Affordable housing for Richmond Hill

The Arker Companies, a developer of affordable housing in the New York City metropolitan area, broke ground Sept. 7 on new construction of two adjacent housing complexes in Richmond Hill, Queens. The developments will deliver a 182 units of first-rate, affordable housing for area residents.

The two projects — which together will play an instrumental role in revitalizing the local neighborhood — include the 65-unit Richmond Hill Senior Living Residences and the 117-unit Richmond Place.

Richmond Hill Senior Living Residences will provide housing opportunities for age-restricted elderly residents with incomes below 60 percent of the area’s median income.

The six-story, 62,500-square-foot project is being financed by New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) through nine percent Low-Income Housing Credits and State Low-Income Housing Credits, which Bank of America will be collectively purchasing for $16.7 million. Bank of America is also providing a construction loan for the senior development, whose total development cost is $20 million.

Richmond Place will also serve families with incomes below 60 percent of area median income. The seven-story, 136,300-square-foot project will include 13 studios, 28 one-bedrooms, 68 two-bedrooms, and seven three-bedrooms, with one two-bedroom set aside for a superintendent. One-fifth of the units will be reserved for homeless households.

HDC will issue $17.5 million in tax-exempt bonds for the construction financing of Richmond Place. $5.1 million will remain outstanding as permanent debt, with the balance paid down when the transaction is converted to permanent status. A total of $7.6 million will be issued from HPD through $4.7 million in LIRP subsidy and combined with a $2.29 million subsidy in HOME funds. $12.7 million will be raised through Tax Credit Equity. Total development cost for Richmond Place will be approximately $33.9 million. The project will generate 157 direct job opportunities. Bank of America is providing a construction period letter of credit as well as direct equity investment.

Richmond Place is being developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, an $8.4 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by 2014. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of over 125,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs.

Both developments are situated on a long-vacant, New York State-designated Brownfield Cleanup site.

“Affordable housing is one of the largest challenges facing New York City today,” said Daniel Moritz of The Arker Companies. “These projects underscore the leadership roles being played by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in strengthening the City’s neighborhoods through the production of affordable housing. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the development of clean, safe affordable housing for New York City’s working families.”

“Having represented neighboring Cypress Hills in the State Assembly for two decades, I know the needs of Richmond Hill,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns.

“Affordable housing continues to be a critical need, especially for seniors. This project will not only provide much-needed housing for seniors, it removes the blight caused by an abandoned brownfields site and proves the success that can be achieved through public-private partnerships. We congratulate The Arker Companies for their steadfast leadership in what has already been an impressive inter-governmental, multi-agency effort.”

“We at HDC are very pleased to have the financial strength to be able to continue supporting the Mayor’s housing goals,” said Marc Jahr, president of NYC HDC. “Creating new affordable and sustainable housing in such a populous borough like Queens is critical to the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan.”

“Richmond Place is emblematic of the City’s mission to create strong, sustainable neighborhoods through a continued investment in affordable housing,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua.

“The affordable housing we are creating here will provide a place for families to grow roots and connect to the community, and it will provide a critical sense of stability to those formerly homeless households who need a fresh start. I thank HDC for their outstanding work in providing financing for this wonderful development, and The Arker Companies for their continued partnership and dedication.”

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