NYCHA Residents at Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension in Manhattan to Receive $318.1 Million in Extensive Renovations Through PACT Program

Rendering of rehabilitated Hernandez Houses, NYCHA

NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced that capital repairs totaling $318.1 million will be addressed for over 1,000 residents living at Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program. Over the past year, resident leadership worked closely with NYCHA to determine the best approach for obtaining the much-needed improvements, and they have selected Essence Development, MDG Design + Construction LLC, and Wavecrest Management as the PACT partner team. 

In the coming months, the PACT partners will work with NYCHA and residents at each of the three developments to schedule inspections and building studies to inform the final scope of work for each development. Regular resident meetings will continue concurrently to help finalize investment priorities for the campuses. A social services provider will soon be selected, along with programming to best suit the unique needs of residents. The PACT partner team is dedicated to training and hiring Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension residents and will host employment training opportunities for construction and management positions.

“This tenant-supported investment in Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension is a remarkable example of how tenant engagement yields powerful results for NYCHA communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “We're grateful to the community's resident leadership and PACT partnership team for unlocking this $318.1 million investment in safe, quality housing. These renovations, matched with imminent investments in social services and employment opportunities, are a model for how we can transform the lives of NYCHA residents for the better.”

“With the selection of Essence Development, MDG Design + Construction, and Wavecrest Management —and through a process that included a resident review committee — we are one big step closer to delivering over $318 million in comprehensive repairs to NYCHA residents and families,” said Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg. “I’m very excited to see the selection of an experienced team who have extensive experience working with and delivering real results and improvements for affordable housing residents.” 

“NYCHA residents at Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension have an exciting new chapter ahead of them,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Selected with significant resident input, this seasoned partner team will illustrate exactly why the PACT program is one of the most effective tools at NYCHA’s disposal when it comes to enacting comprehensive repairs to our portfolio while maintaining resident rights and protections.”

“Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension each have unique priorities, and it has been exciting to see residents articulate what they envision for their communities,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “Our residents have chosen an experienced partner team to deliver on the visions for the three communities. We look forward to seeing this collaboration continue and the investments that will be made to transform these developments back to healthy, thriving communities for generations to come.”

“We have fought for years to secure funding to improve worsening conditions at Hernandez,” said Hernandez Resident Association President Felicia Gordon. “While we made demonstrable progress, our physical infrastructure issues are too severe. A PACT conversion is our opportunity to unlock millions of dollars to perform remaining critical capital repairs. Through extensive review and site visits, Essence Development, MDG Design + Construction, and Wavecrest Management have been selected as our development partner team. Residents have maintained a high level of partnership in this complex project that we hope will only increase in the next phases. We are looking forward to drastic improvements for the health and well-being of all Hernandez residents.”

“I will always have a place in my heart for NYCHA,” said Meltzer Tower Resident Association President Terry Campuzano. “The Authority has had a hand in raising our families’ children and connecting tenants to social services and employment for decades. But over the years, with the lack of funds from the federal government, decades-old buildings are falling apart, and the management is overwhelmed with scattered-site repairs. Now, it's time for a big leap of faith as we move into the future, a future only the PACT program can offer: buildings being restored; improvements to existing problems like intercoms that haven't worked for years; enhanced security for our tenants, especially for our senior population. The program brings us a promising future— a future we gladly are ready for.” 

“In 2022, Seward Park Extension Houses residents came together to talk about PACT and how it will bring needed repairs and improvements to our community,” said Seward Park Extension Resident Association President Deborah Givens. “We have visited other sites that have been converted by our PACT partner team, and we are very excited to see the improvements that will provide us a better quality of life while keeping our rents the same. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Our PACT partners have now rolled up their sleeves and are busy at work conducting assessment surveys, sharing designs, and reporting on a regular basis to residents-at-large every step of the way. Although we still have some months to go, our Seward Park Extension Houses community has started to see and believe that we will soon be a healthy and safe, thriving community.”

“Thanks to this latest PACT partnership, every resident across NYCHA’s Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension developments will soon benefit from comprehensive apartment repairs, free broadband internet, and accessibility improvements,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin. “We look forward to working with the selected development teams and continuing in our mission to improve the quality of New York City’s public housing stock.”

“With residents at the heart of this endeavor, we are committed to revitalizing and providing safe, modern housing and community resources for the residents of Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension on the Lower East Side,” said Essence Development Founder and Managing Principal Jamar Adams. “We are eager to collaborate with the entire development team and resident community, aiming not only to enhance the physical spaces but also elevate the overall quality of life at Meltzer Tower, Seward Park Extension, and Hernandez. We look forward to working hand in hand with residents, valuing their input every step of the way to shape design and programming, thereby forging a brighter, resident-centric future for all.”

“MDG Design + Construction is honored to have been selected as a PACT partner for the revitalization of Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension,” said MDG Design + Construction Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rooney. “By maintaining affordability and residents’ rights while prioritizing high-quality, comprehensive renovations to the buildings and individual units, our work will help to transform the lives of residents and provide beautiful apartments that they can be proud to call home."

“Wavecrest Management is thrilled to be partnering with NYCHA to transform Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension through the PACT program,” said Wavecrest Management Chief Financial Officer Susan Camerata. “We thank the residents and the incredible resident leaders for giving us their trust to enhance their homes and to partner with them through this exciting process.”

NYCHA and a resident review committee engaged in an extensive review of proposals from developers, general contractors, and property managers before ultimately deciding on the selected partner team. Hernandez, Meltzer Tower, and Seward Park Extension residents will continue working with the PACT partners to refine a comprehensive plan for their community, with expected improvements including new kitchens and bathrooms, upgraded heating and cooling, LED light fixtures, fresh paint, and new flooring, windows, and doors. Common areas such as lobbies, mail package areas, building entrances, and development grounds will be extensively renovated, while security enhancements, waste management systems, and free Wi-Fi will be installed. Environmental health hazards will be appropriately addressed, and ADA improvements will be made.

Essence Development leverages years of experience with federal, state, and local programs to create and preserve affordable housing in cities throughout the country. One of the visions for Essence is to combine government programs with private-sector resources to build and preserve communities and unlock tremendous value.

MDG Design + Construction LLC specializes in the rehabilitation and new construction of residential apartment buildings in New York City and Long Island with a focus on affordable housing. Since its formation in 1988, MDG and its affiliates have been involved in the renovation and/or new construction of over one thousand properties with more than 23,500 units at a total development cost of over $3.6 billion.

Overseeing more than 30,000 units in buildings of all sizes, Wavecrest Management is one of the largest management companies in New York City, with over 40 years of industry experience and a passion for providing opportunities that can improve residents’ lives.

The PACT program transitions developments from traditional public housing assistance to the more stable, federally funded Project-Based Section 8 program — unlocking funding for designated PACT partners to complete comprehensive repairs. Overall, 138 NYCHA developments (representing over 37,000 apartments) are in pre-development, are under construction, or have completed construction through the program. The Authority is on track to include 62,000 apartments in the PACT program in order to bring the benefits of comprehensive apartment repairs and building upgrades, as well as enhanced property management and social services, to more than 142,000 residents. The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), New York City’s municipal Housing Finance Agency, is the key financing partner for PACT. In addition to providing or arranging the financing, HDC provides ongoing asset management and compliance support for PACT transactions.