Construction Begins on $126M Affordable Housing Project in South Bronx

Real Estate In-Depth | October 2020

1159 River Ave. rendering.

NEW YORK—New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Oct. 30 the start of construction on 1159 River Ave., a $126-million affordable development that will bring 245 homes to the South Bronx. The 19-story building will offer 148 apartments specifically for individuals and families who have previously been homeless, including those in need of supportive services, state officials said.

“We continue to make unprecedented investments in affordable housing that will help tackle the dual inequality and homelessness crises,” Gov. Cuomo said. “New developments like this project demonstrate our ongoing efforts to provide Bronx residents with high-quality, energy-efficient homes with supportive services for the most vulnerable among us.”

Of the units set aside, 128 households will have access to on-site services and rental assistance funded through the governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The remaining rental units are reserved for low-income individuals and families. There is one apartment for a superintendent.

Supportive services will include linkage to and coordination of services with other community resources, including primary care and mental health services, and direct support in a variety of areas including: goal setting, systems navigation, self-advocacy, educational/vocational/employment information and referrals, nutrition, harm reduction strategies and social supports. The supportive service provider is Community Access, Inc.

The development will meet Enterprise Green Communities Standards and Energy Star’s Multi-Family High Rise standards and will include such energy-efficient features as Energy Star appliances and water conserving low-flow fixtures.

The 19-story building will have art, exercise, laundry and computer rooms. The ground floor will have 20,500 square feet of commercial space.

1159 River Ave. is four blocks from Yankee Stadium in a neighborhood that is near the 6, D and B subway lines; schools; houses of worship; supermarkets; convenience stores; and Mullaly Park which has ballfields, a playground, walking and bicycle paths and sitting areas.

HCR’s financing for 1159 River Ave. includes $25 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $43 million in equity and $16 million in subsidy. The ESSHI award administered by OMH will provide $3 million annually for services and operations.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development is providing an additional $26 million of subsidy through its Supportive Housing Loan Program. The development team consists of Community Access, Inc. and J. Equities II, LLC, an affiliate of affordable housing developer Maddd Equities.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “1159 River Avenue furthers Governor Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness and enhance quality of life in the Bronx by building new affordable housing with on-site supportive services. The 245 households that will live here will benefit from great amenities, excellent transit access, conveniently located stores and schools, and nearby recreational space. We are proud to partner with Community Access on this development to provide modern apartments and vital mental health care services to New Yorkers in need.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said, “Projects like the 1159 River Avenue are helping Bronx residents live safely in high-quality, affordable homes and achieve independence. Building more supportive housing is critical as we continue our fight against homelessness. I would like to thank Community Access and all the agencies and organizations that made this possible.”

Community Access CEO Cal Hedigan said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affirmed what those of us who provide supportive housing have long known: housing is healthcare. Safe, stable housing is necessary for individual well-being, for the well-being of families, and for public health. Community Access is proud to have continued our supportive and affordable housing development work throughout this pandemic, including opening our Bruckner Boulevard project and beginning construction at 1159 River Avenue. We applaud Governor Cuomo’s commitment to addressing New York’s affordable housing crisis.”

The governor’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing is reflected in the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services.

Designed to provide good quality, affordable homes, 1159 River Ave. is part of the governor’s overall strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $1.3 billion that has created or preserved more than 15,000 affordable homes in the Bronx.