NYC Breaks Ground on Sugar Hill Affordable Housing Development
By NYC.gov - JUL. 19, 2012
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua and project developer Broadway Housing Communities Executive Director/Founder Ellen Baxter celebrated the beginning of construction for the new Sugar Hill development located at 44 West 155th Street in the Sugar Hill District of West Harlem. Sugar Hill will bring 124 newly constructed units of affordable rental housing to the Hamilton Heights neighborhood, and create approximately 340 construction related jobs. The development will also provide the community with a new early childhood center for approximately 100 to 120 local preschool-aged children, and space for the privately funded Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling which will be geared towards children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The Sugar Hill development will transform an underutilized private site into a green model of urban community revitalization that integrates affordable housing, education and cultural resources to enrich the neighborhood.
“This exciting development will bring big benefits to this community: high-quality affordable housing; hundreds of local construction jobs; support for working families raising children; and a great cultural resource that will build on the grand traditions of the arts in Sugar Hill,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It moves us closer to achieving the most ambitious affordable housing plan undertaken by any city in the nation’s history.”
Sugar Hill is being developed as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). The NHMP is a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of Fiscal Year 2014. For every dollar invested by the City, the Plan has leveraged $3.41 in private funding for a total commitment of more than $19.4 billion to fund the creation or preservation of over 140,920 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs, with more than 47,553 units financed in Manhattan. The property is also a enrolled in the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program, administered by the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. The program helps land owners and developers clean contaminated properties for redevelopment and is a part of the Mayor’s long-term sustainability initiative, PlaNYC.
“Mayor Bloomberg's ambitious New Housing Marketplace Plan is revitalizing neighborhoods all across New York City,” Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel said. “The new development at Sugar Hill will bring new housing, private investment and jobs to West Harlem.”
“Sugar Hill has long epitomized the best of culture in Harlem,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “African-American writers, poets, artists, and musicians who lived here or identified with this neighborhood have shaped 20th and 21st Century American culture. We continue this tradition with this $80 million investment in this new affordable housing and cultural center that will be home to hundreds of low-income families, and who knows – maybe the next Adam Clayton Powell, or Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, or Duke Ellington. What we do know with absolute certainty is that housing like this strengthens communities and changes lives. Thank you all for your commitment to this project and for your determination to get these shovels in the ground. This Sugar Hill development has a lot of friends.”
“Sugar Hill is the culmination of Broadway Housing Communities’ 30-year commitment to create opportunities to strengthen individuals, children and families, and communities with access to affordable housing, early childhood education and cultural opportunities – three integral components of a sustainable and vibrant community,” said Ellen Baxter, Founder and Executive Director of Broadway Housing Communities.
“The redevelopment at Sugar Hill is a great example of the power that brownfield redevelopment can have in a community”, said NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation Director, Daniel Walsh. “The transformation of this site is exactly the type of revitalization that communities throughout NYC need. The Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation is pleased to have worked with Broadway Housing Communities on this project that renders this site safe for the community and the environment.”
When complete, Sugar Hill will be 13 stories with 124 affordable apartments, 25 of which will be reserved for formerly homeless families. Of the total apartments, 12 units will be set at 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) ($24,900 for a family of four), 50 units will be set at 50 percent AMI ($41,500 for a family of four), 37 units will be set at 60 percent AMI ($49,800 for a family of four) and 24 units will be set at 80 percent AMI ($66,400 for a family of four). One unit will be set aside for an onsite superintendent. In keeping with the City’s commitment to sustainable urban development, Sugar Hill will be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and will feature landscaped plazas, rooftop terraces and gardens. Construction is expected to be complete in the spring of 2014.
The development will include space for the privately funded Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling which has a unique mission of serving as an art museum for children from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, as well as youth and community members from the adjacent Education Center. The Museum will seek to introduce art to children through art studio spaces and storytelling activities. Plans call for approximately 17,600 square feet of flexible space with galleries showing the work of renowned artists in concert with artwork by children. This integration will help connect young museum goers to the value of their own artistic exploration. The Museum was recently named the nation’s highest-ranking recipient of 2012 ArtPlace grants, awarded to transform communities through strategic investment in the arts.
The Sugar Hill project will incorporate a licensed early childhood center to serve an estimated 100 to 120 local children, from infant through pre-school ages and their families. The center will be located on the ground level, providing easy access to The Children’s Museum to afford some sharing of space and facilities. The site will also include an additional 4,113 square feet of community facility space intended for use as non-profit office space and 15,696 square feet for underground parking.
“It is important that our children have a place to immerse themselves into the world of fine arts,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel. “I would like to congratulate the efforts of the Sugar Hill Project in providing an area for children to be surrounded with resources fostering their educational growth. I believe that the strength of our nation derives from the sincerity of the home, and I am confident that the virtuous efforts of Ellen Baxter and her team at Broadway Housing Communities will continue to provide quality and affordable housing to hundreds of families in the future."
“Finding safe, decent housing has always been a problem in Manhattan and throughout New York City, but finding safe and affordable housing can feel impossible,” said New York State Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr. “Just last week, a study was released that showed the median monthly rent in Manhattan is $3,125, up 8 percent from last year alone. These 124 affordable apartments are an important step in the right direction, and I am happy to see the progress being made here today.”
