More affordable housing for south Bronx

More affordable housing is coming to the south Bronx, but not everyone is pleased.

As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s $8.4 billion campaign to create and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing throughout the five boroughs, the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development and the Housing Development Corporation announced that funding to preserve or build 14,767 units of affordable housing had been secured during fiscal year 2010.

More than 3,000 of these housing units will be located in the Bronx.

The two major construction projects set to begin: a two-building complex called Sedgcliff Apartments, which will be located on Sedgwick and Undercliff avenues, and an unnamed project at 1800 Southern Boulevard.

The Sedgwick complex is a more than $33 million project and will include one nine-story and one eight-story building, with elevators, that will have 128 units total, 26 of which will be reserved for the formerly homeless.

City officials said all of the units will be affordable for families making less than 60 percent of the area median income, which is about $47,500 for a family of four.

Construction for the project began in June and city officials expect the complex to be built and ready for tenants by November 2012.

The $22 million earmrked to construct a seven-story, 64-unit building on Southern Boulevard in Crotona Park East is also underway.

The project was developed thorough a partnership with the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and Exact Capital Management LLC. The apartments will also be available for families making less than 60 percent of the area median income.

According to HPD Commissioner Rafael Cestero, the housing will help shelter low-income families while providing steady jobs for city residents.

However, for Xavier Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 5, which covers the Sedgwick complex, the additional housing will likely add to the area’s ongoing problem of overcrowding.

“There is some concern that this is not the right place for this project,” he said. The area already has at least five 20-story buildings, he said, adding that the Sedgwick property is one of the main parking places in the area.

He said CB 5 did not take action on the apartment complex proposal when it was before them because they had not seen the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review document), or the Uniform Land Use Procedure document relevant to the project.

“While the city has a mandate, the community board has a responsibility to make sure that as we’re replacing housing, we don’t create more hardships for existing residents,” he said.

Rodriguez added that there isn’t much the community board can do at this point. “The jury is out on this project.”

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