Flood Zone Grants
The 100-year flood zone covers 19 per cent of the city’s land surface. Projects built within this flood zone that enroll in the New York City Voluntary Cleanup Program are eligible for a $10,000 bonus Flood Zone Cleanup Grant. Cleanup of coastal sites is part of a strategy to reduce the risk of erosion and dispersion of contaminants in the event of future severe storms that might affect the area.
The case study below illustrates an affordable housing project in Mott Haven that has earned a bonus Flood Zone Cleanup Grant.
Morris Court consists of 201 apartments, each of them affordable to a family of four earning between $51,780 and $86,300 a year. Guido Subotovsky, President of Azimuth Development Group, a builder of market and affordable residential buildings in northern Manhattan,
the Bronx and Queens, explains that Morris Court was conceived in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. To make the project’s finances work, Azimuth built parking beneath the entire 1.1-acre site and created 30,000-square feet of ground-floor retail space now leased to a merchandise retail store, a daycare facility, a drop-in medical office, a grocery and delicatessen. Parking income and revenue from commercial tenants allowed Azimuth to build an entirely affordable development. In addition, by committing to make 40 apartments permanently affordable, the project received a floor area bonus to build 26 additional apartments.
Morris Court sits near the crest of a hill that descends to the Harlem River eight blocks away. Although these handsome twin towers of brick and pre-cast stone sit above the Harlem River, Morris Court could be within reach of storm surge during the next 100-year storm. Because its developer cleaned up flood-prone land in the city Voluntary Cleanup Program, the project received a bonus Flood Zone Cleanup Grant of $10,000 from OER.
Morris Court, the first major development under the Lower Grand Concourse rezoning, was built on former manufacturing land previously occupied by an auto repair and gasoline station. The cost to remediate the site was $1.5 million, most of it for the removal of 23,000 tons of soil excavated to create the underground parking garage that extends beneath the two towers.
To assist with remediation for this important project, Morris Court received $135,000 in city brownfield cleanup grant funds, consisting of a $100,000 cleanup grant, the bonus Flood Zone Cleanup Grant,and a $25,000 bonus cleanup grant for achieving the highest level of cleanup.