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Breaking Ground Begins Construction on New Supportive Housing at La Central in the Bronx

THE BRONX, NEW YORK – Breaking Ground, New York’s largest supportive housing developer, broke ground today with its partner, Comunilife, Inc., on a new development as part of the La Central large scale mixed-use project in the Bronx. Breaking Ground’s new residence will bring 160 units of permanent affordable supportive housing to La Central, as part of the total 992 units of mixed-income housing that will be built at the site, in addition to new retail, community, and recreation spaces. Breaking Ground’s supportive housing at La Central will mark the non-profit’s 21st building, with supportive and affordable housing primarily in New York City as well as upstate New York and Connecticut.

“At Breaking Ground, we believe everyone deserves a home and we are committed to assuring that every New York City community can be home to our most vulnerable neighbors. La Central will stand as a model of what can be accomplished when public and private sectors collaborate and listen to community needs. We are thrilled to break ground on our new supportive residence in the South Bronx and play an important role in helping the Bronx to remain affordable for hard working New Yorkers as part of our community revitalization efforts now and well into the future,” said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground.

“Comunilife is so pleased to be partnering with Breaking Ground on the development of 96 new supportive apartments for some of our City's most at-risk residents and thrilled to be part of today's groundbreaking ceremony. The La Central project, which has been in the planning stages for many years, marks a new era for this neighborhood. When the building opens in two years the new residents will have beautiful new apartments in which to live and the on-site services they require to be active member of this community,” said Dr. Rosa M. Gil, President and CEO Comunilife, Inc.

Breaking Ground’s supportive housing residence will feature 160 units – 97 units for the formerly homeless and those living with HIV/AIDS, and 63 units for low income working adults making at or below 60% of the Area Median Income. The building will feature ultra-efficient fixtures and water-saving appliances, a green roof, and roof-mounted solar panels that will provide energy savings and reduce reliance on the area’s electrical grid. In addition, the building will include a 4,500 square foot accessory community facility space. The building was designed by FXFOWLE Architects and MHG Architects. The general contractor is Monadnock Construction, Inc.

"The La Central development epitomizes the art of creative, sustainable and equitable city-building. Our design of Breaking Ground’s supportive housing building is a key part of La Central and embodies a powerful combination of civic ethos, sustainable strategies and thoughtful programing,” stated Senior Partner Dan Kaplan, FAIA, LEED AP. "The building will create an identity that is both forward-looking and rooted into the larger neighborhood. Most importantly, it creates a sense of place that speaks to the project’s mission of providing homes and fostering a thriving, healthy community."

The $67 million project received capital funding from New York State Housing Finance Agency, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation, Wells Fargo, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, "HCR is thrilled to help bring 160 affordable and supportive apartments, retail, and recreation spaces to the South Bronx. This is part of the Governor's commitment to aggressively address homelessness, increase access to safe, secure housing, and provide the support and the path to opportunity that people need. La Central will be a terrific example of the forward-thinking approach to housing and community development that is increasing the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout New York."

“Supportive housing brings together housing and tailored services necessary for veterans and those with health and mental health issues to achieve better stability in their lives,” Samuel D. Roberts, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), said. “The strong state commitment to projects like this are what have made New York a national leader in addressing homelessness.”

“HPD is excited to celebrate the start of construction on this long-vacant site in the Bronx. This first phase of development will create 160 supportive homes for individuals in need. I want to thank Breaking Ground and Comunilife for their partnership and I look forward to welcoming new residents into their new homes,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.

"Wells Fargo is proud to be part of Breaking Ground and Comunilife's La Central project that will provide affordable housing for formerly homeless and low-income New Yorkers. La Central is a model of affordable, sustainable development that will foster the transformation of the quality of life not just for its residents, but for the entire neighborhood. This project demonstrates what is possible when the public and private sectors come together to create affordable homes that not only serve our most vulnerable neighbors, but that adds significant value to the life of our great city,” said Alan Wiener, Managing Director of Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital.

“La Central is an important investment in the community because it will address a pressing need to end homelessness for those suffering on our streets with disabilities exacerbated by HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions,” said Jennifer Trepinski, Senior Loan Officer for CSH in New York. “Breaking Ground has an excellent reputation for delivering quality supportive housing and the neighborhood as a whole will benefit as a result of the services Comunilife will provide. These factors are the basis for a unique decision on our part to award two pre-development loans totaling $1 million to move La Central forward.”

In December 2013, the City of New York announced that the multi-property development La Central would bring 992 units of mixed-income affordable housing built in phases to the Bronxchester Urban Renewal site in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. Bordered by Bergen Avenue, Brook Avenue and East 149th Street, La Central will encompass five new buildings of mixed-income affordable housing, along with a host of new retail, community and recreation spaces including a new YMCA. The remainder of the project will be developed and managed by partners BRP Development Corporation, Hudson Companies Inc., The Kretchmer Companies, ELH Mgmt LLC, The Related Companies, and the YMCA of Greater New York.

The 1.1 million-square-foot La Central development will consist of a 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art YMCA, a new home for BronxNet Television Studios, a public skate park, and a rooftop telescope operated by the Bronx High School of Science. In addition, La Central will contain 30,000 square feet of community space and over 45,000 square feet of new retail space. Breaking Ground’s building is the first to begin construction at this major community revitalization project.

La Central, located at Bergen Avenue and East 152nd Street, will be Breaking Ground’s sixth building in the Bronx. When La Central is completed, Breaking Ground will manage 3,593 affordable units in New York City for formerly homeless and low-income New Yorkers. Breaking Ground has more than 1,500 new units of affordable and supportive housing in various stages of development in New York City.

About Breaking Ground
Breaking Ground is New York’s largest supportive housing provider. Since 1990, Breaking Ground has helped more than 13,000 people escape and avoid homelessness. Breaking Ground operates 20 transitional and permanent housing residences, primarily in New York City, providing safe, stable, beautiful housing for those who need it most. Breaking Ground also runs, under contract with DHS, street homeless outreach services in all of Brooklyn, Queens, and a portion of Manhattan.

About Comunilife
Since its founding in 1989, Comunilife has grown into one of NYC’s best-respected community-based health and housing service providers. Each year, Comunilife’s rich continuum of care supports the needs of more than 3,500 low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers.


Contact Jeff Scheuer: email or 212.389.9377