City and Partners Celebrate Over 200 New Affordable Homes in Soundview

Casa Celina cutting of ribbon

NEW YORK, NY – Yesterday morning, the New York City Department of Housing Development and Preservation (HPD), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) celebrated the opening of over 200 new affordable apartments in Soundview, a vibrant neighborhood in the southeastern part of The Bronx known for its strong sense of community and proximity to Soundview Park. The construction of this new building comes at a critical time as New York City grapples with a severe housing crisis, marked by historically low rental availability. The city's proactive efforts to expand affordable housing options have led to the development of Casa Celina, a building specifically designed for older adults.  

 The new 16-story building has a total of 204 apartments: 62 apartments have been reserved for seniors who formerly experienced homelessness; 142 apartments are available to senior households earning 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI); and one apartment is designated for a live-in superintendent. NYCHA residents will be given preference for 35 of the apartments. The building is comprised of 46 one-bedroom apartments and 158 studios. 

 The ribbon-cutting ceremony of Casa Celina was attended by New York’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), as well as public and private partners, including the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), elected officials, Xenolith Partners LLC, and JASA, the leading agency serving older New Yorkers, among others. 

 “Casa Celina brings affordable homes to the Soundview community, thoughtfully designed with older adults in mind,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “With an array of gathering spaces, a beautiful roof terrace, a library, and services provided on-site by JASA, Casa Celina is ready to welcome hundreds to their new homes. With 30% of units specifically for our neighbors exiting shelters, this development will provide much needed support, community, and care for over 200 older adults in New York City.” 

 “I'm thrilled to see Casa Celina in the Soundview neighborhood ready to welcome 204 households, headed by seniors, to their new homes,” said Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg. “This beautiful new development with spectacular amenities, programming and services designed specifically for older adults would not be possible without the public-private-partnership between NYC Housing Preservation and Development, Housing Development Corporation (HDC), elected officials, Xenolith Partners LLC, and JASA. A big thank you and congrats to all! 

 "I grew up and raised a family in the Bronx. This work is deeply personal to me because I know how transformative these investments are," said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. "Casa Celina provides deeply affordable housing for over 200 households, including 62 formerly homeless older adults, right here in beautiful Soundview. Congratulations to all the partners who collaborated on this fantastic project.” 

 “Creating new affordable housing in New York City is an incredible privilege, and we are ecstatic to have worked to develop over 200 new affordable units on NYCHA property for New Yorkers in need at Casa Celina,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We are so thankful to our city partners in this venture for their help in establishing the new 16-story building that will serve as an amazing new home to many, including formerly unhoused members of the community that are beginning an incredible new chapter in their lives.”       

 "We are so proud to celebrate the opening of Casa Celina with our partners,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “The construction of this new building on underutilized NYCHA land is a great example of how we as a City can use our resources to provide existing NYCHA residents with great community spaces along with safe, and affordable housing.” 

 “Casa Celina delivers over 200 new affordable homes for older New Yorkers, coupled with services and amenities that will allow every resident to age with dignity,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “HDC is proud to be a part of this critical project and commends all our partners for helping meet the housing needs of our city’s seniors.” 

 The 62 units set aside for formerly homeless older adults come equipped with basic furniture such as bed frames and seating. The families occupying these units are also provided with a stipend to purchase additional appliances and items from a catalog, allowing for the personalization of each home and promoting a sense of dignity and independence. 

 Casa Celina offers a range of amenities, including a 1,725 square-foot community senior space staffed by JASA with support from the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA), a fitness room, laundry room, lounge spaces on each floor for residents, and a landscaped roof terrace where yoga classes and gardening will be available. The development is located close to important resources for older adults living independently, such as a Western Beef grocery store and a shopping center that includes a ShopRite and a TJ Maxx. 

 JASA, the largest nonprofit manager of senior housing in New York City, will manage the property and provide comprehensive supportive services. These include on-site senior health and wellness programs designed to foster neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and reduce social isolation. JASA will also organize medical transportation, assist with obtaining SNAP EBT cards, and offer referrals to local food pantries, among other services. 

 “As the housing crisis persists, older adults are more in need of affordable housing than ever. And for hundreds of older New Yorkers, Casa Celina will be a safe, stable home with the resources and community that will enable them to age with dignity and purpose,” said Kathryn Haslanger, CEO of JASA. “We are grateful to all the incredible development and government partners that made today possible, and we’ll continue to work alongside tenants to ensure Casa Celina is a home where all can be proud to be a part of the community.” 

   Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP), Casa Celina is built to support strong mental health with expansive windows throughout the apartments and common areas to offer abundant natural light. The individual apartments are designed for older adults, featuring walk-in showers, wheelchair accessible units, and handicap and visual-handicap accessible units. Additionally, bright resident lounges on each floor—including communal game spaces on every fourth floor—create a vertical network of community areas, conducive to social interaction and helping to prevent isolation for residents living alone. 

   “We are so proud of Casa Celina and grateful to have development partners who care so much about good design in support of a mission,” said Fernando Villa, Principal, Magnusson Architecture and Planning. “This building is a statement of our values - affordable senior housing should be beautiful and inclusive; it should foster community for its residents and offer the security, well-being, and joy that we all deserve as we age. At Casa Celina, the sunny shared spaces with views of the city are inspired places for people to connect, and the glassy, well-lit ground floor welcomes residents and visitors alike. This is an evolution of the public housing typology, one whose health, sustainability, and aesthetic elements underscore the importance of this housing.” 

 Located on NYCHA’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor campus, the 100% affordable project is named after Justice Sotomayor’s mother, Celina Báez. Justice Sotomayor toured the development in April 2024 alongside friends and family, during which she met with residents of the building and the development team. Justice Sotomayor also donated a library to the development that will be open for all tenants.  

 Permanent financing for the $113 million project includes $43 million in HDC bonds; a $7 million subsidy from HDC's Extremely Low & Low-Income Affordability (ELLA) and HPD's Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) programs; roughly $53 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity. 

 “Affordable housing in our city is a fundamental necessity, especially for our older adults,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Casa Celina is designed to foster a vibrant, supportive, and inclusive environment with holistic services that care for its tenants' emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It will be a place where our seniors, especially those who have experienced housing insecurity, can find stability, independence, and a true sense of belonging. I want to thank my colleagues in government, the New York Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Authority, the Housing Development Corporation, the New York City Department for the Aging, Xenolith Partners LLC, and JASA for bringing this important project to our Soundview neighborhood.” 

 “Soundview is an intergenerational community. We have families who want to keep their grandparents close and seniors who want to age with dignity in the same community they have spent decades building. With the ongoing affordability and housing crisis in New York City, Casa Celina is critical for the health and wellness of our Bronx seniors. I am incredibly proud to have this building in our community and thank our public and private partners for their dedication to prioritizing seniors,” said Majority Leader Amanda Farías

 “Casa Celina is a next generation 100% affordable senior housing community that will provide a safe, healthy and vibrant living environment in a beautifully designed, amenity rich, sustainable building where seniors can thrive and have the support they need to continue to live long and fulfilling lives,” said Aileen Gribbin, President of Forsyth Street Affordable Housing. “Forsyth Street Affordable Housing is proud to have been part of the development team.” 

 “We are proud to officially open Casa Celina and in doing so, provide seniors with access to high-quality affordable housing that prioritizes comfort, safety and well-being,” said Larry Hirshfield, Founder & CEO of ELH Mgmt. “By coupling best-in-class design with services and support, this project will help older adults remain active, stay connected and ultimately lead fuller lives.”