An old public housing project has been transformed into an ambitious $63 million affordable housing development in Yonkers, N.Y.
Schoolhouse Terrace is the first phase of a planned six-phase redevelopment of Cottage Place Gardens, a public housing development built in 1945.
The project is a collaborative effort between The Community Builders (TCB) and the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY).
The property has a long history. It was also the site of the former Public School 6 at 43 Ashburton Ave. The school building was structurally unsound and had to be demolished. However, the school’s original, architecturally distinctive archway has been preserved and integrated into the design of a 50-unit building for low-income seniors by Magnusson Architecture and Planning.
The development includes another 70-unit building designed for low-income families.
It is one of several key projects awarded funding through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative that focuses on strengthening the state’s economy from the bottom up. The new development, which received $31.1 million through New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) programs, provided an economic boost to the area with 350 construction jobs and five permanent jobs.
“We have transformed what stood for years as a symbol of neglect and deterioration into a symbol of hope and new opportunity, providing quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable housing for Yonkers families, seniors, and newcomers to our city,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
Joseph Shuldiner, MHACY executive director, called the project a true collaboration.
The city provided the land, the state provided most of the funding, and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is providing ongoing subsidy through the housing choice voucher program.
“TCB is proud of the transformation of the old Public School 6 site into beautiful mixed-income housing, which 120 Yonkers families can now call home.” said Bart Mitchell, the nonprofit’s president and CEO. “Beautiful housing, new educational opportunities, and spending the construction dollars on jobs for local people all contribute to making Southwest Yonkers a fabulous place to live and work.”
The first two buildings set the tone for future phases. The $27 million Phase II, a 51-rental unit complex at 188 Warburton Ave., is scheduled to be completed this spring. The third planned phase of this development effort would create homes for an additional 70 Yonkers families.
Schoolhouse Terrace is seeking LEED-Sliver certification and is energy efficient with innovative green design elements, including green roofing and an intensive focus on energy efficiency to reduce the carbon footprint. Smart mechanicals; low-VOC paints and adhesives; high-performance, double-aluminum pane windows that provide ample daylight; and low-flow plumbing fixtures make the buildings energy- and resource- efficient. Large windows in the apartments allow for lots of natural light and spectacular views of the Palisades and the Hudson River.
Funding partners include: HCR with $31.1 million in bond financing, $1.2 million housing finance agency subsidy, $2.5 million in Housing Trust Fund and Homes for Working Families Financing, and a $600,000 allocation of state low-income housing tax credits; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with $7.8 million of tax credits through its Brownfield Cleanup Program; $3,250,000 from HUD; a $306,634 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; $500,000 from a city of Yonkers federal Community Development Block Grant; a $1.368 million loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; $1.5 million from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program II; $1.25 million from the city of Yonkers HOME program; $890,000 in MHACY Public Housing Capital Funds; a $93,500 sponsor loan; and almost $3 million in deferred fee. The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency provided a payment in lieu of taxes. The Bank of New York Mellon provided the letter of credit, and RBC Capital Markets syndicated the tax credits.