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Mayor de Blasio, Federal and City Housing Officials, Arker Companies and The Met Council to Celebrate the Opening of The Woodlands and Council Towers Vii

June 1, 2016

Federal and City government officials celebrate the opening of two affordable senior housing developments in the Co-op City neighborhood of the Bronx that have a combined total of 180 new apartments and supportive services

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York City Housing and Development Corporation (HDC), New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Arker Companies, the Met Council and other partners today celebrated the opening of The Woodlands & Council Towers VII, two new senior housing developments in the Co-op City neighborhood of the Bronx. Both new buildings serve low-income senior citizens, age 62 and older.

“New York City's seniors should be able to live in the communities they helped build and remain in the neighborhoods they call home. That's why we're working hard and investing in public-private partnerships to continue building affordable housing for the most vulnerable among us, particularly those elderly and aging New Yorkers living on fixed incomes," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Affordable housing, like that at The Woodlands and Council Towers VII, will help ensure that our city's growing senior population isn't forced to decide between affording prescription medications or paying the rent."

“New York City seniors living on fixed incomes are among the hardest hit by our ongoing affordable housing crisis – and the openings we are celebrating today, of the Woodlands and Council Towers buildings, means that nearly 200 more senior households in the Bronx are now living in safe and supportive housing that is within their means,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “I want to thank our partners in government – HUD, NYCHA and our sister agency HDC – and our mayor for continuously supporting our mission to build a more affordable New York City. I also want to thank Arker Companies, Met Council and all of our development partners for their vision and their dedication that made today’s celebration possible.”

“As we endeavor to build housing that will be sustainable for generations to come, we must never forget our responsibility to the generations that paved the way for us,” said HDC President Gary Rodney. “The Woodlands and Council Towers exemplify the opportunities we owe our seniors to live safely, affordably and with dignity in their communities. I am proud of HDC’s role in financing these buildings, and I thank all our partners at HUD, HPD, NYCHA, The Arker Companies, Met Council and Wells Fargo for their vision and contributions.”

“As New York City’s senior population continues to rise, expanding affordable housing options for them is essential,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “The Woodlands is an example of how NYCHA can use its Section 8 program to help develop quality affordable housing for seniors.”

“The Woodlands and Council Towers VII, which together will provide 180 apartments for seniors, were made possible thanks to a great public-private partnership, and to funding from two of HUD’s most endangered programs: Section 202 and the HOME Investment Partnership Program,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “Over 25,000 units of senior housing have been built in New York City through the Section 202 program since 1959, and nearly $3 billion in HOME funds have contributed to affordable housing statewide over the last 25 years. These investments are critical to ensuring that communities remain vital and open to everyone, regardless of income or age.”

“Affordable housing is an issue that affects us all but it’s an issue that greatly impacts seniors,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Considering that Co-op City is the largest Naturally-Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) in the country, we have invested time and money in protecting our most vulnerable community, including putting in $750,000 in capital funds in 2011, to make sure that one of our most vulnerable communities does not fall by the wayside. I want to thank NYC Housing Development Corporation, NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, New York City Housing Authority, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Wells Fargo for making The Woodlands and Council Towers VII project happen.”

The neighboring buildings, The Woodlands and Council Towers VII, were built immediately adjacent to Met Council’s Weinberg Council Towers V and Weinberg Council Towers I. Both properties are the latest Met Council Tower developments to open and add to the portfolio of buildings spread throughout New York City. Each development provides a safe environment with on-site social service programs for its residents.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the ribbon cutting at the Woodlands and Council Towers VII buildings with our partners in federal and city government and with Met Council. The Arker Companies focus remains on the revitalization of neighborhoods. We believe this is done through the construction of developments that create safe homes for its residents and jobs in its communities,” said Alex Arker, Principal at The Arker Companies. “Partnerships are essential to the success of each of our developments and that’s especially true here. We thank HUD, HPD, HDC, NYCHA, Wells Fargo and our elected officials for their support of this project.”

“We know that the single greatest challenge faced by our clients is the lack of affordable housing; particularly vulnerable are seniors,” said Alan Schoor, Met Council CEO. “The need for affordable housing for our City’s seniors is only growing. We are incredibly proud that Council Towers VII helps address this need. We are honored to have worked with so many wonderful partners, including: The Arker Companies, Aufgang Architects, the Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., Housing & Community Development Consulting, HPD, HUD, NYCHA and Wells Fargo.”

