Electric-powered affordable housing coming to Mott Haven

A rendering of the forthcoming Powerhouse Apartments, a fully electric building to be constructed at 351 Powers Avenue in Mott Haven.
Photo courtesy STAT Architecture

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) on Feb. 16 announced “electrifying” new plans for a city-owned parking lot between East 141st and 143rd streets near St. Mary’s Park. 

351 Powers Ave. in Mott Haven will become the Powerhouse Apartments — named not only for its street address but because it will be a completely electric-powered building, furthering the city’s carbon neutrality goals.

In addition to creating “deeply affordable” housing, the mission of the project “helps reverse environmental injustices and moves the city closer to carbon neutrality healthier neighborhoods for generations to come,” HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión, Jr. said in a statement.

“High-quality, electric-powered affordable housing is the future our city needs and what this project aims to provide,” said City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, whose district includes Mott Haven.

The Powerhouse Apartments will be specially constructed to repel heat, using heat pumps, light-colored materials, solar panels, green roofs, recessed angled windows to deflect heat,and more.

In addition to housing, the building will have a 150-seat theater on the ground floor for hosting performances and workshops in film, theater, music and dance, in cooperation with an unnamed nonprofit organization. 

The building will also house a fitness center, two community rooms and a large outdoor green space, plus a 3,000-square-foot “workforce development space” that will offer programming for young people to learn construction and landscaping trades. 

According to HPD, the ground-floor uses will help increase safety in the neighborhood by illuminating walkways and providing extra sets of eyes from building security and cameras. 

The vacant lot as it appears now. Photo courtesy HPD

The project was designed by STAT Architecture, based in New York City. According to HPD, the building will have about 90 apartments covering a range of income levels, from “extremely low-income” to those making about 80% of the area median income. This calculates to $101,680 for a family of three.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Powers Avenue site was announced back in August 2022 and has factored in community suggestions before the Powerhouse project was selected. 

According to the Community Visioning Report, 177 people responded to surveys and indicated that major priorities were rental housing for extremely low-income families, increasing lighting and safety in the area and including services or programs for the community. 

According to an HPD spokesperson, the project will now move through the public approvals process before going to financing and construction.

With the city’s apartment vacancy rate at only 1.4 percent, the rush to build more housing is on. Another unused site in Crotona Park East on Stebbins Avenue recently put out a call for RFPs as the city moves quickly to identify and gather input for how to build housing on city land. 

Both projects are part of the “24 in 24” initiative, which aims to provide 12,000 units of affordable housing on 24 vacant city-owned sites throughout the year. 

More information on the Powerhouse Apartments project is available on the HPD website.

Reach Emily Swanson at eswanson@schnepsmedia.com or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes