FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2023
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NYCHA and Resident Leaders Select National and Local Non-Profit PACT Partners The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development to Address $85 Million in Repair Needs at Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses
891 residents will receive comprehensive repairs and upgrades to all 523 apartments, common areas, public spaces, heating and cooling systems, elevators, security systems, and other building systems
The PACT project builds on the more than $2 billion driven in 2022 to renovate over 8,500 apartments across 17 developments, with support from the Adams administration
NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), in partnership with resident leaders, today designated The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development to begin the process of addressing $85 million in repair needs and renovating 523 apartments to the benefit of 891 residents at Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses through NYCHA’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 with MDG Design + Construction LLC serving as the general contractor on the project. Wavecrest Management will serve as the day-to-day property manager once the development converts to Project-Based Section 8. Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses are in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. Metro North Plaza encompasses 275 apartments and is home to 628 residents. Gaylord White Houses is a senior development encompassing 248 apartments and is home to 263 residents.
“With this project, nearly 900 East Harlem residents will get the safe, high-quality, affordable homes they deserve,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “The resident leaders at Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses have been front and center throughout the process of selecting PACT partners. I applaud them for their leadership and look forward to celebrating their new homes with them.”
“NYCHA continues to work with new partners to bring public housing residents much needed repairs through the PACT program, and the selection of The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development means almost 900 New Yorkers will soon have homes they can be proud of,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “After years of underfunding and delayed capital improvements, NYCHA is building the tools to save our most critical affordable housing for future generations. Under the umbrella of the Adams Administration’s housing blueprint, NYCHA residents themselves are making decisions about the future of their homes.”
“The PACT program is essential for meaningfully improving the quality of life for NYCHA residents and facilitating vital partnerships with experienced housing development organizations,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “The Authority is committed to modernizing campuses throughout New York City for the 21st century, and we congratulate the resident leaders of Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses on their selection.”
“Today’s designation is the result of an extensive resident engagement process done in partnership with resident leaders at Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President of Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “Residents outlined the need for professional on-site management, new security systems, and the critical need to upgrade heating systems in their aging buildings. The selected team understands how critical these investments are and worked diligently to develop a plan to address resident priorities. We look forward to seeing their partnership continue.”
“Residents are excited for the PACT conversion to take place and we look forward to the benefit of having better security and more regularity with getting the repairs done in a timely manner,” said Gaylord White Houses Tenant Association President William Betancourt.
“Change is needed and will be well received from residents. They are looking forward to the conversion and the positive outcomes,” said Metro North Plaza Tenant Association President Stanley Johnson.
Resident priorities raised during the proposal review process included the need for responsive and trained management staff, improvements to on-site security, and the need for an improved heating system. The selected PACT partner team will continue to work with residents to create site-specific security plans and operate a professional management office with extended and weekend hours. Over the next year, the partner team will also work with residents to refine all aspects of the rehabilitation plan. The proposed scope for both developments includes updating the heating, water, and ventilation systems, and new plumbing will be installed as needed. The partner team will also repair all exterior brickwork, replace windows, and new lighting will be installed in all common areas. Apartments will receive new cabinets, flooring, and fixtures.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected by NYCHA and the resident leaders at Metro North Plaza and Gaylord White Houses as their partner to steward the renovation, revitalization, and preservation of these important properties,” said Regional Vice President of The Community Builders, Inc. Jesse Batus. “Together with our partner, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, we are extremely proud to be the first fully non-profit development team selected by NYCHA for a PACT transaction. Our team cannot be more excited to reward the faith NYCHA and these residents have placed in our team by executing a best-in-class renovation for these 523 East Harlem households.”
"Ascendant is thrilled to be working with NYCHA and the residents of the Gaylord White Houses and Metro North Plaza on the transformation of these communities. As Ascendant celebrates 35 years of preserving and developing affordable housing across East Harlem, we are profoundly grateful to be entrusted by NYCHA resident leaders with the responsibility of revitalizing their homes," said Executive Director/President of Ascendant Neighborhood Development Corporation Chris Cirillo. "We have long-standing and productive relationships with our development partner, The Community Builders, our general contractor, MDG Design + Construction, and our property management company, Wavecrest Management. Our team is ready to bring professional property management to these developments and major upgrades to residents' homes and quality of life."
The Community Builders is a Boston-based nonprofit real estate developer that owns or manages more than 14,000 quality apartments. The organization’s mission is to facilitate housing, commercial, and community program investments that strengthen neighborhoods. The Community Builders have led urban, neighborhood-based housing redevelopment projects throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including projects in New York, New York; Yonkers, New York; Chicago, Illinois; New Haven, Connecticut; Durham, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Ascendant Neighborhood Development was recently designated as part of a PACT partner team to address $189.3 million in repair needs for 10 NYCHA buildings known as Jackie Robinson and Harlem Scattered Sites. Founded in 1988, the organization currently has several new affordable housing projects in pre-development across East Harlem, including The Beacon, Las Raices, ShareNYC, and the Carmen Villegas Apartments. Collectively, these projects will deliver almost 600 new 100 percent affordable rental apartments to the neighborhood.
Proceeds from the $2.6 million sale of development and parking rights at nearby Hobbs Court will be leveraged to help fund capital repairs through the PACT program. In addition to receiving critical capital investments through the PACT program and funding from the sale of development rights, Metro North Plaza was eligible for disaster recovery funds for flood protection and backup power generators under NYCHA’s Recovery and Resilience program. The capital investment through this program totals more than $53 million and is near completion; slated improvements include the construction of a new energy-efficient boiler as well as the elevation of new electrical equipment to protect from future flooding.
The PACT program transitions developments from traditional public housing assistance to the more stable, federally funded Project-Based Section 8 program — unlocking funding for designated PACT partners to complete comprehensive repairs. In 2022, the PACT program drove $2 billion in large-scale improvements for NYCHA residents in 8,531 apartments across 17 developments. With today’s designation, 137 NYCHA developments and 36,103 apartments are in either the engagement or pre-development process, under construction, or have received comprehensive repairs through the PACT program. The Authority is working to include 62,000 apartments in the PACT program.
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 16 New Yorkers across over 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves over 339,000 residents through the conventional public housing program (Section 9), over 29,000 residents at developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD, and over 92,000 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.