By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
New York—Ground has been broken on Soundview Family Housing, immediately adjacent to Soundview Park in the Bronx. The eight-story building will house 120 low-income families, and is the first in a multi-phase development.
Those gathering for the groundbreaking ceremonies included the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), CPC Resources Inc. (CPCR), L+M Development Partners, Lemle & Wolff, The New York Housing Partnership, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and partners.
The development is a joint venture by CPCR, L+M Development Partners, Lemle & Wolff, and The New York Housing Partnership. Under the partnership, CPC Resources will oversee the financing, L+M Development Partners the construction, and Lemle & Wolfe will manage the property upon completion. The New York Housing Partnership will form a Housing Development Fund Company as a non-profit sponsor for the development.
Soundview Family Housing will feature 24 one-bedroom, 78 two-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom apartments, with one of the three-bedroom units reserved for an on-site superintendent. Units will be available to families earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income, or no more than $51,540 annually for a family of four, according to 2013 calculations. Preference will be given to NYCHA and community board residents.
“The demand for affordable housing in our city has never been greater,” Russell Lang, project manager, CPCR and the Community Preservation Corporation, tells MHN. “CPCR and partners identified an opportunity to provide quality housing to low-income families and reconnect an isolated area with the larger Soundview community by planning to construct Bronx River Avenue, a mapped road that was never built. With this development, we hope to not only provide 120 families with a safe place to call home, but also bring economic investment and construction jobs to the neighborhood,”
Adds Spencer Orkus, development director at L+M Development Partners, “The combination of public support from city agencies and elected officials in the Bronx with critical investment from the private sector during a period of record high tax credit pricing made this project possible.”
The project was not without its logistical challenges, Orkus adds.
Lack of access to each of the phased sites being developed was a significant obstacle to any development efforts on this land. “Building a road for utilities and to connect this land to the rest of the neighborhood was essential for the success of this project, and a critical path of our plans for the development,” he says. “Fortunately, we were able to receive important tax credits and financial support from Wells Fargo to help with the construction of the road.”
Developing the affordable housing and road will accomplish several objectives, Orkus says. They including providing additional access to Soundview Park and making productive use of previously overgrown vacant land used for illegal trash dumping. The low-rise, medium density building will also inject architectural diversity into a slice of cityscape dominated by uniform high-rise buildings.
“Moreover, this development will bring jobs to the local community through Building Skills NY,” Orkus says, referring to a workforce training program that offers low-income and unemployed NYCHA residents and local community members construction training and job placement on affordable housing projects in their communities.