December 30, 2021
Three development partners will lead project adding, 278 new affordable homes and community space along River Avenue
NEW YORK— The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) today announced plans to bring more deeply affordable housing and community space to the Bronx, advancing a key commitment of the Jerome Avenue Rezoning to transform a city-owned site on River Avenue. After a thorough Request for Proposals (RFP) process, HPD selected Type A Projects, L+M Development Partners, and BronxWorks as the development team for their proposal for River Commons. Known as “Site A,” it is owned by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (H+H) and is currently used as a surface parking lot.
The rezoning is bringing more than $189 million in capital projects and services to the Bronx neighborhood in new and improved parks and playgrounds, pedestrian safety improvements near the Cross Bronx Expressway, business assistance and new schools.
“The selected project for the River Avenue H+H site will transform a surface parking lot into affordable housing and community space for the Southwest Bronx, making good on our commitments to the community in the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan,” said HPD Commissioner Carroll. “I’m thankful to Council Member Vanessa Gibson for her ongoing partnership and want to congratulate Type A, L+M and Bronx Works for this dynamic, forward-looking proposal.”
In September, HPD announced plans to bring 40 new affordable homeownership opportunities to Site B located on Anthony Avenue. In 2019, HPD hosted a community workshop to better understand community priorities and gather ideas for future development on these sites from those who live and work in the vicinity and have an intimate understanding of neighborhood conditions and needs.
About River Commons
The design for the site provides a mix of permanently affordable unit sizes, including family-sized units – a request from the community during the engagement process. There will be 112 studio apartments, 89 one-bedroom, 63 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom units. The project integrates with the surrounding H+H campus and provides ground floor uses that will activate a stretch of River Avenue that is situated below an elevated train throughout the day.
The project includes two high-impact community facilities: The BronxWorks Empowerment Center will provide an extensive range of services for the community, including health and nutrition education, fresh food access, after school and summer camp programming, family support, eviction prevention, as well as job readiness, training, and employment services.
“Type A Projects could not be more excited to begin working with the community and our partners, BronxWorks and L+M Development Partners to create a vibrant center of community life at River Commons,” said Jill Crawford, Type A Projects Principal. “With 278 healthy and affordable homes, holistic community resources, an activated streetscape, abundant publicly accessible open space and free, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, we aim to create a true community asset built with and for inclusivity, equity and empowerment. As a women-owned developer, we are grateful for HPD's sustained efforts to level the playing field for M/WBE firms. Participating in HPD's M/WBE Developer Capacity Building Series and HPD's M/WBE RFP projects launched our firm's trajectory in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country. We know first-hand that these M/WBE focused initiatives are the essential building blocks for a more equitable and inclusive city for all.”
“BronxWorks is thrilled to partner with Type A Projects, a woman-led development team, as their development partner and supportive housing services provider at River Commons, which will offer much-needed affordable housing in the Bronx,” said Eileen Torres, Executive Director of BronxWorks. “We also look forward to expanding our work in the borough providing residents and the local community, which includes many immigrants, with after-school, job training, eviction prevention and health and wellness services through our on-site Empowerment Center.”
“Building on our Type A partnership from Bronx Point, L+M is proud to lend its financial support to this transformative project that not only advances our mission to support M/WBEs by expanding Type A and BronxWorks’ portfolios, but will also bring much-needed affordable housing and tailored community resources to meet the needs of the neighborhood,” said Spencer Orkus, Partner and Managing Director at L+M Development Partners. “We look forward to working with the project partners throughout the process to ensure River Commons is a safe, quality place to live and meets the goals of the Jerome Avenue rezoning.”
The African Resource Center is a proposed collaboration between the African Advisory Council (AAC) and African Communities Together (ACT) to provide educational programs, services, and community meeting space to the fast-growing and underserved African community in the project area. The project area is home to the highest concentration of African language speakers in New York – a population who struggles to access community and public resources due to language barriers.
As part of the development agreement, L+M is expected to exit the ownership structure at Year 5, offering its initial ownership stake to BronxWorks for a nominal fee. This results in long-term project ownership held by an M/WBE and Non-Profit.
Supportive services for formerly homeless residents at River Commons will be provided by BronxWorks, an experienced, Bronx-based service provider. Services will promote housing stability, health and wellness, and self-sufficiency, and will be provided on the ground and first floors in dedicated space within the BronxWorks Empowerment Center. BronxWorks will also work with high hospital emergency service utilizers to reduce the burden on hospital emergency services.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, HPD pivoted quickly to respond to a new Community Health and Wellness theme for the RFP. HPD encouraged teams to tailor building design and programming to address health considerations. These include access to, and education around affordable, healthy, and fresh food options; physical and mental health resources, workforce development and jobs training, housing and tenant resources; educational programming and connections to public benefits.
About the Project Team
Type A Projects is a WBE affordable housing developer that graduated from HPD’s M/WBE Build Up Program. They currently have nearly 800 units of affordable and supportive housing in development, all of which are located in buildings containing community service organizations. Type A will act as lead developer for this proposed project.
L+M Development Partners is an established, full-service real estate development firm with deep experience in building affordable, mixed-income and market rate housing. L+M’s portfolio includes over 15,000 residential units and more than 600,000 square feet of commercial space.
BronxWorks has been an important social service provider in the Bronx since 1972, operating out of over 40 locations throughout the borough. Among its wide range of offerings: Bronx Works is a supportive housing operator, a mental health and health care case management provider, and an important housing resources service agency.
A complete rundown of the Jerome-Anthony RFP, including the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, can be found here.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked advancing the goals of the City's housing plan – a critical pillar of Your Home NYC, Mayor de Blasio's comprehensive approach to helping New Yorkers get, afford, and keep housing in these challenging times. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.