Three Glendale regulated rental apartment buildings undergo $ 5 million upgrade with new owner – QNS.com
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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, three rent-regulated apartment buildings in Glendale underwent a $ 5 million on-site rehabilitation. This is the first project in the city’s Neighborhood Pillars program, which aims to help preserve affordable housing, to be completed.
Co-owners Rockabill Development, LLC, a Hoboken-based development and consultancy firm specializing in affordable and supportive housing, and Mutual aid community services, a nonprofit that operates senior housing complexes across the city and Queens, announced the completion of the project almost two years after buying the three buildings for nearly $ 16 million through the New York City Acquisition Fund.
The three four-story apartment buildings, with 72 units in total, are located at 71-15, 71-21 and 71-27 65th Street.
The co-owners worked with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and City Councilor Robert Holden to provide all current residents with stabilized rent leases, including those who do not. have not. have one before.
Prior to the acquisition, residents could face rent increases averaging $ 469 per month due to the combination of unregulated and rent-stabilized units in buildings, according to Rockabill.
From now on, Rockabill and Selfhelp will maintain existing affordability for at least 40 years, under an Article XI property tax exemption.
All 72 units, according to a Rockabill spokesperson, are currently occupied.
For new tenants, if a unit becomes vacant, income brackets can vary from $ 45,500 to $ 109,200 for families of two, depending on the Median income zone (AM I). Under the agreement, 11 units are provided for individuals and families earning no more than 50 percent of the MAI; 10 units for those who do not earn more than 70% of AMI; 24 units for those who do not earn more than 85% of the MAI; 18 units for those who do not earn more than 105% of AMI; and 8 units for those earning no more than 120 percent AMI.
Thirty percent of the apartments (36 units) will be permanently affordable, and 15 units are reserved for formerly homeless individuals and families.
Holden, who approved the project in 2019, told QNS he was happy the project was moving forward.
“This is a smart approach to providing affordable housing and tackling homelessness,” Holden said. “People need the shelter and the safety and dignity it provides, not the dangerous assembly shelters” in the warehouse. “
HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said they are proud of their partners for completing the project under Pillars of the neighborhood.
The program, that Mayor Bill de Blasio launched in 2018, provides low interest loans and tax exemptions to nonprofits and mission organizations seeking to acquire and rehabilitate unregulated or rent stabilized housing for low to moderate income households.
“We’re excited to see the first project under the Neighborhood Pillars accomplish exactly what it’s supposed to do – keep families and communities affordable and safe,” Carroll said.
Rockabill Founder and Managing Partner Niall J. Murray said the success of the project and their “collective perseverance in the face of exceptional challenges proves that New Yorkers are the most resilient, courageous and committed people there is.”
Selfhelp Realty Group Executive Director Evelyn Wolff said it was a privilege to be part of the city’s first Neighborhood Pillars program and Selfhelp’s first Preservation Agreement. “Access to safe, affordable and stable housing is part of any strong and vibrant community, and the ongoing pandemic has amplified those needs,” Wolff said.
The project was a few months into a massive capital improvement campaign, during which developers worked to improve existing conditions in all three apartment buildings while tenants stayed in their homes, when the COVID-pandemic 19 ended the plans in March.
Corn ConRock construction, Rockabill’s construction and subcontracting company, finally got essential status to get back to work. ConRock Co-Chairman Bill O’Connor said they overcame it safely by “leveraging technology to foster collaboration between construction crews, construction crews, property and tenants ”.
They put in place several measures to carry out the project with a “human-centered approach” during the difficult times.
In addition to following city regulations and site safety plans, they also changed construction schedules so as not to disrupt children’s home learning, worked in common areas and outside of buildings. buildings until the city reaches Phase 4 reopening, have hired a porter to advance cleaning protocols and posting weekly notices with construction schedules and progress updates.
O’Connor’s daughter, who returned from college due to the pandemic, created a mobile app and daily checklist to keep the 10-15 trades involved in the project on the same page.
They also hired Massiel Sori Crisostomo, the partner of Super Daniel Tavera buildings, as a tenant liaison. Tavera and Crisostomo, who are both 29 and a 3-year-old daughter, started working at Rockabill in June 2020.
Crisostomo, who lost her job as a dental assistant during the height of the pandemic, has been hired to help tenants feel comfortable with upgrades in the unit. She also became a go-to project supervisor, making sure that upgrades were done correctly.
“At first it was a bit difficult,” Crisostomo said. “But then they saw me and said I was really nice. It was easy for me to get in touch with them, especially with the young people.
Crisostomo said some tenants were “astonished” to see a young couple, both Dominicans, working together to help improve buildings.
“I told them: ‘if I’m here at home doing nothing, why [shouldn’t I] help him? If I help him I can also be successful, ”she said, referring to Tavera. “Now we’re trying to keep everything in place – the garbage, the work orders – so that everything can run as smoothly as before. But the tenants themselves say the building has changed a lot.
The rehabilitation of the three apartment buildings means that the obsolete fabric wiring has been completely replaced to ensure reliable electricity, new windows have been installed to improve energy efficiency, violations have been corrected and work to rectify the problems. aging infrastructure like repair of facades and roofs are completed.
Another measure implemented by the developers during the pandemic was the establishment of a dedicated phone number and response service run by Selfhelp to help tenants with benefits, food deliveries and management of property. cases at home, as well as to facilitate communication with tenants at risk or seniors.
Katie Devine, director of Rockabill, told QNS that while the Richmond-Hill-based company Wavecrest management is the property manager of the buildings, they are “exceptionally involved owners”.
Devine said establishing crucial partnerships, like theirs with Selfhelp, and working with the needs of individual families to improve living conditions is how affordable housing “can be most successful.”
“The Neighborhood Pillars program is so important in that it’s a program that has allowed us to take these units into a neighborhood where rents are going up, and to be able to stabilize those rents and keep the community there. buildings that already existed, ”Devine mentioned.