Press Releases

City and State Officials Join The Rockower Corporation, M. Melnick & Co. and Partners to Break Ground on 810 River Avenue in The Bronx

The mixed-income, mixed-use 810 River Avenue development will be the first project to take advantage of the 2009 New York City Department of City Planning 161st Street/River Avenue Rezoning

Bronx, New York – The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), join Rockower Corp., M. Melnick & Co., Inc. and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking for 810 River Avenue, the first project to benefit from the 161 Street / River Avenue Rezoning. A green, mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development, 810 River Avenue will include 134 units of affordable housing for very low-, low-, and middle-income households. The project will also include approximately 26,000 square-feet of commercial and community facility space and a 61-space garage. The 20,000 square-foot development site is located at 810 River Avenue between 157th & 158th Street in the Bronx, and will help spur residential and commercial development in the area.

The 810 River Avenue development is financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five- Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the City’s history and largest municipal housing plan in the nation, its goal is to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing for very low- and middle income families to help address New York City’s affordability crisis.

“810 River Avenue demonstrates how a rezoning can be a catalyst for mixed-use, mixed-income residential development in transit-rich neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “In order to meet our affordable housing goals, we need to be creative about repurposing underutilized sites and achieving greater density that preserves the neighborhood context. This project not only reclaims a brownfield site, it provides an example of how to develop high-quality, residential housing adjoining an elevated train line. It also contributes to the further revitalization of the South Bronx, locking in affordability and serving as an anchor for future development. I would like to thank our sister agency HDC, the project developers, Rockower Corporation and M. Melnick & Co., Hudson Housing Capital and Capital One Bank, and other project partners for their vision and hard work.”

“In Housing New York, the city commits to reaching a much broader range of New Yorkers and fostering the economic diversity that is the hallmark of a great city,” said Gary Rodney, President of HDC. “810 River Avenue is an example of how rezoning can help transform neighborhoods and spur mixed-income, mixed-use development. This project is providing not just 134 units of affordable housing, but high- quality, energy efficient homes for New Yorkers at a range of income levels, from very low-income families to those middle income families who increasingly struggle to make ends meet. On behalf of HDC, I would like to thank all of our remarkable partners for their commitment to making this project a success.”

“This new development, 810 River Avenue Apartments, will provide high quality, affordable housing opportunities to New Yorkers most in need of them, within easy reach of neighborhood shopping options, mass transit, Gateway Mall and the borough’s civic center,” said HCR Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s affordable housing initiatives, and the great partners we work with, the future residents of this building will have housing that they can afford in a community made more vibrant by their presence.”

“We are very glad to collaborate with the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito, Council Member Arroyo, the City, New York State, and the NYC Housing Partnership, in creating a vibrant, green, mixed-use, mixed-income transit-oriented development on the doorstep of the Civic Center and the 161st Street transit,” said Aaron Segal, Secretary-Treasurer of Rockower Corp. “This neighborhood has so much to offer to our tenants: shopping, trains, buses, subways, a playground, a skate park, Heritage Field, and even a juice bar, a green market and a bakery.”

“We thank the City for the opportunity to build a quality project,” said Adam Melnick, Vice-President of M. Melnick & Co., Inc. “This project will serve the neighborhood, Community Board 4, the Bronx and the City on the whole.”

The project site was formerly occupied by a bowling alley that operated for roughly 50 years. It was rezoned as part of the 161st Street/River Avenue rezoning proposed by the New York Department of City Planning (DCP) and adopted in September 2009. River Avenue was identified as a major transit corridor and rezoned from a manufacturing zone to a mixed-use zone in order to encourage high density commercial and residential growth in this underdeveloped, prime, transit-oriented location. 810 River Avenue will be the first new development made possible by this rezoning.

"Every family in this city deserves a roof over their heads at a fair, affordable cost," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The Council has been fighting hard to preserve and increase the affordable housing stock in all five boroughs. I'm excited for this new development which will revitalize the area while protecting affordable housing, making it possible for low and working class families to continue to afford to live in this city. I want to thank the administration, HPD and our partners in government for their continued efforts in developing more protection for affordable housing."

