Soundview to receive 16-story affordable senior housing

Soundview to receive 16-story affordable senior housing
An artist rendering of Casa Celina.
Photo courtesy of Poliedro Estudio

Soundview has been awarded a large scale, entirely affordable senior housing development on the corner of Watson and Thieriot avenues.

Adjacent to the 28, 7-story buildings that comprise the NYC Housing Authority’s Sotomayor Houses, this affordable development will be called Casa Celina, after the Supreme Court Justice’s mother, Celina Baez.

The new, 16-story building will create exactly 200 senior housing units comprised of strictly one-bedroom and studios.

Amenities will include an exercise and fitness room, laundry room, lounge areas throughout the building, a ground floor community space, and a landscaped rooftop terrace.

Approximately 3,350 square feet of community space will be accessible to NYCHA residents and the surrounding community.

The development will also provide on-site social support, health services and cultural programming for seniors and the community.

Casa Celina was done through a collaborative process between NYCHA, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development in addition to Xenolith Partners, The Kretchmer Companies, ELH Mgmt., and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging from the private sector.

It was built with an orientation of the site and building that provides an opportunity for energy generation through a large solar array, developers said.

Angled recesses of the windows and articulation of its white façade were then added to shade opposite facing units to mitigate heat gain.

The building includes sustainability and resiliency measures intended to achieve environmental accolades as well.

It was designed within the guidelines of an urban acupuncture theme, according to Fernando Villa, principal of Magnusson Architect and Planning.

“There was an idea that this one point, this building, could radiate benefits throughout the neighborhood in the form of services and community programming, neighborhood investment, and architectural innovation, or more everyday impacts like improvements in open space and street illumination,” he said.

Overall, that design is an evolution of the public housing typology, one that creates a much stronger relationship to the neighborhood particularly through the ground floor plan, along with large windows and doors developers said. The fully-glazed, double-height spaces will provide views through to the side garden and playground; and will ensure visual connections to all other parts of the community as well.

The stairs are also given prominent placement in high traffic areas and will have clear way-finding, with glass panels so that residents see ample light rather than a dark or closed-off area.

As an additional enticement to walk up and down, the lounges are located next to the stairs throughout the building, creating a vertical network of social spaces, which Villa and his team believe will prevent isolation of residents.

Current NYCHA residents will have a preference for roughly a quarter of the new affordable apartments, according to HPD.

“We are also excited this effort will focus on supporting the community, where our social service partners will offer on-site social, health and wellness, and cultural and art programming for residents and NYCHA families,” NYCHA interim chair Kathryn Garcia said.

A date for the beginning of construction has not been confirmed as of press time.

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