. “Because of our partnership with HUD, HCR, Jonathan Rose Companies and HCCI along with our other for-profit and not-for-profit colleagues, we were able to take down an abandoned building and transform this lot into new quality supportive housing for those in need. This housing will ensure these residents will never have to make essential sacrifices in order to have a safe home.” 

“It has been wonderful developing Dr. Petioni Plaza, the first LEED and Green Communities designed senior affordable housing development  in Harlem, with our partner, HCCI,” said Jonathan F.P. Rose, President of Jonathan Rose Companies. “The project integrates social services, affordable housing and green design, a model of positive urban redevelopment of a former brownfield.” 

“Dr. Petioni is a living legend.  Her countless contributions to the Harlem community have made it a better, healthier place; and we are so proud to honor her with the establishment of the Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza,” said Dr. Charles Curtis, Ed. D Chairman of HCCI.  “Through the development of much needed senior housing and services, HCCI maintains its commitment to provide quality, affordable housing for Harlem. We have developed more than 2000 units of affordable housing, and we will continue until all of New York’s housing needs are met.”

In the 1980s, Bradhurst, in Central Harlem, had one of the highest concentrations of owner-abandoned properties in the City, all of which were seized by the City in lieu of property tax payments. Over the intervening decades, the City, through HPD, created programs and partnerships that put these in-rem buildings and properties back into private or not-for-profit ownership and productive use as affordable housing. Dr. Petioni Plaza sits on a formerly city-owned site which was occupied by an abandoned film storage warehouse known as the Erbograph building. High levels of asbestos and other contaminants were found at the site and it was designated as a ‘Brownfield’ location. The development site has gone through extensive remediation in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

"Thanks to leadership of HCCI, the Jonathan Rose Companies and their successful partnership with community leaders and elected officials, our community will have a new, multi-faceted, energy-efficient facility that will address the health, education and social service needs of our elderly," said Congressman Charles Rangel. "After so many years of hard work and contributions to society, our seniors deserve an affordable, supportive place that will provide the necessary resources to allow them to continue to be active, healthy members of our community.” 

“Dr. Muriel Petioni has worked all her life to help the people of our community. For her namesake to be this environmentally-conscious project, which will continue to serve our community, is the proper way to carry on her proud legacy,” Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said. “It is even better that this building will provide homes to low-income seniors, which by itself is a wonderful thing.” 

“This is a significant restoration and also a great example of what good practices can do toward reclaiming and transforming potentially hazardous sites into environmentally safe areas where much needed housing and schools can be built. With environmentally sound practices, it shows that we can reclaim our communities and restore buildings like The Erbograph that have architectural merit and put them to work to meet 21st century needs. By re-purposing this building, it also improves the visual aesthetic of our community while preserving its architectural character,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. 

Designed by Harlem-based architect, Body Lawson Associates, Dr. Petioni Plaza is 62,000 square feet and was built by Lasberg Construction Associates in accordance with environmentally conscious development standards. The project exceeds the NYSERDA Green Affordable Housing Program and Enterprise Green Communities guidelines for environmental responsibility and is expected to achieve LEED Silver designation. The green features of the building will support the health of its residents and help to protect them from rising energy costs. 

“Dr. Petioni Plaza is proof that successful economic development can incorporate energy efficiency measures and green building principles to save energy while providing a comfortable, healthy living environment for residents,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “As Harlem’s first LEED-Silver designed affordable housing development for low-income seniors, it is a model that we hope to see replicated more as everyone benefits from a building like this one – the residents, the neighborhood and the community at large.” 

Green features of Dr. Petioni Plaza include solar shades on the south façade of the building to keep apartments cooler in the summer while allowing winter sunlight into apartments, ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and light fixtures to provide additional savings, and high-efficiency boilers and water-source heat-pumps to conserve energy. The building features a terrace and planted green roof on the 7th floor to provide open space for residents and a rainwater harvesting system to funnel water from the roof into storage tanks to be used for irrigation and cooling-tower make-up, reducing utility costs and storm water run-off.  The design features low- or no- VOC paints and primers, healthy floor and wall coverings throughout the building to reduce toxic emissions and create a healthier living environment. 

Dr. Petioni Plaza is named in honor of Dr. Muriel Petioni. Dr. Petioni has devoted her life to her profession, her family and her community.  She served as President and CEO of The Friends of Harlem Hospital, Inc. for 15 years. During her tenure the hospital raised over $142 million for an endowment fund that dispersed $150,000 to three projects in Harlem Hospital: “Addressing the Needs of Sexually Abused Adolescents,” “Falls and Related Injury Prevention for the Elderly,” and the “Maternity & Early Childhood Initiative.”Dr. Petioni remains active in the Harlem community and presently serves on the several executive boards including the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; The Greater Harlem Nursing Home and the Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement. Dr. Petioni received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for significant contributions to the nation in recognition for her work in the medical community. 

Dr. Petioni stated, “I am very happy that this building is being named after me because it supports my passion for increased services to seniors.  This project fulfills and emphasizes the need for housing devoted to seniors and increased services for seniors.” 

"Naming such a facility after a living legend like Dr. Muriel Petioni is not only fitting but way overdue,” Congressman Rangel added. “There can never be enough honors and monuments for a woman who had done so much for this community. She has had a constant impact on our lives both as a primary care physician to millions and as a passionate advocate for quality education and healthcare.” 

HPD contributed the land for Dr. Petioni Plaza to HCCI for $1, and also provided a repayable seed loan of $1.06 million to fund the remediation and demolition work on the old warehouse. Dr. Petioni Plaza’s total development cost of $23.9 million comes from a variety of sources, including $9.7 million from the HUD Section 202 program, $4.4 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funding from the New York State Housing Trust Fund, $8.3 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity from Richman Housing Resources, $1.28 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program through Carver Federal Savings Bank, $153,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), $50,000 from the Enterprise Green Communities Program, and $50,000 from the Home Depot Foundation.  

“In 2008, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York partnered with our member, Carver Federal Savings, to provide a $1.28 million Affordable Housing Program grant to help fund the construction of Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza,” said Alfred A. DelliBovi, President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. “We are proud to join so many of New York’s housing visionaries in working together to create this much-needed housing for Harlem’s seniors.” 

The Dr. Petioni Plaza development is a prime example of terrific public, private, and nonprofit partners coming together to make green, affordable homes happen for Harlem seniors,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Enterprise is committed to ensuring that elderly New Yorkers have safe, sustainable and affordable homes where they can age in place, and proud to support HCCI and Jonathan Rose Companies with an Enterprise Green Communities grant.” 

HCCI and Jonathan Rose Companies previously partnered with the City of New York on the development of David & Joyce Dinkins Gardens, Harlem’s first 100% affordable green housing development for low-income families and youth aging out of foster care, located at 263 West 153rd Street.  


About the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and  You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv. 

About New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR):

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) consists of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies, including, the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. 

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 125,700 affordable homes have been created or preserved.  

About Jonathan Rose Companies:

Jonathan Rose Companies is an award winning real estate development, planning, owner’s representative, and investment firm whose mission is to repair the fabric of communities. A leading green urban solutions provider, the firm manages over $1.5 billion of work, much of it in close collaboration with not-for-profits, cities and towns.

 About Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI):

Founded in 1986, HCCI is a coalition of more than 90 inter-faith congregations that has implemented a comprehensive portfolio of programs to provide affordable housing and safe streets; offer opportunities for individuals and groups to become and remain economically independent; increase understanding of and access to health care; and provide substantive educational programs for adults and young people.


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