Construction Begins on the Eliza, a 100 Percent Deeply Affordable Housing Project Featuring Extensive Community Amenities

The Eliza, Inwood
Rendering courtesy of Fogarty Finger Architecture and Andrew Berman Architect


NEW YORK, NY – A ceremonial groundbreaking held today announced the beginning of construction for The Eliza, a new affordable housing project in Inwood. The initiative will bring 174 deeply affordable and beautiful units of housing to the neighborhood, along with an updated, two-story library; a state-of-the-art STEM Learning Center; a universal Pre-K program; and an Activities, Culture, and Training community space.

The project is led by community non-profits Community League of the Heights and The Children’s Village, and their partners Ranger Properties, Housing Workshop, and Alembic Community Development. The development was launched in June of this year by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and The New York Public Library (NYPL). The project is a result of a public-private partnership between City agencies, NYPL and Robin Hood, the city’s largest poverty fighting philanthropy.

The Eliza is a new model for affordable housing across the five boroughs, bringing the concept of ‘live, work, and play’ -- often associated with luxury housing -- to the affordable housing space. In addition to 174 units of deeply affordable housing, the project will feature a new and improved 20,000 square-foot Inwood Library; a state-of-the-art STEM Learning Center of 2,135 square feet; and a universal Pre-K program, operated by the New York City Department of Education (DOE), all designed to meet the evolving needs of residents and families in the Inwood community.

Additionally, the project will include approximately 10,000 square feet of Activities, Culture, and Training Center (ACTS) community facility space operated by CLOTH and The Children’s Village, longtime community partners.

The vision for The Eliza was crafted through neighborhood planning exercises and months of engagement with the community. The partners spearheading the effort affirmed today that programming developed for this one-of-a-kind holistic approach to housing, holds community needs at its core. The project comes at an opportune moment, as Inwood finds itself at a critical intersection, with the neighborhood over the past decade seeing one of the lowest rates of new housing opportunities citywide. According to the latest census data, the total number of housing units across Manhattan increased by 7.9 percent from 2010 to 2020. In Inwood – during that same period – the number of new apartments increased by a mere 2 percent.

Using the decades of combined work in the Inwood community, the non-profit and development partners leading this effort expressed their support for the project.

"The Eliza symbolizes exactly what this Administration set out to do with its ambitious affordable housing plan which is to pair affordable housing with neighborhood resources that will help residents and the community thrive,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Like affordable housing, libraries are critical gateways to opportunity and we are proud that this project will bring 174 homes for low-income families on top of a new state of art library that will provide education and opportunities to children and adults alike.  We are pleased to partner with The New York Public Library, Robin Hood and our partners in development and City government to bring this landmark project to Inwood.”

“Today we celebrate the construction of 174 deeply affordable homes at The Eliza, as well as a new public library, a Universal Pre-K center, and an array of community services – all of which will benefit the Inwood community for years to come,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to all our nonprofit, government and private sector partners who have worked together to bring us to this pivotal stage in the development of this project.”

“Today’s groundbreaking marks a significant step toward delivering on the City’s investment and commitments of the Inwood Neighborhood Plan,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “This new library will be an invaluable resource for the community and the affordable housing will serve many families. I’d like to thank and congratulate our fellow agencies, community partners, and elected officials for working with us to bring this vision to life.”

The Library is excited for the Inwood Library's next chapter: a brand new 20,000-square-foot building filled with books, rooms for classes and programs, computers, quiet spaces for all ages, and all of the amenities that this community needs, wants, and deserves,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx. “We are grateful to Robin Hood, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and New York State for their support of and to our City partners for offering this important opportunity to build a wonderful new library, one that is better able to adjust and adapt to the evolving needs of the Inwood community with more space, flexible programming, inspiring material, and the technology required to help our patrons achieve their goals.”

“The library and the Eliza demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships, collaborations that make the impossible doable. This project combines not just different ways of funding, but a holistic approach to how we use space as we co-locate where we live and learn and thrive. After 18-months of isolation, this new state-of-the art library and the apartment building will serve as a permanent marker of what it means to be a community,” said Richard R. Buery, Jr. CEO of Robin Hood.

“We’re blessed with the opportunity to continue to work with the Inwood community to bring much needed, deeply affordable and beautiful housing to New Yorkers who need it the most,” said Yvonne Stennett, executive director of the Community League of the Heights. “This project is a model for what development across the five boroughs should and must look like if we’re to achieve equity, prosperity, and opportunity for all neighborhoods of New York. We look forward to getting to work with the city and our community partners to continue serving our Inwood friends, families, and neighbors long into the future.”

“The Children’s Village is a proud partner in bringing the Eliza to Inwood. In addition to the much needed community resources this building will offer, we are most excited about continuing to provide living spaces that are beautiful AND affordable. No more unsafe housing projects that lack resources. It is time that we provide deeply affordable housing that we would all be proud to live in,” said The Children’s Village President & CEO Jeremy C. Kohomban, PhD.

“This project is a culmination of a lifelong development career where Ranger has built over 1000 units and multiple commercial projects. The Eliza is an enormous achievement in not only working with amazing partners of Children’s Village, CLOTH and Alembic but to work with EDC, NYPL and HPD,” said Sheldon Stein, Managing Principal of Ranger Properties. “Giving back to the city in contributing to the success of such an important transformational development is of enormous importance to the firm and our team. The firm leverages relationships in commercial work to bring cost control and construction excellence to our affordable and public work in Inwood.”  

“The Inwood Library/Eliza Apartments development is an example of how collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors can leverage resources and foster innovations that address community needs,” said Ellen Seidman of Housing Workshop. “The Eliza reflects the contributions of strong community leaders, CLOTH and The Children's Village; generous New York City institutions, The New York Public Library, and Robin Hood; and forward-looking City agencies, HPD, HDC, and DOE all working in common cause."

“As with many mixed-use affordable housing developments, The Eliza required many financing partners and a creative financing structure,” said Michael McCarthy, Director, Alembic Community Development. “I am delighted that construction has begun and appreciative of our development partners and many financing partners – HPD, HDC, TD Bank, Raymond James, the Robin Hood Foundation, Councilperson Rodriguez, Borough President Brewer and others – who helped us make this happen.”

“The Department of Education is proud to be part of this great project which reflects our commitment to supporting the Inwood community and its families. By integrating Pre-K classrooms into this project, even more children will have access to a strong start in school and life,” said Department of Education Deputy Chancellor Karin Goldmark.

­­“Our community welcomes and embraces the opportunity of a state-of-the-art Library and the chance to take full advantage of everything it offers,” said Eli Bueno, Chairperson of Community Board 12.

“Fogarty Finger is excited to design such a unique mixed-use building that will truly serve the people of Inwood in so many substantial ways with its public library, affordable housing, community center, STEM Center, and pre-K facility. The Eliza will be a new physical and cultural landmark for the neighborhood—continuing and building upon the legacy of NYPL’s commitment to the community,” said Chris Fogarty, Founding Partner of Fogarty Finger.

While the project is underway, Inwood residents will continue to have access to Library resources, services, and staff at a temporary branch located at 4857 Broadway. Patrons can pick up and drop off materials, use computers, access reader advisory, and more.

The project was closed in April 2021 and construction is expected to be completed by October 2023. For renderings of the full project please see here (attributable to Andrew Berman Architects), here (attributable to Atchain) and here (attributable to Fogarty Finger).