By Roland Li
The ownership of an affordable housing development at 475 West 57th Street has been transferred for $15.18 million, according to city records.
The building, the Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence, includes 178 units of affordable housing for senior citizens and tenants with HIV and AIDS. Ownership was transferred from Aurora Associates, LP to Friedman Residence, LLC. Both entities are affiliates of the Actors Fund, a non-profit group that provides services for those in the entertainment and performing arts industries.
Joseph Benincasa, president and CEO of the Actors Fund, said the transfer was the result of the end of a compliance period, and no changes in usage will be made to the 30-story building. In addition to apartments, the Friedman Residence has a free health care clinic and a retail space, occupied by Duane Reade.
Tenants are required to have an annual income of $15,000 to $32,280, and the tower, formerly known as the Aurora, has been virtually always 100% occupied.
Monthly rent in the building ranges from $645 to $675 per tenant, according to 2007 data. Apartments include 27 one-bedroom units, prioritized for tenants with medical conditions, and shared two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Demand for housing has been high, due to the lack of options in the area, said Benincasa.
“We can’t build enough,” he said.
Originally built as a luxury condominium with 98 units by developer Lewis Futterman, the project fell into disrepair in the wake of economic challenges in the late 1980s. The Actors Fund saw an opportunity for conversion, seeking to subdivide the units to accommodate those in need of affordable housing.
The effort was financed through a partnership between the Actors Fund and the Related Companies’ Related Capital Company, which raised $34 million from investors by selling Federal tax credits. The project also benefited from the city’s 430c tax abatement. Related previously had an ownership stake, but the building is now fully owned by the Actors Fund.
In addition, the Actors Fund has three other affordable housing developments, including 160 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn, the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., and the Palm View in West Hollywood, Calif. The group is currently planning new projects in California and New York.
“We’re looking to spur economic and community development,” said Benincasa.