New York—The developers of Via Verde, a 222-unit workforce housing development now under construction in the Melrose section of the Bronx, have started accepting residency applications for the property’s 133 affordable units. The balance of Via Verde’s units will be market-rate cooperatives.
The genesis of the property, which is in the revitalizing South Bronx, is unusual. About five years ago, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development—then headed by Shaun Donovan, who is now U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development—organized a competition to design green public housing: the New Housing New York Legacy Competition. The point was to have developers and architects team up to create green yet affordable designs. And livable designs as well, something often missing in pervious generations of public housing.
The winning team was the for-profit developer Jonathan Rose and the nonprofit developer Phipps Houses Group; and London-based Grimshaw Architects and New York-based Dattner Architects. The team designed the property to achieve LEED gold certification and to exceed the NYSERDA and Enterprise Green Communities guidelines for environmental responsibility.
More than that, Via Verde is designed to promote healthy lifestyles for its residents, who can, for instance, take advantage of the communal gardening beds on the garden roof to plant greenery and grow fruits and vegetables. For non-gardeners, Via Verde’s terraced green roofs, landscaped with an orchard of fruit trees, gardening plots and grasses, also connect to provide a walking concourse. The property’s stairwells, with large windows and inviting interior design offer abundant natural light and are easily accessible, encourage people to walk, according to the developers.
Rental units at Via Verde feature hardwood flooring throughout, in-unit washer/dryers and Energy Star appliances. Building amenities include an attended lobby, fitness center, penthouse community room and bicycle storage.
Via Verde is being developed through the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Low Income Rental Program, the New York City Housing Development Corp.’s New Housing Opportunities Program and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s New York State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. Applicants will be required to meet income guidelines and additional selection criteria. Residents are scheduled to begin moving in during the first quarter of 2012.