W. Tremont senior housing rising

The design for the new 60-unit site.

City officials have begun transforming a once-blighted patch of West Tremont land into a low-income senior housing complex.

Construction is underway on the West Tremont Senior Residences at 92 West Tremont Ave. for a six-story building that will house seniors aged 55 and over in 60 single apartments.

Reviving empty pit

The new home is being built on land once labeled a “Brownfield” site because of damage done to the site’s soil by a dry cleaning factory that used the land from 1948 to at least 1979, according to city records.

For the last few decades, the site has been an empty pit filled mostly with overgrown grass. But a team of public and private organizations combined to strike a deal to revitalize the lot and construct the $17.4 million home.

The plan calls for $13.7 million in low income tax credits from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), $1.7 million from the Housing Trust Fund as well as environmental subsidies for the soil cleanup and loans from private banks such as Capital One.

Seniors need help

The senior housing will be gladly welcomed in West Tremont, where many older residents have been priced out, said Xavier Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 5.

Seniors have complained to him about being forced out of former Mitchell-Lama housing, a low-income housing program started in 1955. Many property owners opted out of the Mitchell-Lama program during the last recession, leaving seniors vulnerable.

The project’s developer, Acacia Network, had at first wanted to put another type of low-income housing on the city-owned land, Rodriguez said. But after listening to community outcry, the plan became centered on netting seniors housing they can afford.

Costs of living

Apartments are split into three price ranges, based upon the area’s average median income, as computed by the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Twelve units are available to those earning no more than $18,060 per year. 30 apartments are up for grabs for residents making no more than $30,100. The other 18 units will have an annual income cap of $36,120.

Residents will have access to a rec room, lounge area and terrace. Plans also call for a landscaped backyard.

There aren’t medical facilities on the premises, but residents will get preferred access to long-term healthcare services through Acacia Network providers and a partnership with CenterLight.

The new housing complex is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. To date, the plan has funded more than 156,769 units across the five boroughs, with nearly 49,370 units in the Bronx.

Ben Kochman can be reach via e-mail at BKochman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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