Morris Heights, West Farms Section 8 buildings bought by Camber for more than $25M each

Camber has acquired two Section 8 buildings, including Trinity Apartments at 2105 Daly Ave. in West Farms, pictured.
Photos courtesy Camber Property Group

Camber Property Group recently bought two affordable housing buildings in the Bronx with price tags above $25 million each.

Property records show the development company bought Morris Heights Mews, a three-building complex at 1695 Grand Ave., for $26.5 million on Jan. 6. The acquisition came shortly after Camber also purchased the 76-unit Trinity Apartments at 2105 Daly Ave. in West Farms for $25.4 million. A spokesperson for the company said other costs associated with the closing brought the price tags $2.5 million higher for Morris Heights Mews and $2 million more for Trinity Apartments.

“These closings will preserve affordability for dozens of Bronx families for decades to come, and we look forward to working with our residents to build community and foster strong working relationships between them and management,” said Rick Gropper, one of two principals at Camber.

Both sites fully consist of project-based Section 8 housing, with eligible tenants paying 30% of their income toward rent.

A new 20-year Section 8 contract was signed at the closing for the 111-unit Morris Heights Mews, according to Camber, and a company spokesperson confirmed a contract is in place for Trinity Apartments but did not say for how long.

Camber plans to spend about $3 million on improvements to Morris Heights Mews, including energy efficiency, upgrades to the facade and roof, repairs to building systems — including the elevator and boiler — and repairs to individual units.

Morris Heights Mews has been acquired by Camber Property Group. Photo courtesy Camber Property Group

The company also plans to implement energy efficiency and common area improvements at Trinity Apartments.

The Morris Heights property was sold by Stephen Whyte, the president of affordable housing company Vitus Group, through entities associated with the company, according to property records.

Trinity Apartments came from K & R Preservation’s portfolio, with Brian Raddock representing the affordable housing preservation firm through a not-for-profit corporation in the West Farms sale, per property records.

Camber did not answer questions about who sold them the properties or what may have inspired the sale.

The deeds for both properties show Fazeela Siddiqui, deputy general counsel for the affordable housing development nonprofit Settlement Housing Fund signing as a buyer alongside Camber’s Rick Gropper. However, Camber only mentioned the Community Preservation Corp. (CPC), a nonprofit finance company, as a buying partner — specifically for Morris Heights Mews — and a company spokesperson did not answer questions about the Settlement Housing Fund’s involvement.

The Settlement Housing Fund confirmed that Camber is utilizing its housing development fund corporation ownership program, which allows developers to benefit from governmental funding and obtain tax exemptions.

Trinity Apartments is now owned by Camber Property Group. Photo courtesy Camber Property Group

According to Camber, the company financed the two sales with loans totaling $36.8 from Freddie Mac — a program run by CPC — and $19.6 million of private equity capital. Camber declined to elaborate on where the private equity capital was from.

“At the core of our investment strategy is the belief that when you invest in a building, you’re investing in the future of the people who live there and in the stability of their community,” said Tell Metzger, CPC’s senior vice president of equity investments.

Camber builds and preserves affordable and mixed-income housing developments in NYC and across the Bronx, with buildings like Highbridge House, Tremont Residences and Carol Gardens in its portfolio.

The firm is part of the three-company consortium that purchased Twin Parks North West in 2019, the site of the deadly fire that took the lives of 17 people in early January 2022. The fire started with a space heater and spread rapidly because of defective self-closing doors.

The Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC ownership consortium, which also consists of Belveron Partners and the LIHC Investment Group, has spent more than $4 million assisting residents impacted by the fire and renovating the building.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes