Real Estate Weekly
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Construction & Design

Affordable building meets Passive rules

Ground was broken this week from Betances Residence in the Bronx

One of the most carbon-efficient apartment buildings in the world will house low income New Yorkers and allow seniors to age in place.

The new Betances Residence in Mott Haven will have 152 units of affordable and supportive housing.

The development is the first by Breaking Ground to meet Passive House standards, the most rigorous for reducing the energy footprint of residential and commercial developments.

With a tight building envelope and engineered ventilation systems, the Passive House design will ensure a high indoor air quality for Breaking Ground’s senior tenants while achieving optimal energy cost efficiencies. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the building integrates biophilic design strategies, such as the incorporation of natural materials, patterns, and abundant natural light throughout, to enhance resident well-being.

The entry to the building is focused on a framed view of the central organizing feature of the project, a verdant courtyard garden.

Visible from both the sidewalk and the corridors of the residential floors, the garden will create connections between residents and the wider community, creating a cohesive pedestrian and residential experience.

“We are thrilled to break ground on Betances Residence today, and celebrate the creation of 152 new apartments for seniors who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness. Seniors are the fastest growing population in New York, and Betances helps ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors can age-in-place without the constant fear of losing their home,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground.

Located between Willis and Brook Avenues on a site that spans 142nd to 143rd Streets, The development is being financed with $58 million in tax-exempt bonds and subsidy from HDC, $23 million in SARA funds from HPD, $2.7 million in HHAP funds from OTDA, and approximately $39 million in equity generated from the sale of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

Wells Fargo is serving as the tax credit investor and provided a letter of credit. The Corporation for Supportive housing provided pre-development funds.

The building will feature two eight-story residential towers and provide 22 one-bedroom and 130 studio apartments.

Onsite social services will be offered to all residents in the building by the Center for Urban Community Services, Breaking Ground’s long-standing partner, marking their 11th residential collaboration in over the past nearly 30 years.

Betances Residence will be Breaking Ground’s seventh building in the Bronx and increase its total units under management in the borough to more than 1,100.

Partners on the development include The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation (OTDA/HHAC).

The Betances Residence development is part of a commitment by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to identify underutilized land for new affordable homes.

NYCHA Senior Vice President of Real Estate Jonathan Gouveia commented, “Thanks to Breaking Ground, HPD, HDC and our partners, this environmentally friendly development will put to good use underutilized NYCHA land for the community and directly serve formerly homeless and low-income senior households – providing crucial housing and community services for those that need it most.”

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