FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2021
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org I (212) 306-3322
THE NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY AND RESIDENT LEADERS ANNOUNCE THE SELECTION OF ESSENCE DEVELOPMENT AND THE RELATED COMPANIES TO PROVIDE APPROXIMATELY $366 MILLION IN COMPREHENSIVE REPAIRS AND INVESTMENTS FOR 2,054 APARTMENTS IN THE CHELSEA SECTION OF MANHATTAN THROUGH THE PACT PROGRAM
Selection marks key milestone in a process that started in 2019 with the formation of a Chelsea NYCHA Working Group to study opportunities to modernize four developments. Leaders formed a Resident Review Committee to evaluate developer proposals and work with NYCHA in selecting the team best suited to achieve the Working Group’s recommendations
Photos from the proposal and resident engagement process are available here
NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and resident leaders for Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton Houses announced the selection of Essence Development and The Related Companies as the development team that will deliver comprehensive building and apartment upgrades for nearly 4,500 residents living in more than 2,054 apartments at four NYCHA campuses: Chelsea, Chelsea Addition, Elliott, and Fulton Houses in Manhattan. The development team’s proposal achieves the recommendations of the Chelsea NYCHA Working Group and was evaluated by members of a Resident Review Committee, which was created to review developer proposals, interview candidates, and work with NYCHA to select the finalist team. With the development team now in place, NYCHA will continue to work closely with residents, resident association leaders, and partners to create detailed rehabilitation, property management, and social services plans, as well as promote job opportunities and enhance resident amenities and programs.
“PACT is a critical component of the City’s strategy for fundamentally improving the quality of life for public housing residents,” said New York City Deputy Mayor Vicki Been. "Today's announcement is the culmination of an innovative and extensive collaborative process of working together with residents and other stakeholders to craft a plan to achieve beautifully renovated homes in a safe and welcoming development, and to address residents’ concerns about the changes necessary to both secure these renovations and ensure that their homes are permanently affordable, and well managed and maintained.”
“Today’s selection is the latest milestone in delivering meaningful, quality-of-life apartment upgrades and public space improvements to residents of these developments,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. "This work is only beginning, and we look forward to continuing to engage with the many stakeholders involved in this process."
“I am incredibly proud of the Chelsea Working Group for our collaboration and determination to identify a partner that will most effectively meet our communities’ needs and improve our lives,” said Darlene Waters, President of the Elliott-Chelsea Houses Tenant Association. “Our voices have guided the conversation throughout the entire recommendations and RFP processes. Bringing NYCHA residents to the table to make decisions gives us dignity, the power of choice and autonomy over our homes.”
“Residents should remain central to every decision that NYCHA makes for its properties, and today we are honored to be part of a group that drove each step of the decision-making process to make a substantial, lasting impact on our communities,” said Fulton Houses Tenant Association President Miguel Acevedo. “We look forward to partnering with Essence and Related Companies to address urgent concerns, long overdue repairs and critical infrastructure upgrades for our homes.”
“The Authority is continually looking for ways to incorporate the input and feedback of public housing residents when it comes to the changes they would like to see on their campuses and in their communities,” said NYCHA EVP of Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “The selection of these partners fully meets the thoughtful recommendations provided by the Chelsea Working Group and will allow us to significantly address the full gamut of capital and community needs at these sites.”
“Through the NYCHA PACT program, we are committed to protecting New York City’s public housing residents by providing comprehensive repairs, in addition to guaranteed affordability and tenant protections. This latest undertaking will bring critical improvements to more than 2,000 homes across 18 public housing buildings in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, in addition to much-needed supportive services and job opportunities,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I applaud NYCHA, the Chelsea Working Group, and the development teams for their dedication to ensuring a better quality of life for the residents of Fulton, Chelsea, Chelsea Addition, and Elliott Houses.”
“We are honored to be a part of this historic project, driven by dedicated and passionate residents,” said Jamar Adams, Founder & Managing Principal of Essence Development. “We look forward to working alongside the Working Group, NYCHA and Related to undertake this massive rehabilitation project, and help create a more stable future for the community.”
“Fulton & Elliott-Chelsea Houses have been waiting for and deserve the critical repairs and upgrades needed in their homes – and that is our singular mission,” said Bruce Beal Jr., President of Related Companies. “Through our partnership with Essence Development, we will complete not just the physical upgrades, but also a suite of community enhancements to ensure this comprehensive rehabilitation will deliver quality homes for residents.”
"Over two years ago the Chelsea Working Group convened to chart a future for the residents of Fulton and Elliott Chelsea Houses," said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried. "I congratulate the hard work and dedication of the NYCHA residents in Chelsea who, by taking part in an unprecedented resident driven process, have made a lasting impact that will benefit their neighbors for generations to come. This process should lay the groundwork for a new model for NYCHA to improve its housing."
“I congratulate the leaders and membership of the tenant associations at Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea Houses on making history as the first group of NYCHA residents to lead both the review and developer selection process to meet the critical capital needs for their developments,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I look forward to working with these tenant associations and the local community as this project proceeds.”
