21-Unit Brooklyn Property Rededicated as Part of $20M Plan to Preserve Affordable Housing

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–The first building to benefit from the Inclusionary Zoning Provision of the historic Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan, approved by city officials in 2005, was recently rededicated as part of a $20 million plan to preserve affordable housing in North Brooklyn for more than 600 low-income New York residents.In all, 15 buildings will receive crucial renovations and upgrades through the preservation strategy created by the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corp. (St. Nicks), a Brooklyn nonprofit that owns and manages affordable housing, and supported by Enterprise.The 21-unit building at 306 Union Avenue, which St. Nicks purchased in 1988, was also the first renovation project in Brooklyn using Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Enterprise, Pfizer Inc., Fannie Mae, National Grid, American Express and NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) all contributed to the 1988 project.“As a non-profit developer, it is St. Nicks’ mission to sustain affordable housing as a permanent community resource, says Frank Lang, St. Nicks’ director of housing. “Union Court is one of the first projects to be refinanced as permanently affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents under the Greenpoint Williamsburg Inclusionary Housing Program,”The $20 million preservation strategy developed by St. Nicks was made possible by taking advantage of the Brooklyn Waterfront Inclusionary Zoning Plan. In May 2005, New York City officials approved a major rezoning of a two-mile stretch of waterfront and some upland on the East River in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The 2005 rezoning plan allowed for nonprofits like St. Nicks to sell air rights to for-profit developers, who could add square footage to new market-rate apartment construction in exchange for an investment in affordable housing. St. Nicks is using the proceeds from these air rights sales to ensure that buildings such as 306 Union Ave. are kept permanently affordable for residents.“The repositioning of this development affirms the Mayor’s commitment to reducing the shelter and street populations by two-thirds over five years, as well as ensuring that it is longtime residents who will be able to enjoy the renaissance occurring throughout their New York City neighborhoods,” says HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan. The refinancing is one part of St. Nicks’ overall plan to preserve over a 1,000 units of housing and build new affordable houses for working families and people of modest means.