Richmond Place Provides 117 New Affordable Units for Low-Income Families; Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence Offer 65 Units for Older New Yorkers
Both New Developments Were Constructed on a Remediated Brownfield Location
Queens, NY – May 22, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) joined the Arker Companies, project partners and elected officials to celebrate the opening of Richmond Place and Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence, two new affordable housing developments built side-by-side on a formerly contaminated site in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens. The new Richmond Place development includes a total of 117 units for affordable housing with 24 of those units designated to serve formerly homeless families. Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence is a 65-unit development for adults age 62 and older.
New York State Homes & Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to make communities safe and fair, building on the successes of the state’s housing priorities. I congratulate Arker Companies and our public and private partners for revitalizing the Richmond Hill corridor, transforming a brownfield into an affordable housing neighborhood, and empowering the Queens community.”
“These affordable homes provide the security that is essential for promoting strong families, the stability needed by those who were homeless, and a good quality of life for elderly or retired New Yorkers,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “I would like to thank the Arkers, HCR, HDC, DEC, Bank of America, and all of our other partners for their vision and hard work. This celebration marks the culmination of a comprehensive, thoughtful, and concerted effort to bring this blighted site back to life and transform this section of Richmond Hill into a lively, diverse community. As we move forward with implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan, we’ll be doing more to create neighborhoods that both nurture and thrive.”
“This site, once environmentally compromised, now boasts 182 new homes for a diverse range of people who are helping renew the energy of this vibrant neighborhood. These two new developments, in a transit-rich community, epitomize one way we intend to move forward with our partners at the City, State, and private sector as we implement the Mayor’s ambitious housing plan.“
Richmond Place, which was completed in the summer of 2013, is a seven-story building with 117 units that include 13 studios, 28 one-bedrooms, 68 two-bedrooms, and seven three-bedrooms with one two-bedroom set aside for a superintendent. Three units were made available to households earning up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or no more than $41,500 annually for a family of four. The remaining apartments were made available to households earning up to 60 percent AMI, or no more than $49,800 annually for a family of four.
Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence is a six-story, 65-unit building set aside for seniors 62 or older, with 10 accessible units for special needs populations. The units include 59 one-bedrooms, five two-bedrooms and one two-bedroom superintendent’s unit. The apartments were made available to adults age 62 and older earning no more than 60 percent of AMI, or no more than $34,860 for an individual. AMI levels are calculated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The above dollar amounts are based on HUD’s 2012 calculations. A portion of the units were reserved for formerly homeless families. The residents will share amenities including a ground floor lounge, community facility, outdoor parking and a laundry room and will have supportive services, health and wellness and social activity programming.
“Partnerships are essential to the success of every one of our developments”, said Alex Arker, Principal of The Arker Companies. “This is especially true at Richmond Place and Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence, a development site which involved the coordination and partnership with at least 5 government agencies along with our lenders at Bank of America.”
“We are thrilled to celebrate the successful opening of both projects. Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence is a state of the art building for low income seniors, allowing the elderly to stay in their community and age in place gracefully in a safe, affordable and beautiful environment. Richmond Place offers families a clean and safe environment with beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces to raise their children. We are incredibly proud to contribute these new developments to the neighborhood.”
“Today’s opening of Richmond Place and the Richmond Hill Senior Living Residences is proof positive that partnerships between a private developer like the Arker Companies and Bank of America, and government agencies like the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Development Corporation, New York State Homes & Community Renewal, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and federal tax credit programs can dramatically increase the stock of affording housing in the Fifth Congressional District,” stated U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05).
Meeks continues, “This partnership has even transformed a ‘brownfield’ into a green community of safe and secure apartments for our seniors and affordable housing for our hard working families with 60 percent available to households earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income.”
“I commend the Arker Companies, NYC HPD, NYC HDC, NYS HCR, Bank of America and the other project partners for coming together to make a major investment in Richmond Hill with Richmond Place and Richmond Hill Senior Residence.” said Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz. “The need for affordable housing is among the highest priorities for our city and this development will provide many eligible seniors and low income families with the means to live and contribute in this neighborhood. This project was the result of our federal, state, and city governments working with private investors to not just build a structure but a community. It is this kind of partnership that we should continue to encourage for the betterment of all city residents.”
“The construction of Richmond Place is a wonderful story about a public-private partnership that cleaned up a contaminated brownfield site and erected some much needed housing in its place,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “I commend all of the partners involved in this project for their tireless efforts to bring both the senior residence and the housing development to fruition.”
New York City Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D – District 29) said, “The need for affordable housing is self-evident. Homelessness, businesses and families leaving New York, employers not locating to New York are all in some part attributable to a lack of affordable housing. Seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes are particularly hard hit by this problem. That is why it is so wonderful today that approximately 200 ‘green design’ affordable units, one third dedicated for low income seniors, are now available for occupancy.”