“As we fight to bring more money back from Washington to meet NYCHA’s repair needs, I want to applaud the residents of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea for leading this process to bring in crucial support and advance a project to improve the lives of every resident,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “I’m hopeful that the resident-led and resident-centered Working Group process can be a model for other NYCHA developments.“
In October 2019, Mayor de Blasio, NYCHA leadership, and several elected officials announced the formation of the Chelsea NYCHA Working Group – a body comprised of residents, legislators, community representatives, and housing and legal organizations – to study different options available for modernizing the Fulton, Chelsea Addition, and Elliott-Chelsea developments. In February 2021, the Working Group published a set of recommendations to fund comprehensive repairs, while continuing to ensure that resident rights are protected, and residents remain deeply engaged in the planning process.
Among other strategies to raise revenue for repairs, the Working Group recommended that the Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea developments be included in NYCHA’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together Program, or PACT, and identified appropriate locations and design guidelines for mixed-use redevelopment. NYCHA issued a request for proposals (RFP) in April 2021 to identify qualified developers, general contractors, and property managers who will partner with NYCHA and resident leaders to plan for and implement the improvements. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
The Citizens Housing and Planning Council, a non-profit research and education organization, served as facilitator of the Resident Review Committee, which consisted of 10 resident leaders from across the Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea campuses who reviewed and interviewed prospective development teams about the proposed building upgrades, management practices, sustainability and design features, and plans to enhance social services.
Essence Development, a minority-owned business enterprise (MBE), will serve as the lead on this project and is an equal partner with Related as co-developer. Related will also serve as the general contractor and property manager. Their proposal will result in the comprehensive modernization of the Chelsea NYCHA developments, including:
1. Rehabilitating all apartments by providing new kitchens, bathrooms, floors, and windows;
2. Upgrading all buildings, including façades, roofs, expanded lobbies, hallways, and stairwells;
3. Replacing or upgrading all building systems, including boilers and domestic hot water heaters, plumbing, ventilation, and elevators;
4. Improving all public spaces, including landscaped areas, playgrounds and plazas, lighting, and community centers; and
5. Enhanced security and integrated pest management.
Per the Working Group recommendations, the development team will replace the aging district steam heating system, which is prone to frequent outages, with new hydronic boilers in each of the properties’ 18 residential buildings. New emergency back-up generators will also be installed on all rooftops, and buildings will be dry flood-proofed.
The development team also proposes to build a new mixed-use residential building on the site of the existing Hudson Guild Elliott Center. In keeping with the Working Group recommendations, this component of the project will create a new, state-of-the-art facility for Hudson Guild of equal size and with the same types of spaces as the existing facility, as well as approximately 110 new apartments – half of which will be permanently affordable. The new facilities will also house a 14,000-square-foot community health center at Elliott Houses, and new retail space and a satellite primary care center will also be created at Fulton Houses.
Consistent with the Working Group recommendations, no new construction will begin until the full rehabilitation of all existing buildings is completed.
The selected team will work with NYCHA and resident leaders to identify a non-profit social services provider who will deliver enhanced social services and programs for residents of Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton Houses, with funding provided through the PACT program. These services will complement the programs that will continue to be offered by Hudson Guild at the community centers.
The selected PACT team will use the Rental Assistance Demonstration program to transition operating subsidy to the Project-Based Section 8 program and finance the 20-year capital needs at each development. NYCHA will continue to own the land and buildings, administer the Section 8 subsidy, set rents, manage the waitlist for vacant apartments, and monitor conditions at the development. The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), New York City’s municipal housing finance agency, is the financing partner for PACT. HDC will coordinate or provide loan financing funding by bonds issued through HDC’s Multi-Family Housing Bond Resolution (the “Open Resolution”) or the newly created Housing Impact Bond Resolution (the “Impact Resolution’), a bond resolution created solely to facilitate NYCHA transactions.
The PACT program has generated more than $1.7 billion in comprehensive apartment renovations and building infrastructure improvements to date for more than 9,500 households, with $1.2 billion in major upgrades underway and approximately $579 million in renovations that have already been completed. An additional 21,900 households are part of active development projects in the process of resident engagement or pre-development. In sum, NYCHA has more than 32,000 units completed, in-construction, or in a stage of resident engagement or pre-development.
More information on NYCHA’s PACT program can be found here and here. For more information regarding upcoming PACT meetings, residents can call NYCHA at (212) 306-4036 or email email@example.com.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to roughly 1 in 15 New Yorkers across over 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves over 350,000 residents through the conventional public housing program (Section 9), over 20,000 residents at developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD, and over 75,000 families through federal rent subsidies (the Section 8 Leased Housing Program). In addition, NYCHA connects residents to opportunities in financial empowerment, business development, career advancement, and educational programs. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.
About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency and is charged with helping to finance the creation or preservation of affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. Since 2003, HDC has financed more than 180,000 housing units using over $23.5 billion in bonds and other debt obligations, and provided in excess of $2.9 billion in subsidy. HDC ranks among the nation’s top issuers of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing on Thomson Reuter’s annual list of multi-family bond issuers. In each of the last seven consecutive years, HDC’s annual bond issuance has surpassed $1 billion. For additional information, visit: http://www.nychdc.com.