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Sydney House fills need for affordable housing

(l-r) Councilman King; Donald Matheson, Almat Group co-founder; Karen Haycox, Habitat for Humanity New York CEO and Uche Alozie, Almat Group co-founder. Councilman King presented a $2.8 million check to Habitat for Humanity and Almat Group for Sydney House.
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A $30 million affordable housing project, Sydney House, was kicked off with a ceremony at the site, 839 Tilden Street in Williamsbridge, on Thursday, September 7.

Councilman Andy King presented a check contributing $2.8 million to the project from his capital budget to Habitat for Humanity New York City and Almat Group to set into motion plans for a 57-unit residential building at the corner of Tilden Street and Bronxwood Avenue.

Sydney House will be the largest single structure ever built by a Habitat for Humanity affiliate, consisting of 26 one-bedroom units, 25 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units for low- to moderate-income families, according to King.

“I’m here to announce the construction at this site of affordable housing for working families in the north Bronx,” King said at the ceremony. “There is simply not enough affordable housing for working families throughout the city of New York.”

King said he received complaints from families and residents in the district that there just isn’t enough affordable housing for their children if they decide they want to move out of the house and have their own apartment as opposed to the little room they grew up in.

“Part of my 12th District plan when I got elected to the City Council is making sure that home ownership maintains itself in the neighborhood, and making sure it’s a priority,” King said. “I’m proud today that we’re creating this opportunity for many of our children — our next generation — or any resident who wants to make the 12th District their home.”

King said he was “honored today to offer $2.8 million which I allocated in this year’s budget to make sure our families in the North Bronx have this opportunity.”

Sharing the spotlight with King was Karen Haycox, CEO, Habitat for Humanity New York City, who praised the joint efforts of King, Habitat and Almat.

Additional funding for the project comes from Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the NY State Affordable Housing Corporation, and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The derelict structures on the parcel will be razed in early 2018, and construction is expected to take about 18 months, with a completion in the fall of 2019, according to Haycox.

Haycox invited anybody interested in residing at Sydney House to visit the website habitatnyc.org and “start the wheels rolling if you’re interested in home ownership in the Bronx.”

Uche Alozie, a principal and co-founder, Almat Group, a real estate development company, said “this is our first foray into affordable housing and we’ve learned a lot.”

Donald Matheson, also a principal and co-founder, Almat Group, added, “we’re very excited to bring this project to the Bronx. We’re happy that we can add to the fabric of the neighborhood, and maintain ownership within the neighborhood of the Bronx.”

Shaun Davoren, who wants to move back to his old neighborhood but could not find affordable housing, had moved elsewhere in the Bronx.

“But being home, there’s something special about that, something warm something that I cannot describe with all the words I have in my head right now,” Davoren said. “I would like to thank the councilman, and all his partners here, as well as the Habitat for Humanity for bringing this opportunity to this neighborho­od.”

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at bguiliano@cnglocal.com.
Updated 9:38 am, September 20, 2017
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