The development site was once the location of a commercial laundry facility and a joint gas station and auto repair shop. The site was designated as a ‘brownfield’ location due to soil contaminants and underwent extensive remediation prior to the development of Richmond Place and the adjacent Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence. The remediation was completed in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The total development cost for Richmond Place is approximately $33.9 million. HDC issued $17.5 million in tax-exempt bonds toward construction financing and provided $7.6 million in subsidy from corporate reserves. HPD provided $2.29 million in HOME funds and $4.7 million in City Capital. Bank of America is the tax credit investor and letter of credit provider.
The senior residence received the majority of its funding from New York State through HCR. The total project cost for the Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence is approximately $20 million. HCR provided $12.02 million in federal low-income housing tax credits and $4.4 million in state low-income housing tax credits. The project also received a $3 million New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) loan, serviced by Community Preservation Corporation and insured by the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA), a HCR agency. Bank of America is the tax credit investor and construction financing lender.
“We’re proud to have worked with the Arker Companies, NYSHCR, NYC HPD, NYC HDC, NYS DEC and all of the other partners that contributed to the success of Richmond Place and Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence. The project is a great example of our commitment to community revitalization across the U.S.,” said Todd Gomez, Community Development Banking Northeast Regional Executive at Bank America Merrill Lynch. “As a leader in community development banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch embraces opportunities to bring new energy to communities like Richmond Hill through the provision of loans and equity investments. It is equally important that Richmond Place and Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence will not only provide much-needed affordable housing but also represents the successful re-use of a commercial site for high-quality homes.”
In addition, these projects are scheduled to receive a $336,876 energy efficiency incentive through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Multifamily Performance Program to help pay for energy improvements at these two buildings. Both projects feature Solar Photovoltaic panels, a combined 149 kilowatts, designed to contribute to the long term sustainability of the projects. As a result, the annual energy use for Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence and Richmond Place are projected to be 23 percent and 25 percent lower respectively compared to minimum energy code requirements. The energy reduction measures installed in these two projects will save an estimated $80,435 annually, and upon successful completion, the projects will be eligible for the ENERGY STAR Label for Buildings.
“Multifamily buildings offer great potential for energy savings in support of Governor Cuomo’s vision to make building stock throughout the State more energy efficient,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “NYSERDA is happy to partner with the Arker Companies once again through its Multifamily Performance Program to provide safe, affordable, comfortable and energy-efficient housing for Richmond Hill’s seniors and other residents. This project provides benefits not only for the residents of these buildings but for the community at large.”
The City of New York requires that all city-subsidized apartments be rented through an Open Lottery System to ensure fair and equitable distribution of housing to eligible applicants. Marketing of the apartments and the application process for the lottery typically begin when construction is approximately 70 percent complete. For more information regarding the lottery process or if you would like to receive an e-mail when HPD updates its available apartment and home website listings for City-subsidized housing in the five boroughs, please visit the Apartment Seekers and Homebuyers pages at www.nyc.gov. Current housing lotteries are also available at www.nyc.gov/housingconnect . Applicants may submit either a paper application or an electronic application. Duplicate applications will be disqualified.
About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC):
Since 2000, HDC has issued roughly 10% of all the multi-family housing revenue bonds in the U.S. and since 2003 HDC has raised more than $6.7 billion in financing for affordable housing developments, including providing in excess of $1 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. In Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s annual listing of the nation’s top ten funders of multifamily housing, HDC is the only municipal entity on the list. In 2013, HDC was the third largest affordable housing lender in the U.S. after Citi and Wells Fargo, beating out Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One. Since 2003, HDC has partially financed the creation or preservation of nearly than 74,000 affordable units. Multifamily buildings financed by HDC contain more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. For additional information, visit: www.nychdc.com.
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 viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs, and enforcement of housing quality standards. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing.
About NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)
Richmond Hill Senior Living Residence, financed with low-income housing tax credits, is part of New York State’s significant investment in affordable housing. Under the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the state is in the second year of the $1 billion House New York program, which creates thousands of new units over five years, and is the largest investment in affordable housing in at least 15 years. House New York will also preserve thousands of Mitchell-Lama units, extending affordability for 40 years. The House New York initiative builds on the successes of the Governor’s unprecedented efforts to protect more than two million rent-regulated tenants, with the greatest strengthening of the state’s rent laws in 30 years, and the creation of the Tenant Protection Unit which proactively audits and investigates landlord wrongdoing. For more information, visit www.nyshcr.org
About The Arker Companies:
The Arker Companies has been building projects in New York City for more than 30 years. 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 5,700 units, for rent and for sale. Arker also develops market-rate, commercial and mixed-used projects. Company principals are Sol, Allan and Alex Arker and Daniel Moritz.