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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Green, Affordable Senior Housing Breaks Ground in the Bronx

Building affordable housing is a challenge everywhere in New York City, and adding sustainability components can be even more challenging when considering the scarcity of land, rising construction costs, and green standards that must be met.

Breaking Ground has never backed down from a challenge, and we put our values into action today when we celebrated the groundbreaking at our Betances residence in the South Bronx - our first Passive House building, and one of just a few supportive residences in the City to embrace such a rigorous energy use standard. The Betances development is part of a commitment by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to identify underutilized land for new affordable homes.

The 152 apartments at Betances will serve formerly homeless and low-income senior households, including one superintendent unit. Crucially, 26 of the units will have a preference for current residents of NYCHA apartments, allowing senior residents to continue to age-in-place while freeing up much-needed NYCHA apartments for other households. The 120,000 square foot development will feature a 24-hour attended lobby, state of the art security systems, a laundry room, digital library and computer lab, multipurpose room for events and programming, and landscaped courtyard and terrace spaces. The building will also feature 4,700 square feet of community facility space to be occupied by the DreamYard Project, a Bronx-based nonprofit that creates arts and education opportunities for underserved youth.


Rendering Courtesy COOKFOX Architects

"The number of older New Yorkers that Breaking Ground serves has grown steadily over the past decade, not just in our permanent residences, but also through outreach services and transitional housing for street homeless individuals. Betances will be home to many of these extremely disadvantaged seniors, providing a dignified, secure place for them to live."
Brenda Rosen, Breaking Ground President and CEO

The Passive House standard is among the most rigorous for reducing the energy footprint of residential and commercial developments. With a tight building envelope and engineered ventilation systems, the Passive House design will ensure a high indoor air quality for Breaking Ground’s senior tenants while achieving optimal energy cost efficiencies. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the building integrates biophilic design strategies, such as the incorporation of natural materials, patterns, and abundant natural light throughout, to enhance resident well-being. The entry to the building is focused on a framed view of the central organizing feature of the project, a verdant courtyard garden. Visible from both the sidewalk and the corridors of the residential floors, the garden will create connections between residents and the wider community, creating a cohesive pedestrian and residential experience.

"Betances will also take our long-held interests in advancing state-of-the-art sustainable design to a new level as our first Passive House. Through its extraordinary energy efficiencies, Betances will help us to meet our shared responsibility for reducing the carbon footprint of this City and achieve operating cost efficiencies as well."
Brenda Rosen, Breaking Ground President and CEO

Breaking Ground celebrated the occasion with partners at the New York City Council and Bronx Borough President’s Office, HPD, New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), NYCHA, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance/Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation (OTDA/HHAC), the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., the Center for Urban Community Services, and the DreamYard Project.

Betances Residence received capital funding from the New York City Council and Bronx Borough President’s Office, HPD, HDC, OTDA/HHAC, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. The Corporation for Supportive housing provided pre-development funds. The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust purchased tax-exempt bonds to finance the development.

Located between Willis and Brook Avenues on a site that spans 142nd to 143rd Streets, the building will feature two eight-story residential towers and provide 22 one-bedroom and 130 studio apartments. Onsite social services will be offered to all residents in the building by the Center for Urban Community Services, Breaking Ground’s long-standing partner, marking their 11th residential collaboration in over the past nearly 30 years. Betances will be Breaking Ground’s seventh building in the Bronx and increase its total units under management in the borough to more than 1,100.

Betances Gbgroup2

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