Ground Broken on 83-Unit Affordable Seniors Housing Project in Bronx

By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor New York–The Ursuline Bedford Park Community, Fordham Bedford Housing Corp. and Enterprise, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), recently broke ground on Serviam Gardens, an 83-unit affordable housing project for medium- to low-income senior citizens. The project, located in Bedford Park in the Bronx, New York, is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace plan to build or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years. It will be ready in 2009.The land for Serviam Gardens was acquired using resources secured through the New York City Acquisition Fund, a $230 million fund created in 2006 by the city, Enterprise and national charities and financial institutions to help local and not-for-profit developers acquire privately owned sites for the construction and preservation of affordable housing. The project will turn a portion of the vacant lot behind the campus of the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula high school or for girls into affordable housing for seniors and the formerly homeless. The plans will preserve a majority of the campus’s open space, while also providing affordable housing to seniors in a safe and convenient location.“Affordable housing is critical to protecting New York City’s seniors, many of whom rely on fixed incomes, from rising rents, and it allows them to stay in their neighborhoods close to their families and friends,” says Abby Jo Sigal, vice president of Enterprise and director of the New York office.When complete, Serviam Gardens will feature two buildings. Serviam I will cater to low-income seniors earning no more than 50 percent of the HUD Income Limits, which is $26,850 for a single person. The total cost for Serviam I is estimated to be $21 million. Serviam II, featuring an additional 157 units, will utilize 4 percent tax credit proceeds, tax-exempt bonds and other city subsidies. Seniors earning between 30 to 80 percent of the HUD Income Limits, which is between $16,100 and $43,000 for a single person, will be eligible to apply.  In addition, Serviam Gardens also features several green elements that will reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, including a green roof to limit storm water impact— with a rainwater capture system—that will double as a recreation area; bamboo flooring; energy-efficient elevators, lighting and appliances; low-VOC paint, and Low E, argon-filled windows to improve building insulation.