First Phase of Rockville Centre Rehabilitation Project Completed

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorRockville Centre, New York–Omni Housing Development LLC recently completed the first phase of rehabilitation of Rockville Centre’s only low-income housing project, Rockville Centre Apartments, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation as part of a five-phase project. The first phase includes two of the nine, 35-year-old buildings located in the village of Rockville Centre at 160 North Centre Ave. When complete in 2009, Rockville Centre Apartments will contain 154 garden-style units in total.Previously a New York state public housing project, it is now being funded by Low Income Housing Tax Credits with funding from the Nassau County IDA bond, Nassau County HOME grant, Rockville Center Housing Authority, Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, through WNC Associates, New York State DHCR Modernization grant, construction and permanent loans from M&T Bank.Nassau County has supported this project in Rockville Centre through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CDBG program, the HUD Housing Choice Voucher program, and Nassau IDA Financing and will continue with gap funding through the HUD Home Assistance Partnership Act Program.“While the project had been maintained for the most part and the construction quality was decent, the functional quality of the project was bad,” Duncan Barrett chief operating officer, Omni Housing Development, tells MHN. “The project needed gut renovations to improve energy efficiency. In addition, the project was losing money; the local public housing authority, which controlled it, had operating deficits in excess of $1 million.”Omni Housing Development has replaced roofs, installed new kitchens, baths and energy-efficient insulation, as well as new windows and heating systems. Tenants will continue to live there as the phased renovations are carried out.The major qualification for residency in the project is that household income must be at or below 60 percent of the Nassau County Area Median Income (AMI). Barrett says the key to successful planning and implementation of low-income housing is to create affordable housing that can be self-sustaining over the long term. This requires building housing that is correctly designed to meet community needs while being cost-effective to operate–particularly in the use of energy. “Energy inefficiencies in the Rockville Centre project’s original design is one of the underlying reasons for the complex operating at a loss in the past, and will be a focal point of work in this rehabilitation,” he explains.