Hunts Point Revitalized By Affordable Housing
JUNE 11TH, 2002
BY PAUL MESSINA
If you think you know Hunts
Point, think again. As the neighborhood continues to improve,
its newest addition is 102 brand new housing units.
It's all part of the NYC Partnership's "New
Homes/Neighborhood Builders Program."
18,000 homes have been built under this program - homes
throughout the five boroughs - in neighborhoods that really
couldn't attract homeownership investment or private
investment prior to this program, so it's been a great
public-private partnership,” says Kathryn Wylde of the NYC
These 42 homes include two-family and
three-family homes; all for first-time homeowners.
“I'm a 35-year-old woman, I have two children, and
yes, I would never have been able to afford my own home. I'm
now a home owner and a landlord,” says Sylvia Cabassa.
The rental apartments help with mortgage payments.
Plus, subsidies bring the cost of homeownership down as well.
According to Elizabeth Velez of the Velez
Organization, “There is $100,000 on average in subsidy going
to these homeowners from the city and the borough president's
office into the project.”
So the final cost for a
two-family home is about $186,000. A three-family home is
$235,000 on average.
“These kinds of projects are
worth much more in value than just the bricks and mortar that
you see here,” says Velez. “A total of 102 families are going
to be moving into this two-block area, so the impact on the
community cannot be measured.”
But the developer – The
Velez Organization - still needed help to make this project a
reality. That's where individual investor Jerome Chazen came
“They did need some help on the equity side.
Fortunately, I was able to provide it, and look what we got!
It's great!” says Chazen.
But by coincidence, Chazen's
investment turned out to have a personal connection. He grew
up on this block.
“Yes I did, right across the
street,” he says. “And when it turned out that they were
actually going to build new affordable housing right where I
grew up, I was blown away. I said, it must be some kind of
fate that brought me here.”
So not only are current
and future residents benefiting, but one former resident is
“What we found is it creates value that
has a ripple effect throughout the neighborhood,” says Wylde.
“So you'll see investments in the apartment buildings and in
the other existing homes; people will fix up, because now they
have real value in their homes.”
“It’s an example of
the revival that has occurred in the Bronx,” says Bronx
Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. “But this is special and
unique because it's Hunts Point, and there was a sense that
people would not want to come here and not want to invest, and
every home has been sold.”
Hunts Point is truly on the
way up, and the proof is on Bryant Avenue.