A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday, May 11 for two buildings in Longwood known as The Mulberry and The Hemlock that together will provide a total of 200 affordable apartments for a variety of income levels.
The new buildings, The Hemlock at 960 Simpson Street and The Mulberry at 1000 Fox Street, within a block of one another, are both seven stories with the former containing 120 units and the latter 80 units.
The ribbon-cutting, held on Simpson Street, included remarks from Councilman Rafael Salamanca and Senator Luis Sepulveda, as well as representatives from developers Camber Property Group and Property Resources Corporation.
Salamanca said that he was thrilled to join with community stakeholders in cutting the ribbon on two new buildings he approved during his first year in office.
“Today, the transformation from underutilized lots to a thriving section of the Longwood community is complete,” said Salamanca. “With the opening of these buildings, we are adding 200 units of 100% affordable housing to the housing stock here in the south Bronx.”
Salamanca noted that the housing would serve both lower- and moderate-income local residents, with rents starting as low as $538 per month.
The councilman said he was pleased that the unit mix included two- and three-bedroom apartments, because they are needed in his district.
According to a spokesman for the developers, James Yolles, the units include 13 studios, 111 one-bedrooms, 43 two-bedrooms, 32 three-bedrooms and one unit for a superintendent.
The developers also provided fencing and mulch, as well as grading, for a plot of land next door to the Simpson Street location that serves as a community garden tended to by volunteers, said Salamanca.
The units will be offered to perspective tenants having incomes from lower up to 100 percent of area median income, which is a metric often used in affordable housing developments.
Rick Gropper, Camber Property Group principal, said after the ribbon cutting that a building site was once an underutilized parking lot.
Financing and tax incentives from the city contributed to the buildings’ affordable rents.
Gropper said that Camber and PRC were able to use financing and zoning tools available through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the city’s Housing Development Corporation and Salamanca to create housing for people with moderate and lower incomes.
“Some people moving in will earn 80 percent of the area median income and some will earn as low as 30 percent of area median income, but everyone will pay only 30 percent of their income toward rent,” said Gropper.
Gropper added that it would allow residents who are ‘rent-burdened’ to use their money on other things they may need, including education, clothing, job-searches and investment.
Sepulveda said that the development was great news for the Longwood community.
“New Yorkers today are facing a massive housing crisis, where finding a place to live has become nearly impossible,” said the senator. “Adding 200 units of affordable housing to our south Bronx neighborhood will not only aid in accommodating many families but will also serve in the continued vitality of our community.”