An unregulated Mount Eden building will be the first nonprofit-acquired property to have its affordability maintained through the de Blasio administration’s Neighborhood Pillars Program.
The Bronx property, at 1415-1417 Wythe Place, was acquired by affordable housing developer Settlement Housing Fund with plans to pursue upgrades for the building and maintain affordable rents for all 58 apartments. The project is one of the first in the city’s Neighborhood Pillars Program pipeline—an effort run by the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD)—that provides low-interest loans and tax exemptions to nonprofit and for-profit developers to purchase and maintain a property’s affordability.
“In the midst of an affordability crisis, preservation is one of the most effective tools we have to assure families that they can continue to afford living in their homes and communities,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll in a statement. “The Neighborhood Pillars Program relies on dedicated non-profit and mission-based organizations with deep community ties to protect affordability and fortify the city’s existing housing stock.”
The Wythe Place building, a five-story walk-up building that was erected in the 1920s, is the first non-profit acquisition through the Neighborhood Pillars Downpayment Assistance Fund. Planned renovation work will likely include upgrades to the building’s electrical systems, a new roof, and repairs to the floors and facade. Settlement Housing aims to secure a loan to perform the upgrades by the end of the year.
The pillars program launched in December 2018 and is intended, in part, as an answer to the rampant housing speculation across the city. To date, HPD has oversee the acquisition of five projects intended for the program. All told, the acquisitions represent ten buildings with 339 apartments, each with an average rehabilitation investment need of approximately $44,000 per a unit, according to HPD. Fifty percent of the 339 units will be set aside as permanently below-market-rate.
The downpayment assistance fund was created with support from the Community Preservation Corporation and a $2 million commitment from the Wells Fargo Foundation.