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CPCR, EBC and CCPOP celebrate $39m renovation of Riverdale Osborne Towers -New York Real Estate Journal

Brooklyn, NY CPC Resources (CPCR), Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation (CCPOP), East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) and community residents were joined by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and other state and local government and housing officials as they celebrated the complete rehabilitation of Riverdale Osborne Towers – four, 9-story buildings containing an aggregate of 523 affordable units for low-income families in the Brownsville section of the city.

After reviewing the overall situation and developing a long-term strategy to preserve affordability, Catholic Charities selected CPCR to re-develop the site and oversee the renovations. EBC, which has been responsible for the transformation of many vacant blocks in the East Brooklyn community through its Nehemiah Plan, played an integral part in making sure changes were made at Riverdale Osborne. EBC, who had offices on the property, recognized the poor conditions the families were living in and helped tenants to organize, fight for their rights and work with Catholic Charities and CPCR to make sure new management fixed the problems plaguing the building.

Thanks to the involvement of senator Charles Schumer, a vital partner in this project, Riverdale Osborne Towers secured the approval of over $36 million in city tax credits and loans, for a total development cost of $39 million that were very close to expiring in late 2007.

Financing for the renovations came from a $19.4 million CPC construction loan and a $4.99 million PLP loan from HPD. Financing will also include $12.1 million in equity raised through the sale of 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by HPD and $2.5 million in additional equity provided by the partnership. A permanent loan will be provided by the NYCERS Pension Fund with SONYMA insurance.

“I am so proud to see that officials of all levels of our government are seriously addressing the issues and concerns of Brownsville by providing the resources that it deserves,” said Clarke. “I am happy to say that Riverdale Osborne Towers Housing Associates LLC was awarded $1,492,506 in grant funding from the Stimulus Package passed earlier this year to help supplement the rehabilitation cost. Again, I am happy to take part in such a great celebration and I look forward to witnessing the fruits of this endeavor.”

Michael Lappin, president and CEO of CPC Resources and The Community Preservation Corporation, said, “Through our unique partnership with the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens and the Archdiocese of New York, CPCR is embarking on a multi-year program to redevelop more than 50 properties into thousands of units of affordable housing. The seeds for this special partnership were planted through the work that our organizations did together in making the rehabilitation of the Riverdale Osborne Towers a success. It will be a model for how we work together to provide quality, affordable housing to New York’s low-income families.”

“HUD has no greater priority than ensuring that HUD-subsidized developments provide its residents with decent, safe and affordable housing,” said Teresa Bainton, director of Multifamily Housing in HUD’s New York Regional Office. “That is why I am so pleased and proud of CPC Resources and Catholic Charities’ commitment to creating quality affordable housing that will help to transform the lives of countless numbers of families throughout New York City. This was a true public-private partnership that HUD is very proud to have been part of and that, hopefully, can serve as a road map for other troubled developments to follow.”

“Everybody deserves to come home to a place where they can feel safe and secure. The extraordinary commitment that produced this success story has helped ensure we can provide that peace of mind for the hundreds of New York families here at the Riverdale Osborne Towers,” said HPD commissioner Rafael Cestero. “Preserving the city’s affordable housing stock is a critical component in our efforts to stabilize and strengthen New York neighborhoods. I thank Senator Schumer for his leadership, and our partners like CPCR, Catholic Charities, and East Brooklyn Congregation for helping us to create new opportunity through the preservation and protection of this affordable housing here in the Brownsville community.”

“The preservation of affordable housing is critical to health and vitality of New York City’s neighborhoods,” said Bill Frey, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “Enterprise’s is proud to have invested $12.1 million in tax credit equity for the rehabilitation of Riverdale Osborne Apartments. This project exemplifies our deep commitment to making sure that every New Yorker has a safe and affordable place to call home and we will continue to advocate for the continued investment in affordable rental housing in New York City and across the country.”

Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Vicar for Human Services, Diocese of Brooklyn, said “Catholic Charities is delighted with the wonderful transformation CPCR has accomplished at Riverdale Osborne. The improvement in the living conditions is a testament to a deep respect for the tenants and their families. The residents of Riverdale Osborne Towers now have the quality housing they deserve thanks to the hard work of Senator Schumer, CPCR, HUD, EBC, HPD and Latham & Watkins, and the Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation.”

“Home should be a safe haven, and no one should have to endure dangerous and unhealthy living conditions,” said Robert Siebel, chief executive officer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. “Through this project, we have brought positive changes to the lives of Riverdale Osborne tenants and rebuilt a vital part of the Brownsville community. We are pleased to be a part of this transformative event.”

“Before this transformation, every time I walked into my building, I had to pray that at least one of our elevators would be working,” said Jacqueline Melendez, an EBC tenant leader and resident of a ninth floor apartment. “Now thanks to the hard work of the EBC tenant leaders, and our partners like CPC, I no longer have to worry about that. Our buildings have been radically transformed for the better in many ways, and we will continue to work with CPC to ensure that this spectacular progress continues.”

CPCR proposed a financial structure to preserve the property as affordable housing and tapped proven, “hands on” partners and property managers Demetrios Moragianis and John Lankenau to help transform the property into quality housing for the more than 1,500 residents who live there.

Renovations included the installation of all new windows in all apartments, two new roofs, three new boilers, replacement of all 8 elevators, new kitchens in every unit, ceramic tile in the hallways, two new state-of-the-art gas-fired furnaces for heat & hot water, replacement of exterior parapet and deteriorating brick work and a new intercom system. Security cameras were installed and security guards were hired to patrol the grounds. New gates and new apartment entry doors were installed. A new lobby entrance and management office were created to further enhance security.

Moragianis said, “When there is cause for change and betterment, no task is too great! Riverdale Osborne Towers reflects the careful planning and pooling of resources that made it possible to bring quality of living to its residents.”