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Fairstead secures financing to convert former hotel

Fairstead has closed on over $79 million in financing to convert the former hotel building at 117 West 79th Street into affordable housing for seniors.

The company announced this morning is has partnered with the non-profit Project Find to concert the historic Park 79 Hotel to 77 “high-quality, deeply affordable residences specifically for seniors.”

Construction on the building, located on 79th Street near Columbus Avenue, is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The project is funded through a $51 million construction loan from Merchants Capital and a $28.4 million permanent financing commitment from Freddie Mac originated by Merchants Capital, as well as a nine percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity investment from Boston Financial.

The property will remain affordable for seniors for at least the next 60 years through a regulatory agreement with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development.


“At a moment when the need for high-quality affordable housing for New York’s seniors couldn’t be more urgent, we are beyond proud to break ground on creating 77 deeply affordable residences for seniors right in the heart of the Upper West Side,” said Will Blodgett, Founding Partner of Fairstead.

 “We pride ourselves in creating and preserving high-quality affordable housing in high-opportunity areas, and it’s so gratifying to provide these homes for seniors just steps from Central Park, the Museum of Natural History and the JCC. The revamped building will have great amenities for residents – but the neighborhood itself will really be its greatest amenity.”

“Project FIND is thrilled to be an integral partner in the transformation of this former hotel into a beautiful, affordable home to nearly 80 low income older adults,” said David Gillcrist, Executive Director of Project FIND.

“As the not for profit owner and service provider of Park 79 we look forward to fashioning an in-house service program that will foster community amongst the tenancy, connect people to this amazing neighborhood, and help each person to negotiate the challenges of aging with a professional friend at their side.”

“Obtaining financing is a step forward in the planned conversion of the Park 79 Hotel into senior affordable housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I look forward to the day when Project FIND can welcome scores of older adults into a beautifully restored facility.”

The seven-story historic building, designed in the Renaissance Revival is located at 117 West 79th Street, in view of the Museum of Natural History.

The gut renovation will replace the existing units with 78 UFAS mobility accessible apartments available to seniors aged 62 and older at incomes up to 40 and 50 percent of Area Median Income.

Fairstead’s renovations, designed by CTA Architects, will create a fully electric building with free wi-fi, high-quality ventilation and energy efficient lighting and appliances.

The renovation will include the addition of meeting rooms, a communal kitchen and a state of the art indoor/outdoor community space.

Project FIND will provide a host of on-site social services, including two full-time social workers to oversee tenant case management and supportive counseling, community building activities and programming, and connections to cultural, spiritual and recreational activities in the neighborhood.

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