City Officials, Residents Join Bronx Pro Group, DreamYard Project to Celebrate the Opening of Hayden Lord Park in the Bronx New Community Art Park Part of Larger Revitalization of the University Heights Neighborhood
Bronx, NY – Bronx Pro Group and the DreamYard Project celebrated the grand opening of the Hayden Lord Park, a new community art park in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Designed to create a sustainable and educational art space for the community, Hayden Lord Park is part of the revitalization of the University Avenue Consolidated, a collection of 27 buildings and surrounding areas. The opening of the new park is the final step in a multi-phase affordable housing redevelopment of underused New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties that was financed by the City’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
The preservation of the University Avenue Consolidated is part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP), a multibillion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of income-restricted housing by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. The transformation of the 27 buildings known as University Avenue Consolidated began in 2003 when NYCHA and HPD joined to convert underused, NYCHA-owned properties into affordable housing and transferred the ownership of a total of 18 buildings to affordable housing developers. Bronx Pro Group purchased and renovated 11 of the buildings, and constructed a new building on a vacant lot facing University Avenue, all to accommodate low- and moderate-income families. Phase 1 and 2 of the transformation of University Avenue Consolidated have 321 low-income apartments, with Phase 3 containing an additional 174 mixed-income apartments and the Park.
Located at 1665 Andrews Avenue in the Bronx, Hayden Lord Park was created to be an outdoor art destination that strengthens the local community with a place for residents and children to gather, create and play. The park features a playground, a performance gazebo, and an organic farm. In addition, it includes mosaic art installations, benches, and checkerboard tables inspired by the great Barcelonan artist Antoni Gaudi and designed by local artists, students and volunteers. The park was privately financed through the generosity of the Magistro Family at a cost of $510,000 to date.
“At Bronx Pro Group, we build communities. Whether renovating low- and moderate-income housing, partnering with local arts institutions like DreamYard Project, or envisioning vibrant art parks to inspire future artists, our goal is to create dynamic environments that bring people together,” said Peter Magistro, the President and Founder, Bronx Pro Group. “We could not be more proud of Hayden Lord Park and we hope residents will enjoy it for generations to come.”
“When the Magistros let us know that our park project would be named after my son Hayden, who died in 2000 from Tay-Sachs disease, I was as touched and moved as I have ever been. To know that there would be a place in the Bronx, inspired by Hayden's spirit, that would be a place to celebrate family, children and the power of the arts to transform community was humbling—and inspiring. Thanks to all our partners who helped bring this magical place to life,” Tim Lord, DreamYard Co-Executive Director.
DreamYard uses the arts to build community through collaborative partnerships with 42 public schools including the DreamYard Prep High School, at the DreamYard Art Center, and in communities through an extraordinary partnership with the Magistro family and Bronx Pro.
“Today we celebrate not only the rebuilding efforts, approximately 500 units in Morris Heights, but the continuing restoration of an entire community. I am particularly grateful to Bronx Pro and Peter Magistro for having the foresight to understand the importance of green space and quality of life, which inspired Hayden Lord Park. Mr. Magistro appreciates that rebuilding communities is not just about brick and mortar, but about creating venues for enriching the discourse and lives of the people in the neighborhood. I also want to recognize Bronx Pro’s funding of the park and its partnership with the DreamYard Project in turning what was a vacant lot into open space infused with artistic expressions of cultural diversity. In addition, the model of interagency collaboration on this project is an example for future development, and I thank the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Housing Development Corporation and the many others that invested in the rebuilding efforts of this community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“NYCHA celebrates our partnership with HPD, HDC, Chase and Enterprise in collaboration with Bronx Pro on this very special effort,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “With programs from DreamYard Project, Hayden Lord Park will complement the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club on University Avenue in bringing about a renaissance of the University Heights community.”
“We’re thrilled to see University Avenue Consolidated completed—this new park is the crowning achievement,” said Joan Tally, EVP for Real Estate and Chief of Staff at HDC. “Bronx Pro works very hard to create quality housing and brings a strong focus on community. HDC is grateful to have partners such as Bronx Pro who share our goal to build and preserve desperately needed affordable housing while rebuilding and stabilizing neighborhoods.”
