NEW YORK OFFICIALS JOIN FIRST JAMAICA COMMUNITY AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, BLUESTONE ORGANIZATION AND PARTNERS TO CELEBRATE THE CONSTRUCTION KICK-OFF FOR 174 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS IN JAMAICA, QUEENS
The Tree of Life is a mixed-use, mixed-income hundred percent affordable housing development financed under HDC’s Mix & Match program, combining City subsidy with tax-exempt bond proceeds and LIHTC equity
Located in Special Downtown Jamaica District, one-third of the apartments will be permanently affordable under the City’s Inclusionary Housing program
Queens, New York – US Congressman Gregory Meeks, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Councilmembers Daneek Miller and Rory Lancman, and State Senator Leroy Comrie, joined NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Deputy Commissioner Molly Park, representatives from First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corporation (FJCUDC), Bluestone Organization and project partners to announce the start of construction on the Tree of Life affordable housing development in Jamaica, Queens.
“Tree of Life demonstrates the visionary work the City is doing to bring not just affordable housing but economic opportunity to neighborhoods like Jamaica,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to our partners including First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corporation, Bluestone Organization, Raymond James, Citibank, and of course HPD and all our elected officials for their ongoing commitment to this project. Through our truly collaborative public, private, and non-profit partnerships we are leveraging the full range of resources to lock in affordability for the future residents of Tree of Life for generations to come.”
“The city is facing an affordability crisis that requires us to harness all our tools, tap all our partners, and engage all our communities to find long-term affordable housing solutions that benefit both residents and neighborhoods. Tree of Life combines City investment, innovative programs like Voluntary Inclusionary Housing, and vital federal resources to create 174 affordable homes – a third of which are permanently affordable – in a passive house development that will bring jobs and services to the neighborhood,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “ I want to thank the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica and The Bluestone Organization for their partnership and vision in creating lasting affordability and economic opportunity for the neighborhood. “
The project is a mixed-use, mixed-income 174-unit affordable housing development with a mix of studio, one, two, and three bedrooms, including a superintendent’s unit. Financed under the HPD and HDC’s Mix & Match program, the apartments will be available to families with a wide range of incomes, from very-low and low income households to moderate and middle income households. Rents will be affordable to households with maximum income limits ranging from $31,750 to $66,550 for an individual and from $40,800 to $85,470 for a family of three. Of the 174 units, 53 will be permanently affordable to households with maximum income limits of $50,800 for an individual and $65,280 for a family of three under the City’s Inclusionary Housing program.
“This construction of 174 units of affordable housing will be a welcome addition to our borough’s permanently affordable housing stock, and complement our Jamaica NOW Action Plan currently underway for the revitalization and smart growth of Downtown Jamaica,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Thanks to a public-private partnership, this will be a model, community-driven housing development with amenities, and commercial and community space for Queens families to thrive.”
The Tree of Life site is located in close proximity to various modes of transportation in the Special Downtown Jamaica District of Queens, established by the City to strengthen the business core, foster economic development including the development of affordable housing, and enhance the pedestrian environment in Downtown Jamaica
The project will stand at 12 stories high and includes over 15,000 square feet of commercial space, over 9,000 square feet of community facility space, 64 parking spaces, and approximately 1,500 square feet of residential amenity space including a fitness room and community room. The community facility space is anticipated to include an education and training center with a library and computer area, conference room, and individual counseling rooms.
The building includes various energy efficiencies and is designed according to Passive House standards as developed by the Passive House Institute of the US. Enterprise Green Communities criteria are also utilized and the developer is pursuing NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program funding. Other green features will include solar panels and a co-gen system.
“Once complete, the Tree of Life building will be worthy of its name, giving families of low and moderate income’s the opportunity they need to live the quality of life they deserve. With so much development taking place in Jamaica, it has been a priority for my office to ensure we are building for those who already call Southeast Queens home and I am proud to work with such prominent local organizations such as the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica to make this project possible. I would like to thank Reverend Patrick H. O’Connor, the Bluestone Organization, and New York City Housing Development Corporation and New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development for making this groundbreaking possible,” said Council Member Daneek Miller.
Council Member Rory Lancman said, "I am pleased that construction is officially underway on the Tree of Life housing development that will bring 174 affordable apartments to my District. This development is a win-win for the entire community. Not only will Tree of Life help low-income families live and stay in our neighborhood, but it will put some of our brothers and sisters in organized labor to work. This project has been a long time coming, and I am glad that it will be done right."
In line with the Mayor’s commitment to foster partnerships with faith-based and community organizations, the Tree of Life project was made possible thanks to the valuable contribution of land and development rights by the projects non-profit development partner FJCUDC and the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica.
Chairman of FJCUDC Reverend Patrick O'Connor said, "We are delighted to provide housing and needed services to our neighborhood and are committed with our partners to improve the quality of life for all."
The $74 million project also leverages important contributions from public and private partners, including more than $28 million in total City subsidy, over $30 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by HDC, and approximately $12.2 million in low-income housing tax credit equity provided by Raymond James and a standby letter of credit provided by Citibank. Of $2 million contributed in valuable Reso A funds, $1.5 million was provided by the Queens Borough President’s office and $500,000 came from the City Council. The project also benefits from Article XI Tax Exemption.
Darryl Seavey, Managing Director Northeast Region for Raymond James Tax Credit Funds said, “Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc. is proud to partner with First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corp, the Bluestone Organization, the City of New York, and other project partners, and to serve as the equity capital partner for the Tree of Life development. The construction of the Tree of Life apartments will ensure quality affordable housing for deserving members of the community, strengthen the local business sector and with new community and commercial facilities, provide a fresh new addition to the downtown Jamaica landscape. Raymond James would like to congratulate all our partners and the community on this exciting new affordable housing development.”
New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC):
HDC is the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency and is charged with helping to finance the creation or preservation of affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. Since 2003, HDC has financed more than 120,000 housing units using over $13.7 billion in bonds, and provided in excess of $1.6 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. HDC ranks among the nation’s top issuers of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing on Thomson Reuter’s annual list of multi-family bond issuers. In each of the last four consecutive years, HDC’s annual bond issuance has surpassed $1 billion. For additional information, visit: http://www.nychdc.com
The New York City 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 diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us @NYCHousing.