Affordable Bronx project a cut above rest

RKTB Architects, P.C. announced that East Clarke Place Court, their affordable housing project the South Bronx, is now 100 percent occupied.

The $25 million NYC Housing Preservation and Development sponsored project, developed by YTM Ltd, is an example of public/private sector collaboration to develop one of the last vacant city-owned lots in the Grand Concourse corridor.

The two-tower complex shares a new outdoor courtyard and is one of the earliest projects to meet the criteria of the Enterprise Green Communities program that creates cost-effective, sustainable architecture for low-income families.

The project combines two properties into one integrated complex of 106 low-income rental units. 12 East Clarke Place is an 11-story, mixed-use building that contains 73 units and 27 East 169th Street is a 13-story residential building that has 33 units. It is located just north of Yankee Stadium.

The buildings share amenities including a recreation room for tenants, community facility space, and laundry, and are connected below grade by a parking garage.

The architects pushed the capability of the usual block and plank structural system – often used to control costs of residential construction – in order to create large windows and interior finishes have a higher quality than normal for affordable housing, such as bamboo flooring, ceramic tiles, and custom wood cabinets.

East Clark Place. Photo by Albert Vecerka /Esto

East Clark Place Court.
Photo by Albert Vecerka /Esto

YTM Ltd originally bought the Clarke Place site and then acquired the adjacent city owned parcel. The developer’s goal was to bring as much affordable housing to the South Bronx as possible and create a project that could be well integrated into the neighborhood.

While the design is ambitious for an affordable housing complex of this type, it allowed YTM to maximize space, provide better amenities for the residents, and better respond to the needs of the neighborhood.

The project was developed under HPD/HDC’s LAMP program, which uses tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. Citi Community Capital provided the Letter of Credit for the bonds and the tax credits were syndicated through Richman Housing Resources. Consultants included Wexler & Associates (structural engineers), TSF Engineering (MEP engineers), and Sally Love Associates Inc. (project manager).

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