Lenders Take A Leap of Faith on Nation’s First Passive Affordable Development

Real Estate Weekly

June 3, 2015


Public and private partners have funded the development of the nation’s first affordable multi-family Passive House development in Bushwick.


Mennonite United Revival Apartments, located on 422-428 Melrose Street, is a 24-apartment building developed by Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC) for low-income families.  United Revival Mennonite Church is co-owner of the $8.5 million complex built on land the church bought at auction in 1998, according to published reports.  It meets the strict energy-efficiency criteria of Passive House, an international building standard aimed at reducing heating and cooling energy usage through passive measures such as insulation.


CPC is contributing a $1.14 million permanent loan through the New York City Retirement Systems (NYCRS) with 100 percent insurance from the State of New York Mortgage Agency.


“Energy-efficient design is a great way to ensure that buildings are running smoothly, cost-effectively, and reliably. Mennonite United Revival Apartments’ innovative design will keep operating costs and rent lower, ensuring the long-term financial stability and viability of the development,” said Sadie McKeown, executive vice president and COO, CPC.


“Providing capital to keep small buildings like this one affordable and sustainable is a critical part of CPC’s mission, and we will continue to preserve the character and affordability of neighborhoods like Bushwick and support long-term partners like RBSCC.”


Located on a former parking lot, the five-story apartment building features three studios, four one-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom, and four three-bedroom apartments which are available for families earning either 50 or 60 percent of area median income (AMI), with a two-bedroom unit reserved for the superintendent.


Amenities include a community room, a laundry room, an outdoor patio, and a garden. The building was designed by architect Chris Benedict to meet Passive House standards for energy efficiency, which exceed those achieved by Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).


Mennonite United Revival Apartments only uses 20 percent of a typical New York City building’s energy use by pushing the boundaries of traditional engineering and residential design.

The building is air sealed, insulated, and compartmentalized with air barriers, drastically increasing heating- and cooling-related energy savings by storing warm air during cold days and cold air on hot days.


The exterior design ensures that the sun provides heat for the rooms in the winter, utilizing natural heat sources to the greatest extent. Furthermore, each apartment has its own ventilation system to consistently supply fresh air, as well as small radiators and airtight window air conditioning units.


Finance for the project also came from TD Bank, which provided a $6.5 million construction loan, and the NYC Housing Preservation and Development administered $750,000 in Reso A funds. The New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal also allocated Low income Housing Tax Credits (LITHC) and RBC Capital Markets syndicated the $4.5 million LIHTC equity.