“Once completed, Broadway Housing Communities’ Sugar Hill Project will weave together the diverse fabric of the Harlem community,” said New York State Assembly Member Keith Wright. “While at the same time providing jobs for our residents, this well designed development will bring together affordable housing, educational resources and a museum which brings to life the living history of our city and our world. I cannot wait to see our kids laughing and learning at this destination residence.”
“Broadway Housing Communities helps restore hope by assisting those in need get back on their feet to work towards becoming stable and self-sufficient” said New York State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares. “The new undertaking of Broadway Housing will signify the restoration of the lives of 124 families and space where their children could learn who they are and where they are headed. The idea of creating an early childhood center and a children's museum in a residential building is totally awesome and a true model of community revitalization.”
Celebrated as a leading architect of his generation, David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates was selected by Broadway Housing to lead the design for the Sugar Hill development in concert with SLCE Architects, as the Architects of Record. Adjaye designed the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, and was selected to be the lead designer for the future National Museum of African American History and Culture on The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
“Sugar Hill is a symbol of regeneration for the communities of Washington Heights and Harlem,” said architect David Adjaye. “This is a real reinvention of the traditional model and I am thrilled to see the project break ground.”
“Today’s groundbreaking symbolizes yet again, Broadway Housing Communities’ continued efforts to improve our society and culture in Northern Manhattan,” said New York City Council Member Robert Jackson. “This ‘sugar cube building’ is a sweet deal for families in the Sugar Hill Community. The Sugar Hill Project is a vibrant addition to one of the City’s most architecturally historical neighborhood. It gives without taking away. We will have true affordable housing, Northern Manhattan’s first Children’s Museum and an education center that will help shape many future generations, while enhancing the quality of life in the Sugar Hill community.”
“The members of Community Board 9 believe that the Sugar Hill development will be a beacon guiding our children, supporting families and enhancing our community as we sail into a future of prosperity in spirit, health and mind," said the Rev. Georgette Morgan-Thomas, Chair of CB9.
A combined $80 million in government, private equity and philanthropic funding was secured for the project. For the residential portion, HPD provided nearly $10 million in federal HOME funds. HPD also made a $2.9 million allocation of 9% tax credits which will be syndicated by Richman Capital Resources, generating $29.7 million in tax credit equity. Capital One Bank is the investor in both the LIHTC and New Market Tax Credits, and is providing a construction loan of nearly $25 million. $4.2 million in permanent financing is being provided by the Low Income Investment Fund/SONYMA. The project is also receiving $3 million from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP). City Council Member Robert Jackson sponsored $2 million in Reso A funds with another $1 million sponsored by the City Council’s Manhattan Delegation. The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of New York is providing $1.9 million with another $1 million from the FHLB of Atlanta.
Additional funds include $3.4 million from Broadway Housing Development Fund Company, $3 million in developer equity and $6.8 million in philanthropic funds. The $6.8 million in philanthropic funds are part of approximately $14 million in philanthropic funding that Broadway Housing Communities obtained for project. This funding is comprised of $10 million from the Sirus Fund, $2 million from NY Community Trust and $2 million from the Oak Foundation.
The non-residential portions of the project are being funded by the remaining $7.1 million in philanthropic funding and $6.6 million in New Market Tax Credit equity. Pre-development costs were funded by Deutsche Bank’s Share IV Program, the Mulford Foundation, and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
“We are thrilled to serve as the lead bank for a development that will enrich the Sugar Hill neighborhood with new, affordable housing and facilities that will foster education, cultural arts and community development,” said James Covington, Manhattan Market President, Capital One Bank. “At Capital One Bank, we believe investing in affordable housing is about more than financing new construction. It’s about investing in economic opportunities for individuals, families and communities. As such, we’re proud to provide over $36 million in financing through loans and investments in tax credits, including New Markets Tax Credits, to support the Sugar Hill community.”
“Sugar Hill has all the tools low-income families need to create real futures for themselves,” said William Traylor of Richman Capital Resources.
“My interest in bettering the prospects for NYC’s children and families in poverty guides my philanthropic priorities, and Broadway Housing Communities’ track record of success and high quality program standards attracted my support,” said Susan U. Halpern, President of the Sirus Fund, the leading private benefactor of the Sugar Hill development. “I look forward to the stories of the hundreds of children and families who will be moving into the new apartments, nurtured in the early childhood center, and the thousands who will engage with the cultural arts at this special museum.”
The City of New York requires that subsidized apartments be rented through an Open Lottery System to ensure fair and equitable distribution of housing to eligible applicants. Marketing of the apartments and the application process for the lottery typically begin when construction is approximately 70 percent complete. The application process for Sugar Hill is currently not open as construction has yet to start. For more information regarding the lottery process, current housing lotteries, how to apply to an open lottery, and if you would like to receive an e-mail when HPD has updated its website concerning available apartment and home listings for City-subsidized housing in the five boroughs, please visit the Apartment Seekers and Homebuyers pages at www.nyc.gov.