NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea and NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua announced that Trinity Financial, Inc. and West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA) have been chosen as the development team for the redevelopment of Randolph Houses, located in Central Harlem. The extensive rehabilitation and preservation of 36 historic buildings will result in 314 units of housing; 147 NYCHA public housing units and 167 affordable housing units. NYCHA will be contributing up to $40 million in federal capital funding towards the construction of the public housing units under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Mixed Finance program. Mixed Finance allows public housing authorities to combine HUD capital funds with other public, private and non-profit sources to create public housing units in developments that also include private affordable housing units. This is the largest mixed-finance development to be undertaken so far as part of NYCHA and HPD’s collaboration.
“This is a significant milestone in the commitment made to the current and former residents of Randolph Houses and the greater Harlem community,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “Once completed, this project will represent the largest number of new public housing units completed since the late 1990s. Trinity Financial’s outstanding track record with HUD, combined with the West Harlem Group’s long-standing service to Harlem, represent a standard of excellence that the residents of Randolph Houses and their neighbors have long deserved and come to expect. We look forward to collaborating with the development team and our partners at HUD, HPD and HDC to make Randolph Houses an innovative model for new affordable housing development within Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP).”
“This announcement puts in place the key pieces needed to revitalize the Randolph Houses, strengthen the neighborhood and ensure that 314 New York families will have safe, affordable homes,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “With West Harlem Group Assistance and Trinity Financial we are combining the talents of a valued local partner and their long and successful track record of service to the community, with a developer who has extensive experience in strengthening neighborhoods through its work in public housing. I thank all of our partners for sharing our mission to create safe, quality housing for those most in need, and look forward to seeing this critical project continue to move ahead.”
The NYCHA/HPD collaboration highlights the Bloomberg Administration’s commitment to make the most of City resources for the benefit of hardworking New Yorkers. The partnership between the agencies is in keeping with a collaboration that was announced in April 2005 in an innovative effort to identify suitable NYCHA properties and develop them as affordable homes for low-income New Yorkers. The NYCHA/HPD cooperation has already produced more than 2,200 units with another 1,600 in construction or in the development pipeline; for a total of more than 3,800 affordable units in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
The City’s financial contribution to the Randolph Houses rehabilitation is made through Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). The NHMP is a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of Fiscal Year 2014. For every dollar invested by the City, the Plan has leveraged $3.41 in private funding for a total commitment of more than $19.4 billion to fund the creation or preservation of over 140,920 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs, with more than 47,553 units financed in Manhattan.
Randolph Houses consists of 36 tenement buildings along the north and south sides of West 114th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. The development includes 22 buildings on the south side of the street and 14 on the north side. All were constructed in the 1890s and were acquired by NYCHA in the 1970s. The buildings have been determined by the NYS Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) to be eligible for historic designation. Rehabilitation must preserve certain historic elements of the buildings’ exteriors.
The first phase of the Randolph Houses redevelopment will encompass the housing on the south side of the street, where the 22 tenement buildings are currently vacant and require extensive rehabilitation. The south side plan will yield 174 total rental units, including 147 NYCHA public housing units, and 27 units designated as affordable to households at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or what is equivalent to an annual household income not to exceed $49,800 for a family of four. The existing individual tenement buildings will be modified internally so that they are grouped into several larger buildings with a common circulation core with elevators, and they will be wheelchair accessible. The first phase of development will also include approximately 3,000-square-feet of community space, as well as landscaped open space for use by all tenants.
“The residents of the Randolph Houses and the New York City Housing Authority have been working diligently towards the redevelopment of this housing,” said Kenan Bigby, Vice President of Trinity Financial, Inc. “Trinity Financial, along with our partners West Harlem Group Assistance, are excited to join the effort and look forward to working with the residents, NYCHA, HPD and HDC to successfully redevelop the Randolph Houses into first class affordable housing and supportive amenities for this Harlem community.”
“WHGA is proud and excited to join our private and public partners at Trinity, NYCHA and HPD in the redevelopment of Randolph Houses,” said Donald C. Notice, Executive Director of West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. “In this new role as co-developer and tenant services coordinator we bring over 40 years of experience in development and delivering tenant services with a reputation for engaging residents and community stakeholders at every step of the way. WHGA is honored to have been chosen to represent the community-based and non-profit sector in this major revitalization effort in Harlem.”
“I’m excited about the fact that we’ve gotten to this point,” said Randolph Houses Resident Association President Roberta Coleman, who has been involved in the project since its inception. “It’s been a long time coming and right now we feel that it’s finally going to happen.”
The second phase will consist of the North Side of the street which contains14 tenement buildings that are currently occupied by NYCHA tenants. These buildings will be rehabilitated after the North Side tenants have been relocated to the newly renovated Public Housing units on the South Side. The North Side will be developed as 140 affordable rental units affordable to households at or below 60 percent AMI. As with the first phase, the buildings in the second phase of development will be combined internally and include elevators and wheelchair accessibility. The second phase of development will also include approximately 1,800-square-feet of community space, as well as landscaped open space for use by all tenants.
Randolph Houses will also incorporate green building practices and amenities consistent with the City’s mission to produce affordable, healthy and sustainable housing, and will be certified through Enterprise Green Communities criteria. The development will also be enrolled in NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) to increase energy efficiency and savings. New amenity spaces will be provided in the redevelopment plan to include a library/computer rooms, additional community space and laundry rooms in the buildings. The development team will collaborate with the Randolph Houses residents to create a program of social services to be offered. These may include such programs as case management services, a technology center, financial literacy counseling, and job readiness programs such as training in culinary arts.
The Randolph Houses are named after A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), who as the principal organizer of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and founder of the March on Washington Movement, led efforts to end segregation in the Armed Forces and in schools. The BSCP came to be viewed as a symbol of the African-American's claim to dignity, respect and a decent livelihood.
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About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
NYCHA provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low and moderate- income residents throughout the five boroughs. To fulfill this mission, NYCHA must preserve its aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of its developments. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. Simultaneously, we work to enhance the quality of life at NYCHA by offering our residents opportunities to participate in a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives. Visit: www.nyc.gov/nycha
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, it has financed the creation or preservation of more than 140,920 affordable homes. Visit: www.nyc.gov/hpd
About Trinity Financial, Inc.
Trinity Financial has a long and stellar record for developing successful public housing authority mixed-finance projects. Founded in 1987, Trinity Financial has completed or is currently developing over$1.46 billion in real estate, including over 6,700 residential units, more than 2,400 of which have been developed as part of large scale public housing redevelopment initiatives. This includes more public housing redevelopment work in the Northeast than any other developer in the country. Trinity’s vision is to revitalize neighborhoods, strengthen commerce and foster opportunities through a collaborative urban spirit.
About West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc, (WHGA)
WHGA’s mission is to revitalize its community through housing and economic development. In addition to housing, WHGA operates programs to provide small business opportunities, address homelessness, support anti-drug initiatives, address early childhood disabilities and development issues, adult employability, community medical access and access to technology. WHGA has developed over 1,200 units of affordable rental housing, 800 of which they directly manage; 125 of those units function as emergency homeless housing and 167 units provide housing for seniors. Under city and state contracts, WHGA assists hundreds of tenants and landlords each year with building code repairs, housing court counseling and eviction prevention.