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De Blasio and local officials tour multi-million dollar rehabilitation project underway in Harlem

AmNews Staff Reports | 3/15/2016, 11:34 a.m.
A massive affordable housing preservation project will repair apartments, improve the buildings and keep the rents of 358 apartments affordable ...
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials tour rehabilitation project in Harlem Office of the Mayor

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Member Inez Dickens recently visited a $70 million, 28-building rehabilitation project underway in Harlem. The massive affordable housing preservation project will repair apartments, improve the buildings and keep the rents of 358 apartments affordable to low-income families for the next 30 years.

"Tackling our city's affordability crisis means building more affordable housing than ever before, but it also requires rehabilitating and protecting the affordable housing we have now," said de Blasio. "These upgrades and renovations to nearly 30 buildings here in Harlem, driven by a local M/WBE firm, are clear examples of the work we are doing to combat tenant displacement and ensure that people can work and live in a fairer, more affordable New York."

The building visited by Mayor de Blasio is part of a 28-building, 358-apartment portfolio in Harlem that is being preserved and rehabilitated by Genesis Companies. Genesis is a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) developer that took the City's inaugural capacity-building workshop to promote the participation of M/WBEs in the development and management of affordable housing.

"Today's announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio to have the City of New York partner with local M/WBE developer Karim Hutson of Genesis Companies in order to provide necessary rehabilitation work for over 300 families living in affordable apartments is a win-win for both our city's residents and for minority-owned businesses," said Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

Genesis has entered into a regulatory agreement with HDC and HPD restricting rents to between $30,250 for an individual (50 percent AMI) and $36,300 for an individual (60 percent AMI) for 30 years from construction completion. There is also a 20 percent set-aside for formerly homeless tenants.

The project is utilizing a $10 million City investment, along with low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds, that has allowed for significant capital repairs and upgrades. The apartment renovations include new kitchens, new bathrooms, new roofs, new windows, intercom and camera systems, new entrances, energy efficient heating systems, exterior masonry repairs, and ADA compliance upgrades in selected apartments. Construction work is fully underway and is projected to be completed next year.

"With soaring rent prices in the city, affordable housing is a number one priority for my constituents and New Yorkers," said Congressman Charlie Rangel. "I thank Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Dickens for proactively seeking ways to keep families in our neighborhoods. This new project will not only help people live in their homes but also improve their quality of life."