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PR- 293-04
November 05, 2004


Mixed-Use Development Complex Brings Jobs, Affordable Housing, Retail and New Community Center to Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today “topped off” Avalon Chrystie Place, the first of a four-building development along East Houston Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The building, now under construction, will occupy the entire south side of East Houston Street between Chrystie Street and the Bowery, and will include 361 mixed-income rental apartments, a 42,000 square foot recreational and community facility, and two floors of retail space, over 60,000 of which will be occupied by a Whole Foods Market.  The new affordable housing units are a part the administration’s plans to fund the creation and preservation of more than 65,000 homes and apartments for more than 200,000 New Yorkers through 2008. The event celebrated the contributions of the Cooper Square Task Force, a City-initiated collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and elected officials, whose study and recommendations formed the basis for the transformation of the Cooper Square Urban Renewal Area, where the Avalon Chrystie Place is now being constructed.  Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan, AvalonBay Communities Senior Vice President for Development Fred Harris and Council Member Alan Gerson joined the Mayor for the ceremony.

“Today’s announcement shows just how far we’ve come from the days when the Lower East Side seemed to be locked into a downward spiral of crime and blight,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’ve changed that and made this a community where families want to live and businesses want to invest. And affordable housing is fundamental to ensuring that long-term prosperity. When this $350 million complex is complete, it will include a total of 712 rental units of which 178 will be low-income units. And over the course of construction, 375 construction jobs will have been created and the project will generate 418 new permanent jobs. This is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood, and best of all the Cooper Square community was a full partner in the decision making process.”

“This Cooper Square development is one of the largest in HPD’s history and adds to the residential and commercial vitality of an already dynamic area,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan. “The income mix and community facilities are a great match for the historic diversity of this part of Manhattan.”
In accordance with Cooper Square Task Force recommendations, 75% of the apartments in the four building complex are market rate and 25% are reserved for households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income, or $37,680 for a family of four.  Residents of this first building will enjoy the services of a 24-hour doorman, rooftop recreation area, lounge, exercise room and lounge.

The first building will include 288 market-rate rental apartments, 72 rental apartments for low-income residents, as well as community amenities.  Tenants for the low-income apartments will be selected through a lottery process.  The recreational and community facility will have a swimming pool, gym, activity rooms, and a basketball court, and it will be jointly owned and operated by the University Settlement and the YMCA of Greater New York.  Construction on Avalon Chrystie Place is expected to be complete by December 2005. 

Guided by a planning consultant, the Cooper Square Task Force sought to strengthen the areas surrounding the urban renewal sites while preserving the scale and character of the adjacent neighborhood.  The group formulated a consensus around all aspects of the urban renewal area redevelopment including new construction, disposition of City-owned buildings, limited demolition and relocation and the preservation of the Liz Christy and Rock ‘n’ Rose Gardens. Their recommendations were incorporated into the competitive Request for Proposal issued by HPD.  

AvalonBay Communities, Inc., a publicly traded, national real estate investment trust, broke ground on the site in December 2003.  Avalon Chrystie Place was designed by Arquitectonica; SLCE are the executive architects; and Williams Jackson Ewing is the retail development consultant.  AvalonBay Communities responded to the HPD RFP in a joint venture with Phipps Houses, an established not-for-profit housing developer in New York City. 

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring the AvalonBay name and a superb new development to Manhattan,” said Fred Harris, AvalonBay Communities Senior Vice President. “It is extremely gratifying for us to be able to support Mayor Bloomberg’s ‘New Housing Marketplace’ plan and offer New York City residents a wonderful living option in a vibrant community.  Being a part of the renewal of this neighborhood and putting long-vacant land back to productive use is especially gratifying.”     

The $150 million building being topped off today is a public-private partnership.  The funding sources include the New York State Common Retirement Fund, advised by JPMorgan Fleming, which is AvalonBay’s equity partner in Avalon Chrystie Place, providing $28 million of equity financing.  The developer, AvalonBay Communities, is providing $7 million of equity.  Construction and permanent financing comes from the sale of $117 million of tax-exempt bonds issued by the NY State Housing Finance Agency.   Avalon Chrystie Place will also receive 421a property tax benefits and sales tax exemption for on-site construction materials through a unique arrangement with the Empire State Development Corporation.  AvalonBay Communities Inc. paid the City $13.5 million for the land for the first phase and will pay the City $40.5 million total to purchase the land for all four phases of development. 

“Avalon Chrystie Place is a project that will bring much-needed affordable, high-quality housing to New York City residents, particularly in the downtown area,” said NYS Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the sole trustee of the $117 billion State Common Retirement Fund, which has a $28 million equity investment in Avalon Chrystie as an investment partner. “I am proud that the State’s Pension Fund played an important role in bringing this extraordinary project to life and that this investment’s strong returns will benefit our Retirement Systems members.”
“Empire State Development is pleased to be part of New York City’s effort to provide additional housing for New Yorkers,” said ESDC Chairman Charles A. Gargano.  “The ‘topping off’ of Avalon Chrystie Place is a great example of public-private partnership.”

“The New York State Housing Finance Agency is proud to have been able to contribute to the construction of the Avalon Chrystie Place project,” said Housing Finance Agency Chairman Jerome M. Becker.  “This addition to the Lower Manhattan community will play a vital role re-establishing this neighborhood as a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Prospective renters for the market-rate apartments should contact the developer at  There will be an official announcement when applications are available for the low-income apartments on


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Carol Abrams   (HPD)
(212) 863-5176

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