Omni breaks ground on homeless sanctuary

Developer Omni New York joined city officials and project partners to break ground on a new development aimed at those at risk of homelessness.

The Morris II affordable housing development, located at 2956 Park Avenue in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx,will be a 154-unit, 15-story building with 4,000 s/f of ground floor community facility space.

Approximately 30percent of the units (46 units) at Morris II will be reserved for formerly homeless households, half of which (23 units) will be permanently affordable.

The remaining units will be affordable to very low-, low- and moderate-income households with maximum income limits ranging from $31,750 and up to $63,500 for an individual and from $45,300 up to $90,600 for a family of four. One unit will be set aside for an on-site superintendent.

“Today we are laying the foundations for a better future for more than 150 households in the South Bronx,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “The Morris II development will serve individuals and families at a range of incomes, including New Yorkers at risk of homelessness.”

Eugene Schneur, managing director and co-founder of Omni, said the building will adhere to the leading standards in energy efficient construction.

“We at Omni are excited to start the construction of a building that is designed to Passive Housing Standards,” said Schneur. Morris II is currently one of the largest such passive house developments under construction in the United States. It will be designed with an airtight building envelope, continuous insulation, high performance windows, and energy recovery ventilation units (ERVs) to minimize the effects of outdoor temperatures on the building’s indoor temperature and energy needs.

Other features include water saving fixtures for showers, sinks and water closets, energy efficient appliances and light fixtures in apartments and all common areas, recycling and a bicycle storage room, and an extensive DVR-security camera system.

The sustainable construction will include the installation of a co-generation system that will reduce costs as well as the building’s dependency on electricity.

The total development cost for Morris II Apartments is approximately $67.73 million. The development was financed under HDC and HPD’s Extremely Low and Low-Income Affordability Program (ELLA) and HPD’s Our Space Initiative. HDC provided $29.61 million in tax exempt bonds and $10.01 million in Corporate Reserves.

HPD is providing $10.28 million under the ELLA Program and $9.2 million through the City’s Our Space Initiative. HPD is also providing 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits resulting in a total $28.57 million in tax credit equity. Alliant Capital, Ltd. serves as the project’s tax credit syndicator and Bank of America is the Letter of Credit provider.

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