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Ribbon cut on St. Ann’s Terrace affordable housing complex

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The new St. Ann’s Terrace apartment complex is one of the largest affordable housing developments in the city, let alone in the Bronx, so it figures to play a prominent role in the future of the Melrose area. But at its ribbon cutting, elected officials and community leaders kept talking about how it symbolizes the progress the neighborhood has made from its past.

“You’ve got to remember one thing: This area was completely abandoned,” said long time Community Board 1 chair George Rodriguez. “Some of us said ‘we’re not going to move, we’re going to improve,’ and I’m flabbergasted that I’m beginning to see these changes.”

The ribbon was officially cut on St. Ann’s Terrace on Wednesday, October 26. The 641-unit eight-building development sits on 3.5 acres between St. Ann’s Avenue, East 156th Street, Eagle Avenue and East 159th Street. It will also feature 50,000 square feet of retail space, which has been fully leased, and 400 parking spaces.

The overall development cost $218.9 million, according to the city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development. It was developed by Jackson Development Group, built by Joy Construction Corporation and partially funded by the mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan affordable-housing initiative, and the Bronx borough president’s office.

Residents started moving in to the buildings in May, The complex is expected to be full by the end of 2011.

“When I came here and saw this new community, it was a beautiful thing,” said new resident Tyrone Rogers, who had been living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. Like the rest of the complex’s residents, he was selected for his apartment through a lottery.

“Coming out of a shelter into this, I’m very excited, it’s a blessing,” Rogers, a retired maintenance worker who lives with his wife, said.

All St. Ann’s Terrace apartments are rentals. Monthly rent ranges from $643 to $977, depending on apartment size and income.

Both the current and most recent former borough president attended the ribbon cutting.

Ex-BP Adolfo Carrion attended in his role as regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This allows us to reflect on where we’ve come from as a people,” Carrion said. “And that’s very exciting.”

Current BP Ruben Diaz Jr. also emphasized how important the complex would be to the area’s previously ravaged landscape.

“This is magical,” he said. “Usually when you see a magician, they make things disappear. But together we’ve made something appear here, and that something should not be trivialized.

“This is about strengthening the spirit of our Bronxites and it goes a long way to in making Bronxites proud of where they live.”

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at bweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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