Yuco, HPD and finance partners break ground on 66-unit Bronx development

Jan 02, 2015

Bronx, NY New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) commissioner Vicki Been joined its largest Asian-American-owned affordable housing development partner developer Yuco Real Estate Co., Inc. ( ) and its financing partners to celebrate the start of construction on the Brook Ave. Apartments, a two-building, 66-unit development that will be constructed on vacant formerly city-owned land in the Mott Haven neighborhood. The development will benefit from the use of underused air rights of neighboring one-story Con Edison facilities.

The construction of the development will be financed under mayor Bill de Blasio's Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan, to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 units of affordable housing. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the city's history, its goal is to help address the crisis of affordability in our city by reaching more than half a million New Yorkers ranging from those with low incomes at the bottom of the economic ladder to those in the middle class who are facing ever-rising rents in their neighborhoods.

"The de Blasio administration is committed to creating and preserving housing that is affordable to New Yorkers with a wide range of incomes, including a substantial number of apartments for the very low-income households, who often have the hardest time finding good quality affordable housing," Been said. "We thank YUCO Real Estate, the Community Preservation Corp., the Bank of New York and First Sterling Financial for their absolutely critical investment in this project."

Brook Ave. Apartments will include a five-story building located at 463 East 147th St. The building will have seven studio apartments, 35 one-bedroom apartments, 11 two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment for a total of 55 units of affordable housing, inclusive of one two-bedroom superintendent unit. Fourteen of the total units in this building will be affordable to households earning up to 40% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or an annual income of no more than $23,500 for an individual or $33,550 for a family of four. The remaining 40 units will be affordable to households earning up to 60% AMI, or an annual income of no more than $35,280 for an individual or $50,340 for a family of four. This building will also feature 11,800 s/f reserved for on-site parking. It is estimated that the space reserved for parking will yield 26 parking spaces.

The second building in the Brook Ave. Apartments development will be a seven-story, 11-unit building located at 469 East 147th St. There will be 10 two-bedroom apartments and 1 one-bedroom apartment in this building. All units in this building will be affordable to households earning 60% AMI, or an annual income of no more than $35,280 for an individual or $50,340 for a family of four. This building will also feature approximately 1,700 s/f of commercial space.

On Brook Ave. and on East 147th St., on either side of the Brook Ave. Apartments site there are two one-story Con Edison facilities. These facilities serve as cooling stations for the underground high tension electrical wires. The Brook Ave. Apartments project acquired and will use previously underused air rights from these adjoining properties through an agreement with Con Edison. This use of air rights at Brook Ave. is an example of how the city intends to think creatively about using underused resources to maximizing density within the context of the neighborhood in an effort to increase affordable housing opportunities for hardworking New York families.

An Asian-American owned firm founded in 1969, Yuco is part of an active, vertically integrated real estate organization. Yuco principal Raymond Yu 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, bringing along 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. The emphasis on working with M/WBE companies not only reflects the values incorporated in mayor de Blasio's Housing New York plan, it also helps to create local employment opportunities across the five boroughs.

"Affordable housing has been a hallmark of our business, bringing transformative positive changes in every neighborhood we work in. We always have an affordable housing project in our pipeline,' said Raymond Yu, principal, Yuco Real Estate. "This project will provide high-quality affordable housing that contributes to the resurgence and revitalization of the neighborhood."
The total development cost for the Brook Ave. Apartments is $24.4 million. HPD will be providing 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for $16.6 million in permanent tax credit equity financing. First Sterling Financial will act as the tax credit syndicator. HPD will also facilitate $2.7 million through the 421a fund and $1.2 million in Reso A funds. The Bank of New York Mellon will act as the lender. Additionally, The Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) has committed to a $3 million permanent
loan through the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS).

"The Brook Ave. Apartments will bring a much needed addition of affordable housing to the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Along with the commercial space, this development will continue the improvement of the neighborhood and act as a magnet for even more development," said Kathy Zamechansky, president, of KZA Realty Group. "I am pleased that Yuco has appointed KZA Realty as the exclusive leasing agents for their commercial space, we are proud to be a part of the mission for New Bronx."

Shown (from left) are: Wilhelm Ronda, director of planning and development, Bronx borough president's office; Catherine Yu, vice president, Yuco Real Estate Company, Inc.; Andrew Blumetti, Bank of NY Mellon; George Rodriguez, Community Board 1; Assemblymember Carmen Arroyo, New York State Assembly District 84; Vicki Been, commissioner, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development; Raymond Yu, president, Yuco Real Estate Company, Inc.; Councilwoman, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, member of the New York City Council District 17; Ann Soja, President, First Sterling; Bong Yu, founder, Yuco Real Estate Company Inc.; Richard Conley, senior vice president, Community Preservation Corp.

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