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HPD, SOBRO celebrate Gateway building

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It had once been a vacant eyesore, visible to all motorists entering the borough from the Willis Avenue Bridge. It has now been transformed into a vibrant residential building home to the occupants of 23 units of affordable housing.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the building, a former warehouse located at 120 Willis Avenue recently.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, and affordable housing advocates were all on hand to celebrate the opening of the spacious studios and one- and two- bedroom apartments, which offer residents a panoramic view of the Harlem River and northern Manhattan.

“Developments like the Gateway Building are evidence of the commitment of organizations like SoBro and the Community Preservation Corporation to redeveloping the south Bronx in a manner that is affordable to the community as a whole,” said HPD commissioner Rafael Cestero. “We at HPD are proud to be part of a development that helps add to the vitality of its surrounding neighborhood and to the well being of the families that call it home.”

The units are priced at $900 a month for studios, $1,050 a month for one bedrooms, and $1,350 a month for two bedrooms, with an income restricted to families earning less than $81,001 a year.

The project was developed in partnership with HPD, Community Preservation Corporation, and Councilwoman Carmen Arroyo. SoBro transformed the 100-year-old warehouse into a living space that includes a brand new elevator and energy saving features from approved by NYSERDA, a state agency promoting energy efficiency.

“The Gateway Building represents another sign heralding the resurgence of the Bronx from the steep decline it endured for decades,” said SoBro senior vice-president Neil Pariser.

SoBro made use of nearly $3.7 million in funding from HPD’s Participation Loan Program, a program which provides low-interest loans to private residential building owners fro the moderate-to-gut rehabilitation of housing for low and moderate-income people.

Ruben Diaz Jr. was on hand to take center stage at still another ribbon cutting, which have taken pace at breakneck speed in Mott Haven and surrounding communities in recent years.

“The Gateway Building is another example of the spirit of redevelopment and renewal so prevalent throughout the Bronx, even in these difficult economic times,” Diaz Jr. said. “This project not only address our continued need for affordable housing, but with its viable energy efficiency features demonstrates that such development can be done in a sustainable manner.”

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