The Woodlands building serves households for which the head of household is 62 years of age or older with an income limits set at $31,100 for an individual, and $36,250 for a household of two. The Council Towers VII building serves the same population with a set income limit of no more than $31,250 for an individual and $33,250 for a household of two. Both developments receive rental assistance which allows for deeper affordability and restricts the renter’s income contribution to 30 percent of their monthly income, whatever it may be. The Woodlands receives Project-Based Section 8 from NYCHA, and Council Towers VII receives Project Rental Assistance under HUD’s Section 202 program.

The Woodlands consists of 90 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom apartments. The units include a full residential style kitchen area, equipped with refrigerator, range/oven combination, full size cabinets and countertop and a single basin sink and bathrooms equipped with a bathtub and vanity. All units are handicapped accessible. Building amenities include a laundry room, community room, landscaped sitting areas, a computer learning center, electronic surveillance equipment and security, parking, and an on-site superintendent and porter. The community room will host a variety of activities for seniors, including arts and crafts, exercise classes and bingo. All apartments in The Woodlands were filled from NYCHA’s Section 8 waiting list. Future vacancies will be filled from a site-based waiting list of approximately 200 Section 8 senior applicants.

Council Towers VII contains 78 one-bedroom apartments. Each unit contains a fully equipped kitchen, a combination living and dining room, and a bathroom with either a full sized bathtub or a roll in shower. All of the units are handicapped accessible. Also included in this building are a community room, laundry room, video intercoms, security cameras, parking, and security. Social activities, trips to local shopping, and recreational outings are available in conjunction with the adjacent Council Towers I and Council Towers V. An on-site Superintendent, Residence Director and Service Coordinator provide services and support to the building’s residents. All apartments at Council Towers VII were filled via an affordable housing lottery.

The total development cost for The Woodlands is $38.2 million. In addition to construction Tax Exempt Bond financing, HDC provided $5.5 million in subsidy from its corporate reserves. HPD provided Low-Income Housing Tax Credits which generated $16.5 million in Tax Credit Equity. NYCHA provided 100 project based Section 8 vouchers which over the course of the contract amount to approximately $24 million. Wells Fargo acted as Tax Credit Investor. The project also received $5.1 million in Federal HOME Funds.

The total development cost of Council Towers VII is $25.8 million. HUD provided a grant of $400,000 toward pre-construction expenses and an additional $12.8 million Section 202 loan. The project received $1.7 million in federal HOME funding. HPD provided Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Wells Fargo provided $9.9 million in LIHTC equity. The Office of the Bronx Borough President provided $750,000 in Reso A funding. The combined project received a total of $123,554 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Both buildings are fully rented. For information about current affordable housing lotteries and to learn about upcoming availabilities, visit . For more information on how to find housing in New York City, visit

About the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
For over 50 years, HUD's mission has been to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all Americans. In New York, HUD funding provides rental assistance for over 600,000 households, emergency shelter for more than 70,000 individuals statewide, mortgage guarantees for nearly 300,000 New Yorkers, and more than $7 billion in disaster recovery funding to the State in the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. More information about HUD and its programs is available at and You can also connect with HUD on social media, follow Secretary Castro on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram, and sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.

About The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA):
The New York City Housing Authority’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. To that end, NYCHA administers a Conventional Public Housing Program as well as a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. NYCHA also works with numerous partners to connect our residents to a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives. To fulfill our mission, NYCHA must preserve an aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of developments. For more information, visit

About the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
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 with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us via and

About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
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 120,000 housing units using over $13.7 billion in bonds, and provided in excess of $1.6 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. 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 four consecutive years, HDC's annual bond issuance has surpassed $1 billion. For additional information, visit:

About The Arker Companies:
The Arker Companies has been building projects in New York City since 1949. Located in Floral Park on Long Island, the development company contracts, owns and manages multi-family and single-family housing, and retail and office projects. It is one of the leading developers of affordable housing in New York in its building of more than 6900 units, for rent and for sale. Arker Companies also develops market-rate, commercial and mixed-used projects. Company principals are Sol, Allan and Alex Arker and Daniel Moritz.

About Met Council:
For more than four decades, Met Council has supported and championed families, seniors and adults living in poverty and near-poverty. Met Council provides immediate assistance to New Yorkers in crisis and creates pathways to self-sufficiency through the following programs: America’s Largest Kosher Food Pantry System, Emergency Social Services, Family Violence Services, Home Repairs, Benefits Enrollment & Outreach, and Affordable Housing. This grassroots Jewish Community Council network provides support to families in their neighborhoods – right where they live. For more information visit

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