A major real estate deal has just been locked-down for the Bronx.
The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, collaborating with Camber Property Group, Belveron Partners, closed on a $75 million acquisition of an 11-building, 343-unit portfolio in West Farms on Wednesday, January 2.
The purchased properties are comprised of two separate clusters of mid-rise buildings at: 1892-94 Arthur Avenue, 1898, 1899, 1908, 1900 Belmont Avenue, 2082, 2083, 2088, 2090 Mohegan Avenue, and 2095 Honeywell Avenue.
This major capital investment also received tremendous support from Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr.
“Maintaining affordability in communities experiencing rapid development, like the one I represent, is incredibly important to me,” he said, adding, “I strongly believe in responsible development that builds and preserves affordable housing for my community and this project does just that.”
This transaction was made in an effort to restore long-term affordability to the properties, which had seen its rent increase restrictions terminated by prior ownership according to officials involved in the project.
These mid-rises which were previously part of Section 8 assisted housing, were converted into deregulated buildings over time, losing 100 affordable units. Through this public-private partnership, those 100 lost units will be returned to rent regulation as well as the remainder of the portfolio for 40 more years.
“We’re thrilled to preserve hundreds of affordable housing units in West Farms, including many that had already left regulation,” said Rick Gropper, principal at Camber Property Group.
Gropper went on to commend the partnership, saying that these upgrades will have the units remain affordable for “decades to come.”
Per the terms of the new agreement, all of the portfolio’s units will be rented to individuals and families at varying affordability levels to foster a mixed-income community. The circumstances of the deal are unique for the city, as buildings scarcely return to rent regulation once they become deregulated, Camber officials said. Financing was provided by New York Community Bank.
“This is our prodigal project with so many needed homes returning to affordable protections,” said Louis A. Harrison, principal at Belveron Partners, calling the deal an ideal example of public and private partnerships.
The new owners will immediately embark on a $4 million capital improvement program to upgrade the buildings’ mechanical systems, roofs, common areas, and security and access control systems.
Prior ownership of the former project-based Section 8 buildings chose to forego a new affordability structure when the previous restrictions expired in 2010. The owner instead began to convert the units into free-market rate housing and subsequently sold the buildings to a second owner who continued to convert apartments once tenants vacated. Resulting in the lose of 100 market rate units throughout the portfolio.
HPD commissioner Maria Torres Springer explained how this type of preservation is the ‘cornerstone’ of the mayor’s housing plan, mentioning that the city is using every tool, leaving no stone unturned, in our effort to keep New Yorkers in their homes and communities.”
“We thank our partners at Camber and Belveron for working with us to bring these properties back into the fold as rent-regulated affordable housing, ensuring that hundreds of hardworking families get the improvements they need and the security of knowing that they’ll be able to stay in their homes for years to come,” she said.