Stellar Management and CAMBA Housing Ventures Working to Preserve Affordability

In hopes of preserving and restoring a 454-unit Mitchell-Lama Affordable Housing development in St. George, Staten Island, Stellar Management and CAMBA Housing Ventures acquired Castleton Park.

New York—In hopes of preserving and restoring a 454-unit Mitchell-Lama Affordable Housing development in St. George, Staten Island, Stellar Management and CAMBA Housing Ventures acquired Castleton Park. In working with the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the development team will be able to maintain long-term affordability for residents at the property.

kw.castleton.tower_Through HDC tax exempt bonds, the new owner will tackle a $30 million-plus renovation and rehabilitation project at the 40-year-old development. Upon conversion to permanent financing, HUD will provide mortgage insurance through the HUD 542c risk sharing program. Using Section 8 Project Based Assistance and Section 8 enhanced vouchers will permit the development to maintain long-term affordability for current and future residents and remain in the Mitchell-Lama housing program.

“We’re proud to be able to restore one of Staten Island’s largest affordable housing developments and to maintain rent affordability programs for the tenants,” said Francine Schiff, vice president of residential leasing at Stellar Management. “Together with CAMBA and the City of New York, we look forward to providing tenants with the safe, well-maintained, and well-managed housing they deserve.”

Construction is likely to begin in August 2015. The building façade, parking area, elevators and mechanicals will be rehabilitated through the development team’s two-year construction plan. Substantial repairs and enhancements will be made to each unit’s bathroom(s) and kitchen, common hallways and other common areas. Improvements will be made to the complex security system, including exterior fencing, lighting, security cameras and the continuation of 24/7 security.

Stellar will continue to provide property management services and CAMBA will do a needs assessment to develop and provide on-site social services suited to the needs of the residents. CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures are helping residents to complete enhanced voucher Section 8 applications during the conversion process.

“The loss of affordable housing is one of the most critical issues facing New York City today,  and CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures are proud to be partners in keeping 454 homes in the Castleton Park Mitchell-Lama complex affordable to low- and middle-income Staten Island residents,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, president and CEO of CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures. “Working with Stellar Management, HDC, HPD, and HUD, we will be able to preserve Castleton’s affordability, make much-needed repairs and provide onsite social services to help connect residents with opportunities that enhance their quality of life.”

largerOf the total 454 units, 139 units will be covered under the existing Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract and the development team is working with HPD to make sure those who qualify for Section 8 enhanced vouchers will receive the necessary assistance. Together, the two programs are expected to provide assistance to more than 90 percent of residents at the development. Along with continuing to provide rental assistance through the Section 8 program, Stellar and CAMBA Housing Ventures are working with the Tenants Association to certify affordability is maintained for all remaining tenants, including those households not eligible for assistance under Section 8. A Landlord Assistance Program (LAP) has been developed for the existing tenants who don’t qualify for an enhanced voucher based on a household income above 95 percent of Area Median income.

“Castleton Park reflects the City’s commitment to preserving Mitchell-Lama housing, investing not just in much-needed affordable housing, but in stable, sustainable neighborhoods, the backbone of our City and the Housing New York plan,” said HDC President Gary Rodney. “This project will maintain long-term affordability, while providing critical renovations to the property as well as to individual units, improving the quality of life for more than 450 families. I am grateful to my team at HDC, our colleagues at HPD and HUD, and our many development and financial partners for their efforts to ensure safe, quality affordable housing for New York City residents.”

“Mitchell-Lama housing has long served as a resource of affordability for hardworking New York families, and the preservation of properties like Castleton are critical to promoting stable and diverse neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This financing plan will provide the resources needed to rehab the property and put it on a path to long-term physical and financial health.”

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Tenants Association and to work with all parties involved so that we are serving the tenants to the best of our ability,” said Jerry Thomas, executive vice president of Stellar Management. “As we have done before, we will create an on-going and cooperative partnership to ensure a positive living environment.”

This isn’t the first time Stellar Management completed a development project as such. In 2010, the firm locked down a deal with HDC to purchase and refinance Tivoli Towers, a 33-story, 320-unit Mitchell-Lama development in Crown Heights. Similarly to the plan for Castleton Park, Tivoli Towers was rehabilitated and, with the use of refinancing of the property and the Section 8 enhanced voucher program, was able to maintain its status in the Mitchell-Lama program. Stellar voluntarily created a LAP to provide rental assistance for tenants as well.

CAMBA Housing Ventures is an award-winning community based affordable housing developer and CAMBA has a long history of providing supportive services to New Yorkers living in affordable housing developments.

Castleton Park, situated at 165-185 St. Marks Place in Staten Island, is made up of two 19-story buildings offering studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. An underground parking structure with 405 rentable spaces sits on the property.