New affordable housing complex surpasses the norm

New affordable housing complex surpasses the norm
Photo courtesy of Albert Vecerka

Who says affordable housing can’t look unaffordable?

On Wednesday, November 18, architectural and urban design firm RKTB proudly announced that an affordable housing project of theirs is now 100% occupied.

East Clarke Place Court, a two-building complex, one 11-story building offering 73 units located on 12 E. Clarke Place and one 13-story building featuring 33 units on 27 E. 169th Street, has vastly improved the lifestyle of its residents and the neighborhood, greatly exceeding the standards of living that typical NYC affordable housing has to offer.

The complex located just north of Yankee stadium, which broke ground in February 2012 and opened in October 2014, includes an outdoor courtyard – a rare asset for affordable housing, along with distinctive architecture, high-quality finishes and even energy-saving features, which will benefit the growth of the complex and the community.

Each building also provides a laundry room, a parking garage and even offers a recreation room for tenants and a rental community facility. The outdoor space provides a clean, protected and safe environment for the residents.

“It’s important that people take pride in their neighborhood, which was one of the main reasons behind this project being built,” said Carmi Bee, design partner of RKTB.

“With this new building complex, we intended to spread that awareness by creating a residential area that people could take pride in, as we also hope to contribute to an economic transformation of the Bronx and the way affordable housing is built.”

With a collaborated effort from architectural and urban design firm RKTB and land developer YTM Ltd, and sponsorship from the NYC Housing Preservation and Development, this two-building complex was one of the first projects to meet the criteria of the Enterprise Green Communities program, which creates cost-effective, sustainable architecture for low-income families.

When YTM Ltd first purchased the development site, the goal was to bring as much affordable housing as possible to the south Bronx, while creating a project that could be well integrated into the neighborhood.

“The atmosphere of the site is far different than typical affordable housing, which is usually access limited, with not a lot to offer ,” said Peter Bafitis, managing partner of RKTB.

”This building complex is meant to be shared by residents of both buildings, creating a shared sense of community, contrary to typical affordable housing.”

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgood‌stein‌@cngl‌