NYC Utilizes $8.4 Billion Green Housing Financing for Senior Development

New York City has joined in on a national effort to become more green and sustainable, and the opening of Serviam Gardens, a 243-unit green, affordable housing development for low- and moderate-income seniors in the Bronx, is a step in that direction with its Enterprise Green Communities Criteria (EGCC) adherence. The finished, 158-unit Serviam II, developed by Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC), marks the completion of the Bronx-located affordable housing development, which has been constructed in two phases.

Serviam I, with 83 units, was completed in October 2009 and developed by FBHC with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Development for both Serviam I and II followed Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, the only national green building criteria for affordable housing, an HPD requirement for affordable housing developers since January 2011. The NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) says it is the first city-subsidized affordable housing development to be completed using the criteria, which was created to yield lowered utility costs and increased sustainability as well as benefit the financial stability of both tenants and affordable housing owners.

“Our data shows rising utility costs have increased significantly over the past several years and are a heavy contributor to the cost of living burden many New Yorkers are struggling to keep pace with,” said HPD Deputy Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “For these reasons we have partnered with Enterprise and now require every new and preserved unit that we assist to adhere to their Green Communities Criteria.”

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The construction was developed under NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), says HDC. The plan allocates $8.4 billion of financing for 165,000 units of affordable housing meant for 500,000 New Yorkers. By 2014, HDC says, NYC expects to provide financing for more than 30,000 units with energy efficiency and sustainability requirements; it will also certify approximately 40 affordable housing projects each year according to EGCC guidelines.

These green requirements, says HDC, directly support PlaNYC, which is NYC’s four-year-old sustainability plan that will run through 2030. The Plan’s goals include making NYC more “green,” creating housing for nearly a million more New Yorkers, and providing more affordable and sustainable housing.

The total development cost for Serviam I was $20.9 million, and the units are for low-income seniors earning no more than 50% of the HUD Income Limits, or $26,850 for one person; Serviam II’s total development cost was $47.3 milion, and it provides affordable housing for seniors earning 28-80% of the area median income. FBHC developed the $68 million project on land leased from the Ursuline Bedford Park Convent in the Northwest Bronx, says HDC, and its green elements include a green roof to limit storm water impact with a rainwater harvesting system; bamboo flooring; and energy efficient elevators, lighting and appliances.

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Written by Alyssa Gerace