2012-03-16 / Top Stories

$66.6 Million For Far Rockaway Buildings

NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Marc Jahr, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Acting Regional Administrator Mirza Orriols, along with the Arker Companies Principal Daniel Moritz and Wells Fargo Community Capital Group Head Matthew Weiner have announced a total investment of $66.6 million to renovate three affordable multifamily properties in the Rockaway section of Queens. The Arker Companies will use the funds to acquire and rehabilitate the three properties. The three buildings, Oceanview Apartments 1 and 2 and Heyson Gardens, a senior citizens’ residence, are more than three-and-ahalf decades old and in need of comprehensive maintenance and major systems replacement. The low-cost financing from the City will ensure that the 328 apartments in the three buildings remain affordable for low-income tenants.

The preservation of Oceanview Apartments and Heyson Gardens is being financed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multibillion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of more than 129,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs and 12,065 units in Queens, more than 5,400 of in which are in Queens Community Board 14 where both Oceanview Apartment complexes and Heyson Gardens are located.

“We are dedicated to providing the residents of New York City with affordable housing opportunities and investing in the existing housing stock is not only important; it is a means to achieving this end. With this deal, we are buying a new beginning for these buildings while ensuring that the cost of the renovation doesn’t put these units out of financial reach of the low-income households for which they were originally built,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua. “Thanks to our partners, HDC, HUD, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo, and Arker Companies for playing an important role in the revitalization of our neighborhoods and for remaining dedicated to keeping affordable housing a viable component of the New York City housing market.”

HDC President Jahr said, “The preservation and renovation of existing affordable housing is a core goal of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, and for good reason: this housing is irreplaceable. In the course of our efforts to stabilize neighborhoods, improve the quality of life and to keep New York City affordable, HDC has financed the preservation of more than 38,500 units in New York City. We do this to ensure that the renovations are done right and that the loan is affordable and does not put undue financial stress on the buildings’ bottom line. Our deals are structured to minimize debt in exchange for restrictive covenants that keep rents low and protect the rights of the tenants.”

“The preservation of Oceanview Apartments and Heyson Gardens as quality affordable housing demonstrates what can be accomplished when government and the private sector work together,” said HUD Acting Regional Administrator Mirza Orriols. “This is especially impressive given the continued housing slump and the scarcity of credit. I applaud the Arker Companies and Wells Fargo for answering the call to meet the evergrowing need for affordable housing throughout the five boroughs. I am proud of HUD’s investment and congratulate all our partners who have made this possible.”

Oceanview 1, located at 14-10 New Haven Avenue, and Oceanview 2, located at 249 Beach 15 Street, were built in 1973 and 1975, respectively. Each building contains 149 units. Heyson Gardens was originally constructed in 1976 and contains 30 units for seniors aged 62 and over.

Planned repairs and improvements to all three multifamily complexes include major building systems and apartment interiors.

Additionally, there will be elevator and security upgrades along with masonry repairs. Prior agreements concerning affordability on the buildings would have ended within the next ten years. Under the terms of the new financing deal, affordability will be maintained for an additional 30 years through to the year 2041. All of the units will be reserved for low-income households earning 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is equivalent to a household income at or below $46,080 for a family of four.

“The Arker Companies are dedicated to the long-term preservation of affordable housing, and are thrilled to have the opportunity to preserve 328 units, while investing substantial capital for major improvements throughout,” said Daniel Moritz. “I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his ongoing New Housing Marketplace Plan, as well as HDC, HPD, HUD Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac for their work on the project.”

“Wells Fargo is committed to investing in our communities,” said Matthew Weiner. “As one of the few banks that have the resources to meet all the financial needs this transaction required, we are honored to work alongside Arker Companies to preserve affordable housing in this market.”

HDC issued more than $41 million in tax-exempt fixed-rate bonds backed by Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac under the Obama Administration’s New Issue Bond Program (NIBP). NIBP supports the development or renovation of affordable multifamily properties. HPD is providing an annual allocation in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Wells Fargo, the LIHTC investor, also originated the Freddie Mac credit enhanced financing and provided $20.5 million in Tax Credit Equity. Arker Companies contributed $4.7 million toward the development. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agreed to extend the projects’ Section 8 contracts for an additional 20 years.

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