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Developer closes on first loan from NYC Acqusition Fund

Affordable housing builder Rockabill and Holocaust survivors non profit Selfhelp have landed the first loan issued under the New York City Acquisition Fund

Made possible through a partnership between Enterprise Community Partners, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the City of New York, commercial lending institutions and foundations, the $150 million Fund offers bridge loans for vacant sites or occupied buildings, predevelopment, and rehabilitation to developers committed to the creation of new or preservation of existing affordable and/or supportive rental housing in the 5 boroughs of New York City.

Rockabill Development and Selfhelp Community Services secured a $15,157,250 loan to acquire three four-story apartment buildings in Glendale, Queens for preservation as affordable housing.

The new owner expects to close on HPD and HDC financing for renovations and to refinance the New York City Acquisition Fund bridge loan this summer.

“Preserving affordable housing while simultaneously ensuring that residents have the support they need to age in place is vital as we work to combat displacement and the affordability crisis,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners, ECLF’s parent company.

“The Neighborhood Pillars program made this acquisition possible, and Enterprise is proud to work with HPD and our partners to ensure these homes will remain affordable to residents long into the future.”

“As we work to keep low to moderate income New Yorkers in their homes and neighborhoods now and into the future, our Neighborhood Pillars program is a powerful new tool to help acquire and preserve rent-stabilized and unregulated buildings as affordable housing,” said Eric Enderlin, acting HPD Commissioner.
“The acquisition of these three properties will secure the affordability of these 72 homes in Glendale, Queens, as well as services for residents. I want to thank Enterprise and so many partners for championing this new program, and look forward to working with the development team to bring the first of many Neighborhood Pillars projects over the finish line.”

The three properties, located at 71-15, 71-21, and 71-27 65th Street, contain 72 apartments, 24 in each building, including a superintendent’s unit. The apartments include eight studios, 52 one-bedrooms and 12 two-bedroom homes.

There is a mix of unregulated and rent-stabilized units in the buildings, with 12 percent unregulated. In addition, over 50 percent of the rent-stabilized units have preferential rents in which under current rent stabilization regulations, the property owner could have increased rents by an average of $469 per month at lease renewal.

As part of the financing with HPD, the owner will maintain the existing rental affordability for a minimum term of 40 years and 30% of the apartments will be permanently affordable.

All residents will have rent-stabilized leases, including tenants who do not currently, and the apartments will remain rent-stabilized for the term of the regulatory agreement.

“Rockabill has been involved in the preservation of nearly 10,000 traditional affordable housing units over the past decade, and we are excited to work with HPD and Enterprise to take a non-regulated property and protect its affordability for current and future working class families and seniors. The Neighborhood Pillars program is great example of the ingenuity and flexibility of this administration’s housing policy,” said Niall Murray, President of Rockabill Development.

Rockabill and Selfhelp will co-own the property and will be responsible for the financing and execution of the planned renovations, as well as long-term operations and regulatory compliance.

Selfhelp will provide services, on an as-needed and as-requested basis, for residents as they age in place and require assistance with various functions of daily living. Wavecrest Management will provide property management services.

“Selfhelp is excited to be part of the first Neighborhood Pillars project with HPD, Enterprise and Rockabill. Preserving the affordability of existing housing is an important part of allowing residents to age in place; as a large human service provider with a long history in Queens, this project is a key part of our work to ensure independence and dignity for older and vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Evelyn Wolff, Executive Director of Selfhelp Realty Group, an affiliate of Selfhelp Community Services.

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