Brooklyn, NY - The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Marc Jahr, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) New York Hub Multi-Family Director Teresa Bainton, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined SKA Marin, the Calvary Church of God, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, and partners to celebrate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Riverway Apartments. Located at 230 Riverdale Avenue in Brooklyn, this new development provides 115 units of affordable housing with onsite supportive services to seniors 62 years of age and older.
Riverway Apartments was developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. For every dollar invested by the City for affordable housing, the NHMP has leveraged $3.48 in additional funding for a total investment of more than $23.6 billion. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of more than 156,769 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs, with 37,360 units in Brooklyn.
“New York City’s high cost of living makes it a challenge for low-income seniors to find decent, safe and affordable housing,” said Teresa Bainton, HUD’s New York Multifamily Hub Director. “That is why we are proud to be part of this wonderful public-private partnership in which our Department has provided mortgage insurance and project-based vouchers that will be administered by the New York City Housing Authority. This beautiful, modern and safe building has 115 units, 114 of which house seniors, and offers them numerous amenities to enhance and enrich their lives. In these very challenging economic times, where credit remains tight, it is very impressive to see that so many of our partners remain committed to affordable housing and sustainable neighborhoods. That is why I wish to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Sydelle Knepper, and so many others for creating Riverway Senior Apartments and bringing joy and hope to so many deserving seniors.”
“As we have outlined in our strategic roadmap, Plan NYCHA, it is important for us to partner with HPD, HDC and developers like SKA Marin to ensure that the precious resource of public and affordable housing serves the greatest number of families in a fair and equitable manner,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “The Riverway Senior Residence has become home for 23 senior NYCHA residents, including 17 seniors who previously were living in NYCHA apartments where they had more rooms than they needed. In moving into Riverway, this has made their apartments available for other families who need the additional space. It is a win-win situation for both homes.”
“Partnerships are an important part of the equation for every one of our developments. This is especially true when building affordable supportive housing for vulnerable populations. The construction of Riverway Apartments would not have been possible without the support of partners like HDC, NYCHA, HUD, SKA Marin, the Calvary Church of God, Catholic Charities and many more. Together we’ve built new homes for senior citizens in need. Thank you all for your commitment to housing those with limited resources,” said HPD Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.
“I am proud that HDC could once again take a leadership role in funding a development which will serve our most vulnerable population,” said Marc Jahr, President of HDC. “This is an excellent example of how government agencies and non-profit organizations help create new affordable and supportive housing. On behalf of the residents and HDC, I would like to thank all of our remarkable partners for their passion and drive to make this a reality.”
Sydelle Knepper, CEO, SKA Marin said, "We are thrilled to celebrate the successful leasing and opening of the Riverway Apartments and the Riverway Senior Center. This new construction, state of the art building for low income seniors, allows the elderly to stay in their community and age in place in a safe, affordable and beautiful environment. Thank you to our partners; HUD, NYCHA, HPD and HDC, as well as lenders for their help in allowing this project to come to fruition."
Riverway Apartments is a new seven-story affordable housing development with 114 one-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit reserved for an onsite superintendent. All entryways are handicap accessible and the apartments and common areas were designed to meet the safety needs of elderly residents, including handrails and call buttons in all common hallways. Each apartment has a high-tech security system with video screens and emergency pull-cords in the bedrooms and bathrooms which are linked to a live security system that will connect directly to EMS if the pull-cords are activated. In addition to the residential portion, the development also includes a private landscaped courtyard, indoor parking, rooftop terrace and a community room. There is also a 9,660 square-foot senior center onsite. Residents will have access to onsite supportive services provided by Catholic Charities and the Calvary Church of God in Brooklyn. This will include hot meals as well as a number of programs and social activities.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the Riverway Apartments to Brooklyn! With more seniors than anywhere else in New York City, there’s no question that Brooklyn is the best place to spend your golden years, which is why it’s critical that we ensure our seniors, have access to affordable housing,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “With its innovative design, unique features, and top-notch services for seniors, Riverway is truly a model for the entire country that shows how senior centers should be built. So bravo to NYCHA, the City’s Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development, NYC’s Housing Development Corporation, the Department for the Aging along with SKA Marin, the Cavalry Church of God, and Catholic Charities – with your help, we will make our senior years our best years!”
“Affordable housing is a great concern for all New Yorkers, but seniors are an especially vulnerable population. For Older Adults living on fixed incomes the cost of skyrocketing rent can force them into poverty. Riverway apartments provides seniors with living spaces that are affordable, attractive and have an on-site Innovative Senior Center to provide education, recreation, and nutrition services to the senior residents in the building and the community,” said Caryn Resnick, Deputy Commissioner, External Affairs at The NYC Department for the Aging.
“The Riverway Project represents more than just senior housing. It is a place our residents, senior center members, and after school children can affectionately call home. This safe haven also serves as an intergenerational platform where the community’s needs are discussed and addressed. With each program conducted within our community center, the participants will leave with empowering tools to effectively influence the trajectory of their lives and their neighborhood,” said Rev. Stephen Hutchinson, Calvary Church of God.