"Creating affordable housing with commercial and community space is very important to me, and it is a part of the transformative vision I have for The Bronx. This project will offer energy efficient amenities that will help tenants save money while also building a greener borough. Projects like 810 River Avenue are steps in the right direction towards greener and better life style for all Bronxites, and that's why I was proud to provide $1 million in my own capital funding to this effort," said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"We are encouraged by the continued renaissance in our Community District and wholeheartedly support and welcome the development proposed by Rockower Corp. We believe that they made the right decision by taking advantage of the 161st Street rezoning to build 810 River Avenue, a development project that will be a game changer and a real investment in this community. This neighborhood is more than just the court system and stadium -- it's a community that is thriving with a transit rich corridor," said Jose Rodriguez, District Manager of Community Board #4. "810 River Avenue will be the exemplar of the type of investment that will spur growth and development, transforming the area as we hoped with the adoption of the zoning resolution in 2009. Rockower Corp. understands and sees the potential along the 161st Street corridor and with this transformative project the best is yet to come. For that we thank them for believing in the Bronx and this wonderful community that we call the 'Capital District.'"

The site was designated as a ‘brownfield’ location due to lead soil contaminants and underwent extensive remediation prior to start of construction on the development. The remediation was completed in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The 17-story steel and plank tower designed by SLCE Architects will have extensive insulation, high performance windows, Energy Star dishwashers, multiple laundry rooms, and wood floors. It will include a gym, a media lounge, a community room, two outdoor spaces, windowed stairwells to encourage physical activity, and 67 bicycle spaces. Additional green features include a hybrid heat pump system, integrated motion sensor lighting, alternative lighting fixtures, and roof plantings. Reclaimed wood from the former bowling alley on site was donated to a non-profit for reuse.

A mixed-income rental building, 810 River Avenue will provide 134 apartments, including thirty-one generously sized three-bedrooms that are affordable to New Yorkers at a range of incomes, from very low-income households to middle-income households. Twenty-two units are planned to be affordable to households earning an annual income as low as $21,756 and up to $23,520 for an individual, or between $27,972 and $30,240 for a household of three. Fifty-eight units are planned to be affordable to households earning an annual income as low as $33,516 and up to $35,280 for an individual, or between $43,092 and $45,360 for a household of three. Twenty-six units are planned to be affordable to households earning an annual income within a range of $47,000 up to $52,920 for an individual, or $60,700 up to $68,040 for a household of three. The remaining 27 units in this 134 unit development are

planned to be affordable to households earning an annual income within a range of $58,800 up to $76,440 for an individual, or $75,600 up to $98,280 for a household of three. In addition, there is a two- bedroom unit for a superintendent who will live on-site. The above incomes reflect the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2014 area median income calculations.

Over 26,000 square feet of commercial and community facility space, on the first and second floors, will help shape a retail corridor extending south from 161st Street and Yankee Stadium toward the Terminal Market Mall. While only required to have 16 parking spaces, the project will include 61 parking spaces in an attended parking garage, of which 31 spaces will be reserved for tenant use.

"As a pioneering mixed-income project targeting tenants earning between 40% and 100% of the area median income, this project was a little ahead of its time when it was conceived. Working in partnership with Capital One Bank, we are happy to have played a role in funding this grand vision," said Sam Ganeshan, Managing Director, Hudson Housing Capital.

“Capital One Bank is proud to be involved with the great partners developing 810 River. This is a tremendous opportunity to invest in the Bronx by providing high quality affordable living, commercial and community spaces, and creating additional jobs here,” said Fabian Ramirez, Senior Vice President, Community Finance, Capital One Bank. “We believe investing in affordable housing is about more than financing renovation or new construction. It’s about investing in economic opportunities for individuals, families and communities.”

The total development cost of 810 River Avenue is $57.8 million. The project has been financed with a $28.4 million volume cap allocation of tax-exempt, fixed rate bonds from HDC. It received a construction period credit enhancement with a stand-by letter of credit from Capital One. HDC also provided a permanent loan of $12.48 million with a REMIC permanent credit enhancement and a $10.05 million subordinate loan. HPD contributed $8.8 million in City Capital and $1.25 million in 421a-Funds. The project also received Reso A funds from the Bronx Borough President’s Office and Council Member Carmen Arroyo’s office in the combined amount of $2 million. HCR provided State Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that resulted in $5.1 million in tax credit equity. Hudson Housing will act as the tax credit syndicator. Additional financing includes a $213,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant as part of the participation in NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program.

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