After three years of development, YUCO Real Estate Company Inc. celebrated the opening of the Brook Avenue Apartments in Mott Haven on Thursday, June 19.
The new apartment complex is comprised of two connected buildings built on formerly vacant city land, with the developer utilizing city tax incentives.
The 5-story apartment building has a total of 55 affordable housing units: seven studio; 35 one-bedroom; 12 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments. There is also a private, 26-car parking garage for tenants.
The second connected building on the corner of Brook Avenue and 469 E. 147th Street is seven stories tall and contain 11 affordable units as well as 1,700 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.
Brook Avenue Apartments is a showcase for what well-designed affordable housing should be, said YUCO president Raymond Yu.
The developer said he was proud to have replaced a 240-foot wide contaminated vacant lot.
“The level of our finishings and fixtures surpass what is typically found in other tax credit projects,” Yu said.
Yu developed the complex with his father and mentor Bong Yu, who was also on hand for the event with other family members.
Fifty percent of units have been set aside for Community Board 1 residents who qualify, allowing local residents to avoid displacement.
Fourteen of the units will be available to households making 40 percent of the area’s mean income, with the remaining units available to households earning up to 60 percent of the annual mean income.
Also on hand for Monday’s ribbon cutting event was Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who praised YUCO and its partner, KZA Realty, for helping to bring new affordable housing to the Bronx.
“The fact is that you chose to invest in our borough, you came to us correctly and worked with the city,” Diaz said. “The income bands that are here are going to make sure that people in our borough, especially in this area, continue to have a beautiful affordable place to call home.”
The developer also utilized outside-the-box thinking to make the project work.
On both sides of the apartments site there are Con Edison cooling stations for underground electrical cables.
YUCO acquired air rights from these adjacent properties through an agreement with Con Edison and will tap into that resource to cool the buildings.
The $24.4 million project was made possible through $16.6 million in low-income housing tax credits made available through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The NYC HPD also contributed just under $4 million in additional funding.
The NYC Community Preservation Corporation has contributed a $3 million permanent loan through the New York City Employees Retirement System.
NYC CPC senior vice president and regional director Robert Briggs said the quality of the new building speaks for itself.
“What does it say?” Briggs asked. “It says I was built by people who really care deeply about what they do, and it manifests itself in the project.”