FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AND CONGRESSMAN VITO FOSSELLA CUT RIBBON ON 228 NEW AND REHABILITATED HOUSING UNITS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AT FORT HAMILTON ARMY GARRISON
$47 Million Loan Completes City’s Pledge to Improve Housing at Military Installation
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Vito Fossella today cut the ribbon on new and rehabilitated housing for military personnel and their families at the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Fort Hamilton's Doubleday Village is a neighborhood of 228 mostly new town homes and garden apartments financed with a $47 million loan from the City's Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to the developer, GMH Military Housing. HDC financed a loan of $47 million and GMH Military Housing, the developer of Doubleday Village, has contributed $6 million for a total project cost of $52.4 million. The Housing Development Corporation loan is made possible through the sale of taxable bonds. In August 2004, Mayor Bloomberg first announced that HDC would provide the financing for this housing initiative. The 228 mostly new homes and apartments at Fort Hamilton are a part of the administration's $3 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan which calls for funding the construction or preservation of 68,000 units of affordable housing across the City by 2008. In the first two years of the City's housing plan, construction and preservation has begun on 28,550 units of affordable housing, putting the administration 42% of the way towards making good on its housing agenda. Mayor Bloomberg joined the service men and women and their families in cutting the ribbon on their new homes on Doubleday Village.
"I am proud that we have made good on the commitment we made one year ago to finance affordable housing for the brave service men and women stationed at Fort Hamilton, who protect our City and ensure the integrity of our country's national security," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Since 9/11, Fort Hamilton has served as a secure location for training the FBI, Secret Service, NYPD and FDNY, including counter terrorism training. In May, the Pentagon thankfully decided against recommending the closing of Fort Hamilton. I applaud Congressman Vito Fossella and the Fort Hamilton Task Force for being effective advocates in making the case about the importance of Fort Hamilton to the City. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz are also to be recognized and applauded for their effectiveness in urging the Pentagon to keep Fort Hamilton open."
"Last month, after the BRAC Commission voted on its final recommendations, the nation learned what we in New York already knew: our state is second to none in contributing to our country's national security and homeland defense," Senator Clinton said. "This family housing at Fort Hamilton is a recognition once again of the critical role that this incredible facility plays in our community and another vote of confidence as we continue to invest in our state's military future."
Congressman Fossella said, "It is gratifying that after four years of hard work, we have successfully protected the Fort from closure and now are celebrating the grand opening of this new housing for our service members stationed here. The Fort Hamilton Task Force I formed four years ago did a tremendous job ensuring that the Fort remained opened through the BRAC process. Indeed, they made such a strong argument for the Fort that the BRAC has recommended expanding the mission of the base. This new housing will be key to meeting the needs of the service men and women stationed here and their families. These brave soldiers are protecting New York from future acts of terrorism and keeping our city safe. As I have often said, my goal is not simply to protect Fort Hamilton, but rather to strengthen and improve it for decades to come. We are clearly on the right road. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his role in this project and Col. Nicholson and the past commanders for their commitment to this base and our community."
The $47 million HDC provided through the sale of taxable bonds was used to make a mortgage loan to fund most of the costs of the design, demolition, renovation, construction and operation of the 228 housing units and associated improvements in residential family housing areas located at Fort Hamilton. Every soldier who 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.
"This was HDC's first military transaction and we are delighted that our expertise and experience eventually led to the authorization of up to $52.4 million in taxable bonds for the transformation of the former Doubleday field into these beautiful town homes and apartments," said HDC President Emily Youssouf. "As the nation's number one issuer of bonds for multi-family affordable housing, HDC is always looking for revolutionary financing strategies to provide quality and affordable housing to all New Yorkers."
The construction of Doubleday Village is a part of the Army's Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) which is a program aimed at to improving the standard of housing for U.S. military men and women. Doubleday Village includes the new construction of 35 town homes, the renovation of 35 town homes, the renovation of 2 single family homes, the renovation of 6 historical homes and the new construction of 150 apartments. The developer and manager of Doubleday Village is GMH Military Housing, which is joined in partnership by Benham Companies, and Jeffrey M. Brown Associates, Inc. HDC is joined in financing Doubleday Village by Lehman Brothers.
"Through implementation of the RCI Program, the Army will improve housing more quickly and at a lower life-cycle cost than through the use of traditional military construction and, more importantly, will ensure the long-term sustainment of adequate on-post family housing and communities," said William A. Armbruster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Privatization and Partnerships.
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.
"We are very pleased to provide new homes to the deserving military members and their families at Fort Hamilton," said GMH Military Housing President Bruce Robinson. "The success of this project would not be possible without the tremendous commitment and team work of RCI, the United States Army Garrison Fort Hamilton, The Benham Companies, Jeffery M. Brown Associates, Inc, New York City Housing Development Corporation and Lehman Brothers. It is very rewarding to be a part of a project that will make both New York City and military families proud."
Fort Hamilton is one of the oldest Army installations in the U.S. and currently serves the region's large retired and reserve communities and is headquarters to one of the Army's most active recruiting battalions. More than 600 civilian employees and 1,200 military personnel and their families, work and reside on the 180-year-old Army post.
Prior to cutting the ribbon on the new home, Mayor Bloomberg and HDC President Emily A. Youssouf were welcomed to Fort Hamilton in an official ceremony that was presided over by Fort Hamilton Garrison Commander and U.S. Army Colonel Tracey E. Nicholson, and included Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Privatization William A. Armbruster, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Congressman Vito Fossella, State Senator Martin J. Golden, NYC Department of Housing and Preservation Commissioner Shaun Donovan and GMH Military Housing President Bruce Robinson.
"Every Brooklynite deserves a roof over their head that they can afford - and of course that holds especially true for the honorable men and women in uniform who we are proud to have as neighbors at Fort Hamilton," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Brooklyn is proud home to the only active U.S. Army base in the five boroughs, because if you want to keep a city and a nation safe - leave it to Brooklynites!"
Edward Skyler / Paul Elliott (212) 788-2958
Tracy Paurowski (Housing Development Corporation)
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