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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eric Bederman, HPD (212) 863-5176


Phipps Houses and West Harlem Group Assistance team up with funding from HDC, HPD and partners to bring 80 new units of affordable housing and a new playground to Central Harlem

March 8, 2012 (New York, NY) – New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Marc Jahr and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Deputy Commissioner of Development RuthAnne Visnauskas joined Adam Weinstein, President of Phipps Houses and Donald C. Notice, Executive Director West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA) to celebrate their latest partnership at the opening of Dempsey Apartments, one of Harlem’s newest affordable housing developments. Located at 128 West 128th Street, the six-story building offers 80 new units of sustainable and affordable housing to the residents of Central Harlem. 

Dempsey Apartments were developed under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The plan, launched by Mayor Michael R. 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 129,200 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. Approximately 44,089 units have been financed in Manhattan with more than 10,352 units in Community Board 10 where Dempsey Apartments is located. 

Marc Jahr, President of HDC said: “The Dempsey, like many other developments, puts into perspective the common goal in maintaining strong partnerships in the public and private sector – creating an affordable and sustainable City for New Yorkers.  Not only is this development creating homes for low-income families, it has provided 183 construction-related job opportunities. I would like to thank Phipps Houses and West Harlem Group Assistance on this collaboration.” 

“There can be many challenges when developing new housing in New York City, especially during these times of budget cuts and financial hardships. We must focus on the all-important end goal, finding a dynamic way to create safe affordable homes for low-income New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. This is why I am so proud to work with dedicated partners such as HDC, NYSERDA, Phipps Houses and West Harlem Group Assistance. When we work together we can continue to revitalize our neighborhoods and establish new homes for New Yorkers.” 

The development of Dempsey Apartments was a joint venture between Phipps Houses, New York City’s largest not-for-profit developer/owner of affordable housing, and West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA), one of Harlem’s oldest and largest community development organizations. Project financing for Dempsey Apartments came from a combination of public and private funding sources including, HPD, HDC, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Hudson Capital. The building is located on land formerly owned by NYC Human Resources Administration, adjacent to the Oberia D. Dempsey Center, a neighborhood center that provides social, health and educational services to the community. Development of Dempsey Apartments will also include the renovation of the children’s playground grounds for the community center. Playground rehabilitation will include new playground equipment, the addition of new surrounding garden plants and a new basketball court. 

Reverend Oberia D. Dempsey, the namesake for both the new housing development and the existing community center, was a Harlem minister in the 1960’s who fought against the City’s drug epidemic for more than two decades. He led a number of anti-drug programs in the neighborhood and started the House of Hope Rehab Clinic which operated in the Baptist church he founded on Park Avenue. Rev. Dempsey was chosen assistant minister of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1955 by the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., pastor of the church and later the United States Representative from that district. Rev. Dempsey, who was also a political aide to Mr. Powell, died in 1982 at the age of 67. 

"HRA is honored to have supported the development of The Dempsey, a magnificent affordable housing project that is proof of the great partnership between City agencies and community-based organizations," said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. "The Oberia D. Dempsey Multi-Service Center, run by WHGA on behalf of HRA, provides comprehensive social services to members of the community and also hosts local events and activities that help strengthen their ties. Thank you to all involved in the planning and construction of this building but especially to the WHGA's leadership, HPD, HDC and Phipps Houses."   

“Phipps Houses is once again pleased to work with our longtime partner West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. to create more affordable housing in Harlem,” said Phipps Houses President and CEO Adam Weinstein. “We could not have done so without the support of HPD, HDC and the leadership of our local elected officials.” 

“Dempsey Apartments were constructed on a formerly underutilized parking lot next to a City-supported community center we have operated for years,” said Donald C. Notice, Executive Director of WHGA. “The Department of Education and the Human Resources Administration were kind enough to release the property to HPD for disposition. Today, with HPD’s and HDC’s enormous assistance, as well as that of our long-time partner Phipps Houses, Dempsey Apartments is a beacon for the community and an example of the importance of strategic partnerships in affordable housing development.” 

The new building consists of 80 units made up of of seven studios, 28 one-bedrooms, 39 two-bedroom, and six three-bedroom apartments. Eighty percent of the units are available to tenants earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or $47,520 for a family of four. The remaining units are set at 40% AMI or $31,681 for a family of four. Income levels are determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Apartments were marketed in accordance with the HPD lottery process which was supervised by HDC.  

The total development cost for Dempsey Apartments is $26.3 million. HDC issued $13 million in tax-exempt bonds for the construction financing and provided $4.4 million in corporate subsidy. The HPD contributed $8.8 million in HOME funds, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) issued $201,960 and an additional private capital of $9 million in Tax Credit Equity was provided by Capital One Bank though Hudson Housing Capital. 

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, a total of more than 129,200 affordable homes have been created or preserved. 

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 2004, HDC financed nearly 47,521 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 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. Since the plan’s inception, more than 129,200 affordable homes have been created or preserved. 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 Phipps Houses

Phipps Houses is the nation's oldest and one of its largest not-for-profit developer/owners of affordable housing. It is a multi-faceted real estate organization, involved in the construction of new housing, rehabilitation of existing apartment buildings, residential and some commercial property management, and community building, all in New York City and its environs. Its wholly owned 501(c)(3) subsidiary, Phipps Community Development Corporation (Phipps CDC), provides human services to our communities. Phipps Houses Services, Inc. (PHSI) provides property management services, and is a for-profit wholly owned subsidiary of Phipps Houses. The Phipps Houses mission is to create and sustain enduring communities through housing development, attentive property management, and residentially and community based human services. 

About West Harlem Group Assistance

West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA) is a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit community based development corporation established in 1971 to revitalize the under-invested West and Central Harlem communities – then riddled with dilapidated and abandoned buildings. Presently celebrating 40 years ironically as its preservation efforts have taken hold and Harlem is experiencing an influx of new businesses and investments, WHGA’s primary function has become to quell the negative impacts of rapid gentrification on its low to moderate-income constituency, with a renewed focus on preservation of its housing stock, homes and businesses in the Harlem community. 






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