FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND US DEPARTMENT OF ARMY AT FORT HAMILTON BREAK GROUND ON NEW FAMILY HOUSING FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL
Financing Provided by the City's Housing Development Corporation for the Construction of New Affordable Housing
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment Geoffrey M. Prosch, Major General Galen B. Jackman, Commanding General, Military District of Washington and Colonel Kewyn L. Williams, Commander of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton today attended a groundbreaking for the construction of new family housing for military personnel and their families. The new family housing plan involves the construction of 185 new homes and renovation of 43 existing homes including 6 historic townhouses. The City's Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is providing $52.4 million in taxable bonds for the development. Construction of the first homes is expected to be completed by summer 2005. US Senator Hillary Clinton, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Housing Development Corporation President Emily A. Youssouf joined the Mayor for the announcement at Fort Hamilton, located at the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
"Since September 11th, Fort Hamilton has assumed a greater role as it is the City's only active military base," said Mayor Bloomberg. "There are a number of National Guard and Army regiments located here that are responsible for safety and security throughout the City, and providing affordable quality housing to all New Yorkers is a priority of this Administration and today demonstrates that commitment. This is an important development initiative to house the brave men and women living here in order to protect our great City and Country."
"This groundbreaking is a giant step forward for all the service members who work in the metropolitan area and live at Fort Hamilton," said Col. Kewyn L. Williams, Fort Hamilton Installation Commander. "Our senior leadership has made Quality of Life a top priority. New housing strengthens the military presence in New York City. It will take a few years to accomplish this mission, but when it is complete it will have been worth all the effort."
"I have long been a supporter of Fort Hamilton because I believe it is vitally important, not only to our military but to our homeland security," said Senator Clinton. "Today's groundbreaking is an important part of ensuring that the men and women who serve at Fort Hamilton and around New York have high quality housing. The selection of Fort Hamilton for the Residential Communities Initiative is recognition of its importance to New York City and the nation."
"It is our top priority to ensure that all Brooklynites have a roof over their head that they can afford - and of course that holds especially true for our honorable military personnel," said Borough President Markowitz. "Fort Hamilton has served and protected the citizens of Brooklyn and New York City for almost 200 years, and today, in these challenging times, we continue to place our trust and confidence in their bravery and dedication. So to our future uniformed Brooklynites of Fort Hamilton's family housing - Brooklyn will always be your home and we are proud to have you as our neighbor."
"HDC has a long history of providing bond financing for the creation of affordable housing in New York City; so far this year we have issued more than $310 million to create over 2,100 affordable apartments," said HDC President Youssouf. "This is our first military housing transaction, and we are excited that our expertise allowed us to provide the $52.4 million in taxable bonds for the construction and renovation of this development. We are always looking for innovative ways to finance safe and affordable housing in New York City."
GMH Military Housing of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania teamed with The Benham Companies, Inc., Jeffrey M. Brown Associates, Inc., and the Residential Communities Initiative at Fort Hamilton to develop, construct, renovate and operate existing and proposed housing for the project.
"Soldiers and their families are going to receive brand-new or fully refurbished, quality housing when all is said and done," said GMH Chairman Gary Holloway. "This is just one of the ways we like to show our appreciation and give back to the soldiers for all they do. We are going to ensure they have a world class community to live in."
"The JMB team has worked diligently to identify the right contractors, coordinate unions and detail the daily process of transporting goods into and out of an active military base," said Eric LeClair, senior project manager for Jeffery M. Brown. "Our goal for this project is to provide service men and women with new, spacious, high quality housing that they are proud to call home."
The U.S. government created a privatization program in order to significantly improve the quality of housing on its military bases and be better able to retain experienced military personnel. The program provides a variety of financing initiatives designed to leverage limited federal funds by inducing the private sector to finance, build and renovate military housing more quickly and less expensively than the traditional military approach of contracting for the work and funding the entire cost.
HDC is providing $52.4 million in taxable bonds for the development. The proceeds of the issuance of the bonds will be used to fund a loan from HDC to the Borrower in order to fund most of the costs of the design, demolition, renovation, construction and operation of 228 housing units and associated improvements in residential family housing areas located at Fort Hamilton. Every solider that is not housed in a barracks is entitled to a housing stipend or in military terms a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The BAH is a fixed number based on rank, and the developers created a plan that allotted a certain number of units for each rank.
Fort Hamilton is one of the oldest Army installations in the United States, and currently serves the region's large retired and reserve communities and is headquarters to one of the Army's most active recruiting battalions. Other tenant organizations include the Joint Service NY Military Entrance Processing Station; the headquarters for the North Atlantic Division US Army Corps of Engineers; the NY Army National Guard Task Force Empire Shield; the 1179th Transportation Brigade of the 77th Regional Readiness Command; 5th Brigade (HS SCH), 98th Division; the US Air Force 722nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron; and other federal and Department of Defense agencies. More than 600 civilian employees and 1,200 military personnel and their families, work and/or reside on the 179-year-old Army post.
Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Tracy Paurowski (HDC) (212) 227-9496
Raymond Aalbue (Fort Hamilton) (718) 630-4721