NEW YORK–– Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) announced Fetner Properties as the developer for the first NextGeneration (NextGen) Neighborhoods site, which is on the grounds of Holmes Towers in Manhattan. Fetner was chosen in part due to its commitment to community-focused features in its proposal, including new playgrounds and open space and a new recreational and community center for local residents. This mixed-income development will be the first of its kind as a part of NYCHA’s NextGen plan to raise critical revenue necessary to keep the Authority’s buildings standing and residents in their homes. NYCHA expects to receive a projected $25 million through this transaction.
“NextGeneration Neighborhoods enables NYCHA to raise critically needed funds, improve residents’ quality of life and provide new affordable housing,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “This project will fund badly needed repairs, and we will provide resources and amenities such as new playgrounds, a large community center and job opportunities.”
“Securing new resources for our critical public housing stock while creating new affordable housing opportunities is a win-win for our city,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “HPD is thrilled to partner with NYCHA and Fetner on this mixed-income development, which reflects many months of extensive community engagement. This energy-efficient project will provide much-needed affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, a dynamic new community facility, job opportunities for NYCHA residents, and a much-needed infusion of revenue to address the capital needs of existing NYCHA buildings. I’m grateful to the community leaders, local residents, and all of our partners for collaborating to find innovative solutions to our city’s housing crisis.”
“Fetner’s winning-proposal reflects the City’s commitment to finding bold solutions to the affordability crisis, said HDC President Eric Enderlin. The new NextGen Holmes Tower will provide affordable housing and community space, while generating job opportunities and much-needed capital to preserve existing NYCHA housing stock. HDC congratulates our partners at NYCHA, HPD, and Fetner for both the innovative financing and the commitment to community improvement that are at the heart of this project.”
“We are proud to provide much-needed recreational space, good jobs and affordable housing for Holmes Towers residents and the Yorkville community,” said Harold Fetner, president and CEO of Fetner Properties. “Our family and company have a long history of building, owning and maintaining quality mixed-income properties in Yorkville and we are passionate about serving this incredible neighborhood. We are committed to working with local stakeholders as we follow a community-minded plan that will help strengthen NYCHA infrastructure while creating new opportunities and programs for NYCHA families.”
The selection of Fetner Properties is the result of an extensive community engagement process dedicated to understanding resident concerns and addressing them in the final design. NYCHA held 23 resident meetings. NYCHA also distributed over one thousand notices and spoke with over 400 residents, going door to door to hear what they felt was most important.
Fetner Properties’ proposal demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues raised by Holmes Towers stakeholders and surpassed many of the requests laid out by residents and community leaders. For example, Fetner’s proposal includes a partnership with the non-profit Asphalt Green on a new 18,000-square-foot recreational and community center, which is nearly three times the size requested by Holmes Towers residents and stakeholders.
New amenities in Fetner’s proposal will improve quality of life for all Holmes Towers residents and families. All Holmes Towers residents will be able to access free or low-cost programming for youth, adults and seniors. The proposed recreational and community center will include a new indoor basketball court and a rooftop turf field that can be used for soccer and other activities. Asphalt Green, which has more than three decades of experience providing high-quality athletic and fitness programming for all ages, will operate the recreational and community center.
The proposed recreational and community center will provide a new source of good jobs for NYCHA residents. Fetner will partner with NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES) to work towards the goal of filling a minimum of 50 percent of all permanent jobs with NYCHA residents. An onsite workforce recruitment center will ensure that residents can easily receive information on these job opportunities. Asphalt Green will also continue its current job-training program with Stanley M. Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers, which has already hired numerous NYCHA residents as full-time employees.
“Asphalt Green has been a proud member of this community for over three decades, and we are thrilled that this extension of our campus will allow us to expand our sports and fitness programming, and serve thousands of Issacs Houses and Holmes Towers residents,” said Maggy Siegel, executive director of Asphalt Green. “We are particularly pleased to provide permanent jobs for NYCHA residents at our new recreational and community center.”
Fetner has also agreed to construct new playgrounds at Holmes Towers to replace the current play area on the site of the proposed development. These new playgrounds will offer around 14,500 square feet of additional open space for Holmes Towers families. Additionally, Fetner will build new seating areas, lighting and plantings in these playground areas and throughout the development.
“NYCHA’s commitment to resident engagement during this process was thoughtful and important in understanding the needs of Holmes’ residents,” said Resident Association Vice President Milagros Velasquez. “Our community understands that NextGen Neighborhoods is a critical program for NYCHA to raise money to maintain our homes. We’re grateful we had a real voice in the developer selection process.”
“NYCHA listened to our voices and this proposal meets many vital needs of our diverse community, especially the new playgrounds for children of different ages,” said Holmes Towers Resident and Stakeholder Committee Member Estella Natal. “The community engagement process was interesting and insightful as residents came together with different priorities and concerns – whether it was security features or more play areas – to shape the future of our development.”
With $17 billion in capital needs, NYCHA is looking to creative new sources outside federal, state and city budgets for funding. Two years ago, the Authority launched NextGeneration NYCHA, a ten-year strategic plan to achieve financial security, in order to continue NYCHA’s work as a landlord and offer residents better lives.
As NYCHA combats ongoing funding cuts and increasing infrastructure needs, the Authority launched NextGen Neighborhoods to bring in new revenue for much needed repairs across all developments without using NYCHA money. This new building on underutilized land at Holmes Towers will have 50 percent affordable and 50 percent market-rate housing, which will generate funds to be reinvested into Holmes Towers as well as offer new housing opportunities at a time where the City faces a critical demand for affordable units. These new affordable homes will be permanently affordable and be available to the City’s low-income residents making up to 60 percent of AMI.
Holmes Towers has approximately $35 million in capital needs alone. The NextGen Neighborhoods project will help alleviate some of these infrastructure problems by bringing in critically needed revenue. Holmes residents will get the majority of the benefit from the proposed transaction – NYCHA has committed one-half of the revenue raised through this project to address Holmes Towers’ most critical capital needs.
The site at Holmes Towers also helps achieve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Housing Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.
The 47-story building will be located on a site on E 92nd Street between 1st Avenue and York Avenue. NYCHA will retain ownership of the land through a long term ground lease. The development will include units affordable to residents earning less than $41,000 for an individual, $52,000 for a family of three, and NYCHA residents will have a preference for 25% percent of the affordable housing units. No residents at Holmes Towers will be moved from their homes or see changes in their rents. NYCHA is committed to minimizing any impacts to residents.