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Welcome Back: Markham Gardens Residents
Prepare to Move Back Home

The first 37 residents of the newly completed rental units at Markham Gardens will be moving in soon as the initial phase of the Staten Island development's $60 million new construction nears completion. Thirty-two of the 37 new renters are former Markham residents and an additional five are New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents who are transferring from other developments.

The new Markham Gardens
The new Markham Gardens is almost ready for new and returning residents to move in.
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

The new Markham Gardens will include 240 mixed-income rental units, 25 attached two-family homes that are available for homeownership, and a senior building. To ensure that the majority of the apartments remain affordable for families with low to moderate incomes, 150 are reserved for Section 8 voucher holders, and the remaining 90 are for residents with incomes between $42,350 and $85,080 for a family of four.

The Markham Gardens redevelopment is part of NYCHA's collaboration with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Housing Development Corporation on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan to create or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing in the City by the year 2013.

The original Markham Gardens was never intended to be permanent housing for families. Completed during World War II in 1943, Markham Gardens was built to serve as temporary housing for workers employed under defense contracts at nearby shipyards. The apartments were undersized by current standards and the buildings' wooden frames and stucco exteriors left them vulnerable to termite infestation and erosion by salt air.

The old Markham Gardens
Markham Gardens before redevelopment
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

Over time, NYCHA invested a total of $15 million in renovations to maintain the original structures, but more was needed to preserve the 23 two-story buildings. In 2004 NYCHA announced plans to replace the West Brighton development with public/private affordable housing due to structural problems within the development that no amount of renovation could adequately address. A total of 202 families were relocated.

“Demolition of the outdated structures has given NYCHA the opportunity to provide new quality and affordable housing for many years to come,” said NYCHA's Assistant Deputy General Manager for Development, Ilene Popkin.

Because of the development's history, plans for its demolition drew the attention of the New York State Housing and Preservation Office, which set a number of guidelines, including the condition that NYCHA create an historic exhibit of the original Markham Gardens.

The final phase of the new development at Markham will be an 80-unit senior residence. The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a national nonprofit, is currently awaiting approval of a Section 202 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide the funding.

The developers for the Markham project are the Arker Companies, the Domain Companies and Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island.

By Eileen Elliott
December 15, 2008