Yonkers Affordable Housing Project Secures Financing

Real Estate In-Depth | November 2020

A rendering of the 81-unit 178 Warburton Ave. residential complex in Yonkers.

YONKERS—One of the largest affordable housing redevelopment projects in the region reached a significant milestone with the recent closing on financing for 178 Warburton at The Ridgeway, a new $56-million mixed-income residential complex of 81 apartment homes in Southwest Yonkers that is being developed by the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers and The Community Builders.

The new eight-story building, which is under construction, will feature a unit mix of six studio units, 35 one-bedrooms, and 40 two-bedrooms, with average unit sizes of 417, 652 and 914 gross square feet, respectively. The units will include dishwashers, microwaves and air conditioning. The building will include a common laundry room, on-site management, and a rooftop resident center comprised of a resident meeting/lounge space, an outdoor terrace, and a fitness room. Parking is free of charge. The units are affordable to families with a mix of incomes, ranging from 30% to 90% of Area Median Income.

The mixed-use building will also include a new Early Head Start day care center serving infants and toddlers from families with lower incomes. The space will include eight classrooms, a family resources room, a warming kitchen, washer and dryer, staff offices, storage and refuse areas, plus an additional 1,271 sf rooftop play area. The center will be operated by Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc., a private, not-for-profit, multipurpose social service organization, who will also operate the Head Start pre-kindergarten center at 172 Warburton Ave., the fourth phase of the redevelopment also presently under construction. The building will be certified as an Enterprise Green Communities building upon completion. Green elements of the project include Energy Star appliances, water conserving fixtures, and a solar PV array to provide energy for a portion of the building’s common electricity needs.

The project also includes a 33,000-square-foot central open space to be constructed to the east of the building. The recreation area will consist of passive and active spaces, including play equipment for children, adult fitness equipment, a fully accessible meandering path from east to west, and a picnic area. The open space will be constructed in partnership with the City of Yonkers, utilizing funding from Westchester County.

178 Warburton at The Ridgeway is the fifth phase of the six-phase master plan to redevelop Cottage Place Gardens, a 256-unit distressed public housing complex built in 1945, into the mixed affordable and market rate development renamed The Ridgeway. It replaces three outdated public housing buildings (Cottage Place Gardens Building #4, 8, and 12) and a former gasoline service station with a new, energy efficient residential building. The project also includes the remediation of a brownfield. The current phase of the redevelopment will have a significant economic impact by creating approximately 200 construction jobs over a 24-month construction period.

The Ridgeway redevelopment master plan calls for 500 units of housing, parking spaces, a three-quarter-acre central open space as well as mixed-use development in three of the six project phases. To date, 242 units across three phases have been completed, as well as the substantial renovation of an existing daycare center. Another 166 units of housing are currently under construction at 172 Warburton and 178 Warburton.

“This new phase of Cottage Garden’s redevelopment points to the positive momentum happening right now in Yonkers as we revitalize our neighborhoods and improve the lives of the residents who live here,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “We are building a stronger, a more sustainable community for residents, thanks to the support of our federal, state, private and local community partners and their commitment to Yonkers. I look forward to the great improvements that will be made to this very deserving neighborhood.”

“MHACY is grateful to our partners at Westchester County, the City of Yonkers and TCB for working together to provide environmentally conscious affordable housing. his is a great example of a successful public-private partnership,” said MHACY President & CEO Wilson Kimball.

“It is exciting to see new, affordable housing opportunities coming to fruition all across Westchester County,” added Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “My office is committed to furthering affordable housing in all of our communities and allocating funding that will ultimately help to fill a pragmatic need for our residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has already put a tremendous strain on some of our most vulnerable communities, and projects like The Ridgeway, which will serve a mix of incomes, show that we are moving in the right direction.”

“We are thrilled to begin construction on this project to transform an obsolete public housing site into a neighborhood of choice for people with a mix of incomes,” said Sue McCann, regional senior vice president for real estate development for The Community Builders. “We continue building a beautiful community for our current and future residents in Southwest Yonkers.”

MHACY has committed $104,432 to 178 Warburton to be used for predevelopment to permanent financing; TCB contributed over $700,000 in predevelopment financing; Community Capital New York provided a $800,000 predevelopment loan. The City of Yonkers has committed to provide $500,000 in City HOME funds and $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding. Other financing sources include NYS Housing Finance Agency tax exempt bond financing and subsidy, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, NYS Brownfield Tax Credits, $5 million from Westchester County Housing Implementation Fund and $250,000 of a $2.5 million Empire State Development Restore NY grant that was secured to finance multiple phases of the redevelopment.

The total development cost for the entire multi-phase project is estimated to be $296 million. New York State Homes and Community Renewal is the primary source of financing for this effort, having already committed several million dollars in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), hard debt, and gap financing toward the total development cost of $183 million for phases one, two, three and four.