Thirty-one households who had been vacated from 552 Academy Street in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood because of deplorable conditions in 2011 have returned to safe and renovated apartments under new ownership.
The building had been in a state of physical and financial distress, with no heat, water, or gas, when the city came in with the vacate order. Residents were relocated, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) worked to stabilize the building, find a new owner, and secure financing to rehab the property.
Nonprofit Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) partnered with Alembic Community Development to rehabilitate the property.
The gut rehabilitation of the 72-unit building included renovations to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; new boilers; repairs to the common areas; the replacement of windows and doors; and new kitchens and bathrooms. In addition, the development team added a brand-new elevator to the previous walk-up building, a green roof, and new community space. The project also meets Enterprise Green Communities standards.
In addition to the 31 households that returned to the building, it is serving another 41 families who were among the 50,000 people who signed up through HPD’s lottery.
“Preserving our housing stock, keeping families in their homes, and safeguarding affordability is central to HPD’s mission of creating strong and vibrant neighborhoods. The rebirth of 552 Academy exemplifies our commitment to this mission, but it’s also a story of the strength and perseverance of the tenants and community who refused to give up,” says Vicki Been, HPD commissioner. “Working with our partners we were able to stabilize the building when portions were in danger of collapse, find temporary apartments for the tenants, and provide the financing that helped to transform this once derelict property into a place the tenants can be proud to call home.”
The $22.3 million rehab was financed primarily with low-income housing tax credits provided by HPD. Enterprise Community Investment syndicated the credits to provide $16.8 million in equity, with Capital One as the investor. HPD also provided $1.8 million in HOME funds as well as $650,000 in mayoral city capital. Additional funding included $1.5 million in Reso A funding from Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, a $1 million permanent loan from JPMorgan Chase, and $370,000 in developer equity. Capital One also provided $14.8 million in construction financing.
“552 Academy Street is much more than its 72 rent-stabilized apartments. It’s a noteworthy model for revitalizing neighborhoods and preserving communities through public-private partnerships, as well as a source of inspiration for other residents in neglected buildings throughout New York City,” says Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners.