Green Rehab Completed on Harlem Apartments

Jonathan Rose Cos. has completed renovation of a group of occupied multifamily properties stretching from 107 to 145 West 135th Street in Harlem.

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

New York—Jonathan Rose Cos., in partnership with a number of public agencies, has completed renovation of a group of occupied multifamily properties stretching from 107 to 145 West 135th Street in Harlem. According to the company and its partners, the project was the first in the nation to benefit from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Green Retrofit Program using federal stimulus funds.

West 135th Street Apartments are comprised of 10 identical six-story walk-up buildings and include eight studios, 55 one-bedrooms, 99 two-bedrooms and 36 three-bedroom units. The property serves tenants at 50 percent AMI, currently $38,400 for a family of four, and 60 percent AMI, which is currently $46,080 for a family of four. During renovation, tenants weren’t displaced, but instead given the opportunity to use designated ‘hospitality suites’ on site while upgrades were being made.

The renovation project, which spent $50.9 million project to upgrade the affordable Section 8 apartments, also improved the green features of the property. The green improvements include the replacement of 32 older boilers with 10 high-efficiency ones; LED light fixtures in corridors; increasing roof insulation; rooftop solar photovoltaic panels; compact fluorescent lamps fixtures and bulbs; Energy Star appliances; double-pane argon-filled low-emissivity (low-e) windows; aerators and new low-flow showerheads; and thermostatic radiator valves to give residents the ability to control the heat in their apartments, among a number of other sustainable features.

According to the developer, the tenant-in-place green rehabilitation will produce about 25 percent in utility savings for the tenants. The buildings were rehabilitated according to Enterprise Green Communities criteria, the first national green building criteria designed for affordable housing, and are now Enterprise Green Communities- and LEED-certified. Continued emphasis on greening the project will take place through ongoing operations and maintenance plans.

Jonathan Rose Cos. acquired the West 135th Street Apartments in late 2008 through its Rose Smart Growth Investment Fund, which focuses on the green repositioning of existing structures. The purchase was funded using $22.5 million in financing secured through the New York City Acquisition Fund, which was created in 2006 through a partnership of the city of New York, Enterprise Community Partners Inc., and an assortment of foundations and New York-focused public and private investment groups. The program was originated by Enterprise, a capital provider to the affordable housing industry.

As typical with affordable housing projects, financing the West 135th Street Apartments redevelopment proved complicated. At acquisition, Jonathan Rose Cos. worked with HUD to obtain a 15-year Section 8 contract renewal to preserve the affordability of the buildings.

The New York City Housing Development Corp. issued more than $24.1 million in tax-exempt bonds to re-finance the project for the construction phase, including $22.4 million for the permanent financing of this project. The project also received about $5.9 million from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, $3.6 million from HUD Green Retrofit Program, as well as $4.8 million of tax credit equity from Enterprise. The Bank of New York provided construction credit enhancement, and the project anticipates receiving state and federal grants to offset a portion of the cost of the solar panel installation.

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