HDC invested a total of $54 million in the revitalization of the 11 former NYCHA buildings, including $21 million in tax-exempt bonds, $14 million in recycled bonds and $19 million in corporate subsidy. Additional financing for the new affordable units was provided by Banco Popular and JP Morgan Chase; Chase provided more than $18 million in financing towards the University Avenue Consolidation project. Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) supported the project with low income housing tax credits.
“As New York’s largest bank, we are committed to investing in projects and working with organizations, like Bronx Pro and DreamYard, that are making a positive and sustainable difference in our communities,” said David Walsh, head of Chase Community Development Banking in the Northeast. “The Hayden Lord Park is a perfect setting to bring University Avenue residents together, and it also represents the successful revitalization of this great neighborhood.”
“It is incredible to see how much the neighborhood surrounding University Avenue Consolidated has transformed in the last 10 years,” said Shola Olatoye, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “Local parks such as the Hayden Lord Park—combined with quality, healthy affordable housing—play a vital role in shaping and improving the environmental, educational and physical wellness of urban communities. We are proud that one of our most trusted partners Bronx Pro has helped to create a true sense of community.”
To learn more about the Hayden Lord Park, visit www.dreamyardproject.wordpress.com/tag/hayden-lord-park.
About Bronx Pro Group
The Bronx Pro Group is a community development firm that employs 124 professionals and support staff engaged in real estate development, construction oversight, property management, and residential services. The company began as a property management firm in 1988 and in 1998 expanded its business activities to include the development of low- and moderate-income housing. Beginning first with rehabilitation of occupied, city-owned buildings, the company has broadened its scope to include the development of large new construction projects that contain both residential and commercial/community facility spaces. To date, Bronx Pro has developed $286 million (1,570 units) through various City programs such as NYC Housing Development Corp’s LAMP and New HOP programs, the City’s Mixed Income Rental Program and the New Foundations Program. Bronx Pro has an additional $100 million (500 units) in predevelopment throughout the Bronx. For more information, visit: www.bronxprogroup.com.
Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. Chase serves more than 50 million consumers and four million small businesses through more than 5,500 bank branches, 17,500 ATMs, credit cards, mortgage offices, and online and mobile banking as well as through relationships with auto dealerships. More information about Chase is available at www.chase.com and @Chase.
About DreamYard Project
DreamYard is the largest arts education provider in the Bronx and its programs reach 8,500 K-12th grade students each year during in-school and out-of-school hours. DreamYard impacts the social and intellectual growth of thousands of students through safe, positive and creatively challenging programs. It is our expectation that our students will be engaged citizens, life-long learners and the leaders and innovators of the 21st century. For more information, visit us at www.dreamyard.com.
Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For 30 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $11 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve more than 280,000 affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Visit www.EnterpriseCommunity.org and www.EnterpriseCommunity.com to learn more about Enterprise's efforts to build communities and opportunity.
Since opening our New York office in 1987, Enterprise has created or preserved more than 35,000 affordable homes for 116,000 New Yorkers, and has committed over $2.3 billion in equity, grants, and loans to community development projects across the city.
About NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 147,890 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For regular updates on news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/nychpd and www.twitter.com/nychousing. For more information, visit our website at www.nyc.gov/hpd
About NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC):
Since 2000, HDC has issued roughly 10% of all the multi-family housing revenue bonds in the U.S. and since 2003, when Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan was launched, HDC has raised more than $6.7 billion in financing for affordable housing developments, including in excess of $1 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. To date, under the Mayor’s plan, HDC has financed the creation or preservation of more than 70,628 of the total 147,890 affordable units in multifamily buildings financed to date. HDC also financed the creation 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. For additional information, visit: www.nychdc.com
About the New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is committed to increasing opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 334 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. To fulfill its vital mission and even better serve residents while facing dramatic reductions in traditional government funding, NYCHA is developing new financing options and building innovative partnerships across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. These strategies are helping NYCHA to address many key challenges, from preserving aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of developments, to increasing resident access to a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives.