Petioni Plaza opens in Harlem

Finally, the long wait is over.

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) last week honored one of its daughters at a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the doors to the new Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza.

Previously known as Erbograph Apartments, Harlem’s first LEED-Silver-designed housing development for seniors, was named in honor of Dr. Petioni, who has served as a doctor in Harlem for over 60 years and was an active member of HCCI’s board of directors.

Affectionately known as “Dr. P,” Muriel Petioni, born in Trinidad, devoted her life to her profession, her family and her community, and was still active in the community up to her death last week at age-97.

“I am very happy that this building is being named after me because it supports my passion for increased services to seniors,” said Dr. Petioni. “This project fulfills and emphasizes the need for housing devoted to seniors and increased services for seniors.”

The eight-story, 65-unit building is located at 203 West 146th St. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd in the Bradhurst section of Harlem.

The “green” design’s impressive features include high-performance mechanical systems, rain water harvesting, a green roof, non-toxic paints and materials, FSC-certified wood, south-facing sun shades, and EnergyStar lights and appliances.

The building is designed to accommodate aging-in-place seniors earning no more than 50 percent of the area’s median income, and is fully accessible for individuals with physical disabilities.

HCCI was joined by officials from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New York City Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and the Jonathan Rose Companies,

HCCI will offer health and wellness services to building residents and operating support from the HUD Section 202 program.

“The Dr. Muriel Petioni Plaza is a remarkable example of what strong partnership, vision and leadership can achieve,” said HUD’s Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrion. “This is exactly the kind of project HUD’s Section 202 was created to support, and I am proud HUD was able to provide $9.7 million in funding,”

“How appropriate that an iconic LEED-Silver designed, senior affordable housing complex should carry the name of an American icon, Dr. Muriel Petioni, who has been blazing trails for more than 70 years,” said Darryl C. Towns, CEO, New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

The Dr. Petioni Plaza project has more than 60 affordable units for very low-income elderly and frail elderly households, with on-site access to health care and social services.

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