Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua and President of Gotham Organization David L. Picket broke ground today on the largest new construction project in Manhattan under the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The project received significant state support of $520 million in bond financing and Low Income Housing Tax Credits through New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The 550 West 45th Street project, which encompasses nearly the entire city block on Manhattan’s Far West Side between West 44th & West 45th Streets and 10th & 11th Avenues, will create 1,238 new apartments with 600 of those units expected to be permanently affordable to low, moderate and middle-income New Yorkers.
The residential portion of the project, which is slated to be completed in 2014, will also include approximately 15,000 square feet of new retail space, 17,000 square feet of open landscaped space and a below-ground parking facility for residents. It is estimated that the construction of the 550 West 45th Street development will facilitate the creation of approximately 2,900 construction and related jobs. The overall plan for the project will also include a new elementary school to replace PS 51, which currently sits on the site. Mayor Bloomberg was also joined at the announcement, which took place at the development site, by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York State Homes and Community Renewal Chief Operating Officer Michael Skrebutenas and Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera.
“We’ve always believed that the Far West Side of Manhattan has tremendous potential for providing what our growing city needs: more jobs for New Yorkers, and more affordable housing for them to live in,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “In the near future, this development will provide homes for some 2,500 New Yorkers, but in the meantime it will grow our economy by creating 2,900 construction-related jobs.”
550 West 45th Street is the largest affordable new construction housing development project in Manhattan to be created under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. The plan, launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2003, is a multibillion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the plan has funded the creation or preservation of more than 125,700 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. More than 43,200 units have been financed in Manhattan with more than 6,860 units in Community Board 4 where the 550 West 45th Street site is located.
“This is an absolute West Side success story,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “In 1975, the City condemned most of this square block, and now, some 30 years later, this land is coming to life. I’m delighted that the district I represent will be home to one of the largest residential developments to be built in Manhattan in years. Today, we’re proving that it’s not impossible to create affordable housing in New York City despite the state of the economy, and I’m very optimistic that this groundbreaking will spark a domino effect, attracting new tenants to this site and to our city.”
“Jobs. Affordable Housing. Community Development. This project hits the trifecta,” New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said. “Governor Cuomo is proud to support a project that will create jobs and maximize affordability. In Manhattan, where such real estate is scarce, this project will invigorate an entire underused square block of the city with a sustainable community, complete with a new elementary school, 682 units of affordable housing, and 15,000 square feet of retail space.”
“The groundbreaking for this development is the latest sign that the Far West Side will soon be Manhattan’s next great neighborhood,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “This project is also the latest evidence of the jobs, investment and community development impact that Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan is having in neighborhoods in all five boroughs.”
“The prospect of developing nearly an entire city block in one of the Manhattan’s fastest growing neighborhoods is exceptional. That we are using it to create more than 600 new, affordable homes for hardworking New Yorkers representing a diversity of incomes makes this even more extraordinary,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “Anywhere else, 1,200 total units of housing, thousands of jobs, a school, green space and new retail space could be considered a separate downtown, a new neighborhood, or a suburb. In a city the size of New York, we may forget what a herculean undertaking this is, but we should be in awe of what the scope and scale of the long-term gains will mean to the stability, growth, and economic health of this community and the people who will call it home.”
“Through an innovative partnership with the City of New York, Gotham Organization is proud to take the lead on a development that will change the face of Midtown West,” said Gotham Organization’s president, David L. Picket. “This bold investment in our City’s future will create hundreds of new jobs, generate millions of dollars in revenue for the construction industry, contribute towards the building of a new primary school, and provide homes to thousands of New Yorkers.”
The residential portion of the project will be comprised of three separate buildings. Building A will be a 31-story tower with 698 total units with 141 affordable units (60 units being permanently affordable) and will contain the retail space at the ground floor level. Building B will be a 14-story building with 297 permanently affordable units. Building C will be a 14-story building with north and south segments located over the Amtrak train tracks with a combined 243 permanently affordable units. Throughout all three buildings there will be 476 studio units, 419 one-bedroom units, 262 two-bedroom units and 81 three-bedroom units. The combined 600 permanently affordable units will be targeted to families with household incomes at ranges between 40 percent and 165 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or the equivalent of $32,720 to $134,970 for a family of four. The design by architect Schuman Lichtenstein Claman and Efron (SLCE) respects the scale of Clinton’s streetscapes by organizing the buildings into segments, each with a distinct exterior.
The residential development will be financed with $520 million primarily tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency , a subsidiary agency of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. These bonds are credit enhanced by a syndicate of lenders led by Wells Fargo Bank. The project also leverages $35.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
“Wells Fargo stepped up to lead this financing early-on due to our commitment to the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan and the development’s solid fundamentals,” said Alan Wiener, Group Head, Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital. “We also like to back developers, like Gotham, who have strong track-records and the known ability to deliver on large scale developments.”
A Gotham affiliate, in connection with the nonprofit Housing Partnership, purchased the land for this development from the City of New York. As part of the deal’s structure, Gotham will contribute $20 million to affordable housing needs elsewhere in the city, and $15 million split between the City’s General Fund and funding to aid in the construction of the new PS 51 elementary school. The new PS 51 will have approximately 630 seats and will replace the old PS 51 which currently has 276 seats. Construction has already begun and is being overseen by the City’s School Construction Authority.