New York—Financing for Phase III of the Serviam senior housing development in the Bronx has been received, allowing for the creation of 197 more units for low-income and formerly homeless seniors. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation (HPD), New York City Housing Development Corp. (HDC), Fordham Bedford Housing Corp. and Enterprise Community Partners Inc. announced the $98.8 million financing for the new development, which is to be called Serviam Heights.
The development of Serviam Heights will be the third project for Fordham Bedford’s senior housing campus, which includes Serviam Gardens, an 83-unit mixed-construction project that marked Phase I, and Serviam Towers, Phase II that brought a 160-unit community. Phase I and II were completed in 2009 and 2010.
Fordham Bedford first began discussions with Ursuline Sisters in 2005 about using some of the largely vacant land at their Bedford Park Convent, Fordham Bedford Executive Director John Reilly told MHN. He added that the organization signed a 99-year lease with the Sisters in 2008 and began construction of the three buildings and 240 units comprising Serviam Gardens and Serviam Towers.
“The success and the demand for these apartments led to further discussions with the Sisters to build an additional project at the site using the now-vacant Convent building and adjacent land,” Reilly said. Fordham Bedford then bouth the additional site in December 2015 and began construction on Serviam Heights.
To construct Serviam Heights, the four-story 1892 Convent building will be rehabilitated and converted into 57 apartments, and a new nine-story building will be built to include 140 apartments. A two-story chapel will also be converted into a senior community life center and office space. Once completed, Serviam Heights will include 24 studios, 171 one-bedrooms and two two-bedroom units for superintendents.
All units will receive project-based Section 8 vouchers from the New York City Housing Authority (NYHCA). The vouchers enable residents to pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent and the apartments are available to residents with incomes up to $30,250 for an individual or $38,85 for a family of three. Additionally, 30 apartments will be set aside for homeless or formerly homeless seniors.
“Our senior population is growing rapidly, as is the demand for affordable housing,” said Gary Rodney, president of HDC. “This dynamic, mixed-construction project will provide 197 sustainable, affordable homes for low-income and formerly homeless seniors seeking stability and independence. HDC is proud to partner with HPD, NYCHA, Fordham Bedford, Enterprise, and our elected officials in building a more affordable city for all New Yorkers, including our most vulnerable residents.”
In addition to being affordable, Serviam Heights will be green. The partnership plans to make energy-efficient upgrades such as aluminum double-hung windows with low-E, argon-filled glazing, high-efficiency Energy Star-rated lighting; Energy Star-rated appliances, and green plumbing fixtures like dual flush water closets and low flow sinks. Upon completion, the development will be Enterprise Green Communities certified.
While this senior housing campus is a step toward combating the country’s affordable housing crisis, there’s still work to be done, said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader at Enterprise. “With the number of seniors expected to grow to 46 million nationwide by 2030, we need more resources dedicated to senior housing in order to ensure that all older adults can live in a home they can afford.”
She added that in addition to its involvement in this development, Enterprise has syndicated about $23 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the previous two phases of Serviam.
Financing for this project includes: $47 million in fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds from HDC and $11.9 million from the HDC Corporate Reserves; $14.6 million in City Capital Funds from HPD through its Senior Housing Affordable Rental Apartments Program (SARA) and $153,000 from HPD in federal HOME funds; $500,000 in Reso A from New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres; $39.8 million syndicated in LIHTC from Enterprise; and tax credit equity provided by BNY Mellon.
Fordham Bedford is a nonprofit that has owned, managed and developed rental housing in the northwest Bronx since 1980. In addition to Serviam Heights, the organization is planning an additional building at the campus called the Bronxview, which will provide 115 units for low- and moderate-income households, Reilly said.
Image courtesy Enterprise Community Partners