A resilient and sustainable mixed-income development overlooks the shore in the Edgemere neighborhood of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, N.Y.
The 101-unit Beach Green Dunes, developed by The Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities, is designed to be a high-performance multifamily building, one of the largest certified by Passive House Institute US.
Insulated concrete form construction is used on exterior walls, providing for an airtight structure. A rooftop solar photovoltaic system provides a significant portion of the energy used at the site, and energy-efficient central air and heating as well as energy recovery ventilation systems in each unit provide increased comfort and reduced costs for residents. The development also features green roofs and terraces with native species plantings and bioswales to help retain stormwater runoff and provide on-site irrigation.
“The Bluestone Organization’s mission has always been to develop and build using cutting-edge building materials and systems toward the goal of making our buildings more efficient, more resilient, and more carbon neutral,” says Jim Angley, senior development manager at The Bluestone Organization.
In an area hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy, the development also prioritizes resilient design, with all living spaces, mechanical systems, utilities, and services located above flood level and anything below that built with flood-resistant materials. In case of power outage, the building can also rely on the cogeneration unit and photovoltaic array as a backup.
Half of the units serve households earning 50% and 60% of the area median income (AMI), while the remainder are at 90% of the AMI.
Built on beachfront land contributed by the city, the $32.6 million development was financed under New York City agencies Housing Development Corp. (HDC) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Rental Mix and Match program and was one of the earliest to benefit from a sub-50 bifurcated structure. Only the low-income units were financed with tax-exempt private-activity bonds and 4% low-income housing tax credits, reducing the volume cap needed to meet the 50% test.
“It allowed us to save on volume cap, which is a vital and scarce resource, and allowed us to stretch those dollars further,” adds Anthony Richardson, HDC executive vice president of development.