Work Begins on Girls Club Mixed-Use Residential Project in NYC

New York--The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) in New York City is going to get a new home--a new 78-unit, mixed-use residential home.

New York–The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC) in New York City is going to get a new home–a new 78-unit, mixed-use residential home. The organization, in a public-private partnership that includes developer The Dermot Company Inc., has broken ground on the 30,000 square-foot Lower Eastside Girls Club Center for Community, which will provide affordable and market-rate housing, as well as a community center and retail space.

LESGC’s new 12-story headquarters facility will be erected on a formerly vacant site at 101 Avenue D at East 7th Street that the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) conveyed to LESGC.  The development will address a variety of the organization’s need. As part of the NYC Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) Mixed Income Housing 50/30/20 program, the project will help answer demand in the area for low-income housing with the creation of 12 affordable housing units and 27 units for low- to moderate-income households. The remaining 39 units will be rented at market rates and subject to rent stabilization. In addition to the apartments, the residential segment, spanning the top nine floors of the structure, will offer a fitness center and laundry facilities.

The centerpiece of the building, however, will be the Center for Community. It will take up space on three floors and encompass classrooms; a two-story library; art and dance studios; a radio station; a physical fitness and wellness center; a media center; environmental learning labs; and a planetarium. On the ground level, the Fair Trade Girl Made Gift Shop and Café will occupy part of the building’s 4,700 square feet of retail space.

Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects P.C. is behind the design of the LESGC property, which will feature a long list of sustainable elements–including a working green roof on the third-floor terrace–that will allow it to qualify for LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

No matter how worthy the development endeavor, the credit markets are still quite frosty, but The Dermot Company was able to call on a bevy of public and private sources to cull the financing to get the LESGC project off the ground. Bank of America provided a letter of credit to back $25 million in tax-exempt bonds and recycled tax-exempt bonds issued by HDC. Bank of America also partnered with Carver Community Development Corporation to provide an allocation of New Market Tax Credits that Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase will invest in to help finance the project. Additionally, Grosvenor Investment Management U.S. Inc. contributed equity joint venture capital. LESGC was able to amass its share of the development cost, approximately $18.5 million, through a capital campaign that yielded major gifts from private individuals and contributions from community supporters. The organization also obtained Reso A funds.

The new LESGC development is scheduled to open its doors to residents and area youth in 2012, at which point it will carry the distinction of being New York City’s very first Girls Club.

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