Two Years After Hurricane Sandy L+M Development Re-Opens Arverne View, Housing Complex Undergoes $60 Million Transformation
City Housing Leaders and Elected Officials Celebrate Arverne View and the Resiliency of the Rockaway Community During the Second Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy
Rockaway, New York – L+M Development Partners in partnership with the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) today hosted an official ribbon-cutting event for Arverne View, a 1,093 unit Mitchell-Lama affordable housing complex, nearly two years after it was devastated by hurricane Sandy. Today’s event marked the ceremonial re-opening of Arverne View, formerly known as Ocean Village, and the completion of a $60 million rehabilitation by L+M Development together with City, State and Federal partners and private lenders.
“Throughout the rehabilitation of Arverne View our goal was to provide quality homes in a great setting and at the same time preserve affordable housing for the many New Yorkers that need it,” said Ron Moelis, CEO and Founding Partner of L+M Development Partners. “Standing here on the second anniversary of hurricane Sandy — among these beautifully renovated buildings — truly makes you appreciate just how much we've accomplished. The storm-proofing and resiliency measures we’ve employed will go a long way toward better protecting our residents, and their homes, from severe weather. In addition, through our partnerships with several not-for-profits organizations we now have services and support here at Arverne View to aid those that are still recovering from the effects of the hurricane Sandy. I would like to thank our many partners including HPD, HDC, Empire State Development, the federal government and Citibank for sharing our vision of a brighter future for this community."
“Almost two years after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Rockaways, it is incredibly gratifying to see Arverne View not only restored, but transformed into a more livable, more resilient and more beautiful place to live than ever,” said HUD Regional Administrator Holly Leicht. “HUD is proud that Arverne View is the first development to be preserved through an innovative financing partnership with the U.S. Treasury Department that is making it easier to build and preserve affordable apartments in New York and across the country. Nowhere is affordable and resilient rental housing needed more than New York City, and we commend L&M Development Partners and the City of New York for this shining example.”
“We’re here today to celebrate the successful and remarkable rebirth of this development,” said Gary Rodney, President of HDC. “This was a challenging large-scale rehabilitation deal in everyone’s eyes. First, Arverne View was in severe distress financially and physically and second, when hurricane Sandy hit New York City and caused extensive damage knocking out electricity, heat and water. Implementing a sustainable preservation strategy became a priority. Now it is back, and fully renovated and occupied. We were able to restore this large complex to useful life thanks to my team at HDC, and our partners at HUD, L&M Development Partners, and Citibank. I thank them all for their efforts in ensuring that the residents of this complex have a safe, sustainable, and affordable place to live.”
“In the post-hurricane Sandy era, New York City officials recognize that resiliency and sustainability is not only important, but imperative in housing development,” said HPD Commissioner and HDC Board Chair Vicki Been. “This development’s story was highlighted as a case study in Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. The successful outcome as a result of the development team’s dedication and the perseverance of the Arverne View tenants through all trials and tribulation is a model that we in city government plan to look to for future rehabilitation and resiliency planning. I would like to thank my colleagues and staff at HDC and HPD, our partners in federal government at HUD, L+M Development and all of the project’s partners for making the renovation of this development possible and preserving the homes of affordable housing residents.”
“The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy just two years ago left many of my neighbors in the Rockaways without adequate shelter. I applaud both the public and private partnerships that came together to rebuild and restore Arverne View,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr.
“Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy threatened to completely destroy the affordable housing stock in the Rockaways,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Today, the apartment complex formerly known as Ocean Village is successfully reopening as Arverne View under the purview of New York State’s Mitchell Lama program. As a former resident of Ocean Village, I understand the importance of keeping housing options accessible for middle-income families. I will continue to welcome opportunities to provide resource based affordable housing of this caliber in my district and throughout New York City.”
L+M closed on the acquisition and construction financing for Arverne View on November 9, 2012, just days after hurricane Sandy flooded the complex with more than five feet of seawater. Even before the storm, L+M identified the property as one in need of preservation: the complex had 360 vacant units, was unable to pay its debts and suffered from significant deferred maintenance.
In partnership with HDC, HPD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Citi and L+M’s in-house preservation fund known as NYAH, the firm executed a $60 million rehabilitation covering all apartment interiors, common areas, roof replacement, mechanical and electrical equipment upgrades, landscaping and various storm-proofing and resiliency measures. In addition, the existing concrete facade was clad with an exterior insulation and finishing system to insulate the buildings, protect the buildings from water infiltration and update the property’s aesthetic.
Throughout the rehabilitation, L+M worked to ensure that Arverne View would remain a viable source of mixed-income housing for New Yorkers. The 360 vacant units were the first to be renovated, and in the months following the construction closing, these units were quickly leased and a preference for those units was given to families displaced by the storm.
The transformation of Arverne View was captured in the film Transformed: A Tale of The Rockaways, produced by Nick Davis Productions and commissioned by L+M. The film was released to the public for the first time today and is available at: http://www.arverneview.com/video/ .
The rehabilitation of Arverne View was completed with residents in place. The renovations were completed in March 2014. As part of the preservation transaction, L+M assured the Rockaway community that Arverne View would remain affordable to individuals and families earning no more than 80% of the area median income (AMI), $66,400 for a family of four. AMI levels are calculated annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Income levels for this development are set by HUD’s 2012 calculations. Additionally, 25% of the units are reserved for individuals and families earning no more than 60% AMI.
