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PR- 321-05
August 18, 2005


City Properties to be Designated for Creation of Affordable Housing in all Five Boroughs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan announced today that the City is releasing RFPs for new homes to be built on 248 of the last remaining vacant lots in HPD's portfolio and that preference will be given to developers who commit to building more affordable housing than the required minimum. In addition, for the first time, HPD will give first priority to development plans that incorporate environmentally-friendly design in the construction of multi-family homes. HPD is requesting proposals from developers to build more than 3,200 units citywide. Mayor Bloomberg announced plans at an 8,000 square feet City-owned vacant lot at Hinsdale Street in East New York that may yield 4 two- or three- family homes. The Mayor was joined by William Roberts who owns 439 Pennsylvania Avenue, a home that he and his family purchased in May 2004. Originally from Guyana, the Roberts family lived in Flatbush until a rent hike forced them to look for something more affordable, which they found in East New York. After years of renting, the Roberts family was able to purchase a home through HPD's homeownership program.

"As housing costs continues to rise and family budgets are stretched thin, it is important that we find long-term solutions to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more working New Yorkers; that we ease the anxiety of seniors who are living on fix incomes and lend a hand to tenants receiving Section 8 assistance," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Giving priority to developers who commit to building affordable housing is a common sense, practical and long-term solution to our City's housing crunch."

From owning over 100,000 units of housing and over 5,000 vacant lots in the 1980s, the City now owns just over 2,000 units which are currently being redeveloped by HPD programs and 248 developable lots. These vacant lots, the last to be placed in RFPs, will become sites of affordable homes in every borough under HPD's Cornerstone Program, a multi-family construction initiative, the agency's New Foundation Homeownership Program and site-specific RFPs. For a nominal price, most of the remaining lots will become available to developers participating in the RFP process. Giving preference to developers whose residential property proposals include a higher percentage of affordable units than required continues the administration's policy of using the redevelopment of City-owned land and buildings to catalyze neighborhood revitalization.

"These proposals combine the long-term success of using City-owned land for affordable housing with innovative new ideas that reflect the changing housing marketplace," said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "The New York City success story of revitalizing neighborhoods through City- owned land is admired around the world. But we are also making use of new tools to ensure that affordable housing continues to be built and preserved in every borough.

Through the Cornerstone program, developers may now present proposals to HPD to build apartments on 21 clusters of vacant City-owned lots, including eight clusters in East and Central Harlem, nine in Brooklyn, and four in the Bronx. A minimum of 20% of the apartments built must be for low-income New Yorkers, and to encourage even more affordability HPD will give preference to proposals that include more than 20%.

Under the New Foundations program, HPD is seeking proposals to build one-to-four family homes and cooperative/condominium apartments on 99 sites in 37 clusters of City-owned vacant land in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The new homes will be for New Yorkers with a range of incomes. At least one third of the units developed must be for low-income purchasers. HPD will give preference to proposals that include apartments and homes for moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. New Foundations proposals will be reviewed jointly by HPD and the non-profit Housing Partnership Development Corporation.

HPD also is accepting proposals to build Arverne East, an 81-acre site bounded by Beach 56th Place to Beach 32nd Street between Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Freeway, Seagirt Boulevard and the Boardwalk in Far Rockaway, Queens. The development will include about 1,500 mixed-income homes and cooperative/condominium units as well as approximately 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space to be built on a 47-acre development site between Beach 44th Street and Beach 32nd Street. Public amenities will include a 2.5 acre active recreational facility on the eastern side of Beach 32nd Street, as well as a 35-acre nature preserve to be developed between Beach 44th and Beach 56th Place and an approximately 15-acre barrier dune preserve to be developed between the Boardwalk and the development site.

On the north shore of Staten Island, HPD, in collaboration with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), seeks proposals to redevelop existing NYCHA housing at Markham Gardens. The housing currently on the site is obsolete, consisting of older, undersized units. At least 370 new units of housing will be built, and about 200 current and former residents will have the right to return to the new development. The new development will include rental apartments for low-income senior citizens; rental apartments for existing low-income tenants who would receive Section 8 housing vouchers; and mixed-income rental units. In the new Markham Gardens, there will also be homeownership opportunities in 25 or more owner-occupied two-family houses. The City Council has committed $2 million to help make 20 of the homes affordable to existing NYCHA residents.

In the RFPs, HPD requires that developers reserve a percentage of these apartments and homes for low-, moderate-, and middle-income New Yorkers. For each construction opportunity, developers are responsible for securing construction and permanent sources of financing necessary to carry out their proposals. All Requests for Proposals (RFP), including details about pre-submission conferences, will be available on the HPD website at

Mayor Bloomberg was also joined today by City Council member Tracy Boyland, New York State Assembly member Diane Gordon, Housing Development Corporation President Emily Youssouf, NYCHA General Manager Doug Apple, and Brooklyn Community Board 5 Chair Earl Williams.


Edward Skyler/Paul Elliott   (212) 788-2958

Carol Abrams   (Housing Preservation & Development)
(212) 863-5176

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