Local church, developers collab for project

A collaboration between a local church and two developers will result in a new development for the west Bronx.

Thessalonia Baptist Church, Urban Builders Collaborative and CMC Development LLC have joined forces to construct a new development on a vacant property located at 960 Prospect Avenue, also known as 961 Reverend James A. Polite Avenue.

The new housing project, which will consist of one building with two wings (one on Prospect and one on Reverend James A. Polite avenues), will create 120 to 130 affordable and market rate housing units.

One wing of the building will top out at eight stories while the other wing will reach seven floors. In total, the building will offer from anywhere between 130,000 and 160,000 square feet of residential space.

All units, which will range from studios to three-bedroom apartments, will be built for individuals or families with a combined annual income of up to 60% area median income.

This development follows the guidelines of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s initiative to create and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units in ten years.

The development plans include parking for future residents, as well as members of the Thessalonia Baptist Church, located at 941 Reverend James A. Polite Avenue.

“We are very excited to work with the church on this project – it’s an exciting opportunity,” said Matthew Gross, director of Real Estate Development at Urban Builders Collaborative. “This project will help provide more financing for the church while we utilize the church’s land and make sure it is properly developed for the community.”

According to Urban Builders Collaborative, the real estate development arm of Lettire Construction Corporation, the project will take approximately 24 months to completed, sometime in 2018. Construction financing for the project was closed in June.

“This is an opportunity to better utilize a property while creating long financial stability for all of the parties involved,” said Shaun Belle, principal of CMC Development. “There is a lot of opportunity here, but the project model must be viable and it must be a win-win-win for the developers, the church, and most importantly, for the community as a whole.”

Belle added that CMC Development, along with Urban Builders Collaborative, has plans to collaborate with two other churches in the Bronx, two churches in Brooklyn and one on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in similar projects.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.

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