YUCO Real Estate, HPD, BNY Mellon, CPC and partners celebrate the completion of $24.4 million Brook Avenue apartment project in the Bronx

New York Real Estate Journal
July 4, 2017

Bronx, NY Borough president, Ruben Diaz, Jr. and representatives from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Bank of New York Mellon, First Sterling Financial, the Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) and the Bronx Community Board recently joined with Yuco Real Estate Co.to unveil a newly constructed affordable housing development in the Mott Haven neighborhood.

Brook Avenue Apartments consists of a two-building, 66-unit development constructed on vacant, formerly city-owned land. The78,806 s/f project was built at a development cost of $24.4 million and was financed under mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Housing Plan. Its goal is to help address the city’s affordability crisis by housing more than half a million New Yorkers, ranging from those with very low incomes to the middle class – all of whom face ever-rising rent pressures.

Bong Yu, P.C. was both the engineering and architectural firm and Yuco Builders, LLC was the general contractor for the project. The Bank of New York Mellon, First Sterling Financial and CPC were the financial partners.

“Creating affordable housing units is very important to me and to our community, it is something I have been working on since Day 1 I became borough president,” Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. “Since 2009, we have invested $1.6 billion towards the creation of over 6,100 affordable units across 68 projects, mostly for low-income families, and this project is testaments to the hard work we are putting in; alongside partners like Yuco Real Estate, who have shown a very strong commitment to work with our office, the residents and the neighborhood of Mott Haven, to make sure everyone has a fair shot at affordable housing.”

Borough president Diaz took a tour of the building and saw how each apartment had solid wood doors, solid wood kitchen cabinets and solid oak flooring.  Granite kitchen countertops, GE appliances, Kohler bathroom fixtures, overhead lighting in each room and individual heating controls in each apartment were noted as well as how spacious and well designed the apartment units were.

The development includes two buildings – a five-story building located at 463 East 147th St. and a seven-story building located at 469 East 147th St. The 463 address has 7 studio apartments, 35 one-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment for a total of 55 units of affordable housing, inclusive of one two-bedroom superintendent unit. Thirteen of the total units in this building are affordable to households earning up to 40 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or an annual income of no more than $25,400 for an individual or $36,240 for a family of four. The remaining 41 units are affordable to households earning up to 60 percent AMI, or an annual income of no more than $38,100 for an individual or $54,360 for a family of four. This building also has an approximately 11,200 square-foot underground garage reserved for on-site parking and bicycle storage. The 469 address has 10 two-bedroom apartments and 1 one-bedroom apartment. Ten of the units in this building are affordable to households earning 60 percent AMI, or an annual income of no more than $38,100 for an individual or $54,360 for a family of four. The remaining unit is affordable to a household earning up to 40 percent AMI, or an annual income of no more than $25,400 for an individual or $36,240 for a family of four. This building has approximately 1,700 square-feet of commercial space. The development benefits from the acquisition of underused air rights of neighboring one-story Con Edison facilities.  Residents will also have easy access to buses: Bx 15, Bx 17, Bx 19 and trains: 2, 5 and 6 subway lines and the apartments are in close proximity to Lincoln Hospital and The Opera House Hotel.

Yuco is part of an active, vertically integrated Asian-American owned real estate organization founded in 1969. Yuco President, Raymond Yu, along with his sister, Catherine, represents the third generation of a real estate family that began with his grandfather in Hong Kong more than ninety years ago. Raymond’s father immigrated to the United States in the 1950s, bringingalong his family’s entrepreneurial spirit in real estate development. The company has worked on projects in and contributed to the revitalization of the Lower East Side, Clinton and Harlem in Manhattan and Sunset Park, Flatbush and East New York in Brooklyn.  Yuco’s emphasis on working with M/WBE companies not only reflects the values incorporated in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan, it also helps to create local employment opportunities across the five boroughs. Additionally, Yuco is recognized as HPD’s largest Asian-American-owned affordable housing development partner.

“High quality, well-designed affordable housing has been the consistent focus of our business, bringing positive changes throughout our expanding presence in neighborhoods all over New York City,” said Raymond Yu, President, Yuco Real Estate. “This project contributes to the rejuvenation and vitality of Mott Haven and we are honored to be part of that effort.”

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) provided Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for $16.6 million in permanent tax credit equity financing. HPD also facilitated $2.7 million in subsidies and $1.2 million in Reso A funds. The Bank of New York Mellon was the construction lender for this project as well as tax credit purchaser. First Sterling Financial is the project’s tax credit syndicator.

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said: “HPD relies on the ingenuity of its programs combined with the resourcefulness of its partners to create quality affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Our development partners were able to build more affordable housing in the Brook Avenue Apartments developments than previously possible by purchasing the air rights to the adjoining Con Edison properties. This is precisely the type of smart development we champion. I want to congratulate Yuco Real Estate, CPC, and all of our development partners on a job well done. Thanks to you, 66 households have an affordable place to call home.”

Andrew Blumetti, managing director of Bank of New York Mellon, “The Brook Avenue Apartments is a prime example of how strong partnerships between the public and private sector are making affordable apartments a reality in NYC.” He continues, “BNY Mellon’s commitment to this project emphasizes our continued support of the communities where our employees both live and work.”

The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) has committed to a $3 million permanent loan through their agreement with the New York City Retirement System (NYCRS).

“CPC is proud to be part of a partnership that is bringing high-quality affordable housing and new retail space to the Mott Haven community,” said Robert Riggs, senior vice president and regional director, the Community Preservation Corporation. “Investing in projects like the Brook Avenue Apartments that give hardworking New Yorkers a chance to put down roots in a stable, affordable home is key to continuing the revitalization of this vibrant and diverse community. My thanks to YUCO and HPD for their collaboration and partnership.”

“The Brook Avenue Apartments are an important development for the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The residential and commercial space are mutually beneficial and will draw more projects to the area,” said Kathy Zamechansky, president, of KZA Realty Group. “My team and I are thrilled that Yuco selected KZA Realty as the exclusive leasing agents for their commercial space, we are very proud to be a part of the mission that is creating a renewed Bronx.