“With our Catholic Charities Riverway Innovative Senior Center, we are happy to be able to have a strong presence in the Brownsville community. We are delighted to have been able to work with such wonderful partners as Sydelle Knepper and SKA Marin, the New York City Department for the Aging, Pastor Hutchinson and the Calvary Church of God and our legislators. We are looking forward to reaching out further by expanding support and services to seniors and families in the Brownsville Community. I am very proud of our Catholic Charities staff who worked diligently in getting this project up and running,” Donna Corrado, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, Inc.
SKA Marin worked closely with NYCHA and HUD to meet the needs of over-housed seniors living in public housing. A 20% preference was established for eligible seniors living in NYCHA housing. The development team met with NYCHA tenant associations in the Brownsville neighborhood to help tenants determine their eligibility for Riverway Apartments. The remaining units in this development were filled via HPD and HDC supervised housing lottery. There was a 10% preference for eligible seniors living in Brooklyn community board 16.
Income restrictions were set according to the 2012 calculations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD). Twenty-three units were made available to seniors earning up to 40% Area Median Income (AMI), or no more than $24,080 annually for an individual. Ninety-one units were made available to seniors earning up to 50% AMI, or no more than $30,100 annually for an individual. The remaining unit is reserved for an onsite superintendent. Tenants will pay no more than 30% of their adjusted gross monthly income towards rent with the remainder of the cost being subsidized by Project-based Section 8 vouchers provided by NYCHA.
The City of New York requires that subsidized apartments be rented through an Open Lottery System to ensure fair and equitable distribution of housing to eligible applicants. Marketing of the apartments and the application process for the lottery typically begin when construction is approximately 70 percent complete. For more information regarding the lottery process or if you would like to receive an e-mail when HPD updates its available apartment and home website listings for City-subsidized housing in the five boroughs, please visit the Apartment Seekers and Homebuyers pages at www.nyc.gov. Current housing lotteries are also available at www.nyc.gov/housingconnect . Applicants may submit either a paper application or an electronic application. Duplicate applications will be disqualified.
The total development cost for Riverway Apartments is approximately $36.1 million. HUD provided mortgage insurance for the project. HDC provided $20.2 million in tax exempt bonds towards construction financing and $7 million in tax exempt bonds toward permanent financing. HDC also provided $6.3 million in permanent financing from their corporate reserves and low-income housing tax credits that generated $13.3 million in tax credit equity. HPD provided $6.9 million in HOME funding. NYCHA provided the project-based Section 8 vouchers to subsidize rents and alleviate the rent burden on all of the residents of Riverway Apartments. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) provided $1.5 million in financing. The development was constructed on formerly-HPD owned land that was conveyed to the developer for the cost of $1. Mortgage insurance is provided by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) under the Section 221(d) (4) Program. Wells Fargo was the loan originator and FHA underwriter; Raymond James acted as tax credit syndicator.
“Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc. is proud to be the equity capital partner in the recently completed Riverway Apartments project with SKA Marin. Riverway Apartments will provide high quality affordable housing opportunities to deserving senior members of the Brownsville community. Riverway Apartments is an extraordinarily well designed project that incorporates community space and supportive services that its residents and senior community members will enjoy for years to come. Raymond James would like to congratulate Sydelle, Stephanie and James Knepper and all of the project partners who made this project a reality, especially The New York City Housing Development Corporation, The New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, and Bank of New York, all of whom worked with Raymond James on project financing,” said Darryl Seavey, Managing Director Northeast Region, Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA):
NYCHA is committed to increasing opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 334 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. To fulfill its vital mission and even better serve residents while facing dramatic reductions in traditional government funding, NYCHA is developing new financing options and building innovative partnerships across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. These strategies are helping NYCHA to address many key challenges, from preserving aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of developments, to increasing resident access to a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives.
About the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC):
Since 2000, HDC has issued roughly 10% of all the multi-family housing revenue bonds in the U.S. and since 2003, when Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan was launched, HDC has raised more than $6.7 billion in financing for affordable housing developments, including providing in excess of $1 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. In Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s annual listing of the nation’s top ten funders of multifamily housing, HDC is the only municipal entity on the list. In 2013, HDC was the third largest affordable housing lender in the U.S. after Citi and Wells Fargo, beating out Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One. To date, under the Mayor’s plan, HDC has financed the creation or preservation of more than 73,765 of the total 156,397 affordable units. Multifamily buildings financed by HDC contain more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. For additional information, visit: www.nychdc.com
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 the end of fiscal year 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 156,769 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For regular updates on news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing. For more information, visit our website at www.nyc.gov/hpd
About SKA Marin:
SKA Marin is a real estate firm specializing in affordable housing and community development projects. As developer, owner and manager, SKA Marin has built thousands of affordable units in the Metropolitan New York area. SKA Marin is widely respected in the affordable housing industry for its innovative approaches to aging in place and ease in using creative finance.
Sydelle Knepper is the founder and owner of SKA Marin. Ms. Knepper has more than thirty years of experience in community and real estate development in both the private and public sectors. Her past positions in government include Assistant Commissioner for Development and Policy at the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Director of Project Finance at the New York State Housing Finance Agency, Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Director of Local Legislation for Mayor Ed Koch. In 2005, she was honored by the National and New York Housing Conferences for her contributions to housing development in New York. Ms. Knepper's project experience aggregates in excess of over one billion in total constructed value. She is co-Chair of the New York Housing Conference and co-Chair of a transition committee for the incoming Brooklyn Borough President.