The lessons of hurricane Sandy remained in the forefront of the effort to preserve and stabilize Arverne View. The complex is now equipped with emergency generators, the buildings’ mechanical and electric infrastructure was elevated, and 14-foot barriers were installed along the shorefront. The site’s open space was redesigned by Global Design Strategies, Robin Key Landscape Architecture (RKLA) and OCV Architects and includes storm-resistant porous surfaces, salt-tolerant native plantings and 300 new trees. Today, residents enjoy private beach access, a daycare center, an on-site supermarket, and other outdoor amenities including, community gardens, play areas and a new basketball court.
When first constructed in 1974, Arverne View – then known as Ocean Village – was financed through City and Federal funds under the City-supervised Mitchell-Lama program for the benefit of working-class New Yorkers. Today, Arverne View remains true to this original intent by providing high-quality, affordable housing for low-to-moderate income families in Far Rockaway. Units range in size from studios to five-bedroom apartments.
Total development cost for Arverne View is approximately $232.3 million. HDC provided $72 million in tax-exempt recycled bonds, and $30.5 million in taxable proceeds for the preservation of this project. Financing also included a NYAH Bridge loan of $5.8 million for immediate repairs and rent-up, approximately $113.3 million in ESDC restructured debt, $589,092 in accrued NYAH interest, $800,000 in assumed reserves and $6.3 million in developer equity.
Arverne View is the pilot project for a new joint program with the U.S. Treasury and HUD, where Treasury uses the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) to purchase FHA Risk Share insured loans from Housing Finance Agencies. Under this new program, upon conversion to permanent financing Arverne View’s tax-exempt senior loan of $72,020,000 was FHA Insured (50/50) and sold to the FFB. By participating in this new program, HDC was able to reduce its borrowing costs and thus finance more affordable housing.
Arverne View sits on a 13-acre complex that consists of 1,093 units and is made up of 11 buildings varying in size from 4 to 19 stories in height. The development also includes more than 10,000 square feet of retail and an on-site daycare center and community center. There is an on-site supermarket, on-site management office, 24-hour security, laundry facilities and parking.
L+M has formed partnerships with several not-for-profit organizations to bring innovative programming and services to tenants at Arverne View.
Most recently, L+M has partnered with chashama, a non-profit organization that connects artists with vacant real estate. Through chashama’s Workspace Program, underutilized space at Arverne View that was once a storage area has been turned into working studio space for local artists. Since 1995, chashama has supported the work of over 12,000 artists and transformed 150 locations around New York City.
Through its work with CAMBA, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, L+M has helped provide assistance to families in the region who are still recovering from the effects of hurricane Sandy. CAMBA provides educational services, workforce development, including resume preparation and job placement, as well as basic legal assistance to Arverne residents at its on-site office.
On October 17th, CAMBA hosted its Health & Wellness campaign, which was attended by more than 250 Arverne View and Rockaway community residents. Healthcare professionals including Empire, United Healthcare and Medicaid were on site to help underinsured or non-insured individuals enroll in health insurance. In addition, free HIV-testing, glucose and allergy screenings were offered on site. Confidential mental health services were also offered to anyone who was interested.
Afterschool and youth programs for Arverne residents are provided by the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA), which has partnered with L+M designed programs that connect participants to the Rockaway environment. The program, known as Shore Corps, fosters environmental leadership for Rockaway high school students ages 15-19 and is operated out of RWA’s Arverne View classroom. Paid internships are provided to 15 students per cycle, many of which go on to continue their studies in STEM-related fields.
Last weekend, Shore Corps students planted over 180 trees and 10,000 plugs of beach grass along the Arverne Dune Preserve in order to help create a natural protective barrier from future storms as well as help to use the natural shoreline to raise awareness amongst young people about the many careers they can consider in STEM related fields.
L&M's support of RWA's Living Classroom Program offers free workshops and programs to more than 2,000 youngsters from the Rockaway public schools over the past year. These programs provide local youth the opportunity to learn more about the environment directly outside their schools and actively engage in activities such as fishing, gardening, marine science and recycling in the natural beauty of the Rockaways.
About the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC)
HDC is the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency and is charged with helping to finance the creation or preservation of affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. Since 2000, HDC has issued roughly 10% of all the multi-family housing revenue bonds in the U.S. and since 2003 HDC has financed 122,513 housing units using over $13.7 billion in bonds, and provided in excess of $1.5 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. HDC is the #1 issuer in the nation of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing in eight of the last ten years (2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, & 2004). HDC bonds are rated Aa2/AA+ by Moody's and S&P. In Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s annual listing of the nation’s top ten funders of multi-family housing, HDC is the only municipal entity on the list. In 2013, HDC was the third largest affordable housing lender in the U.S. after Citi and Wells Fargo, beating out Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One. Multi-family buildings financed by HDC contain more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. For additional information, visit: www.nychdc.com.
About L+M Development Partners
Founded in 1984, L+M Development Partners has been an innovator in developing quality affordable, mixed-income and market rate housing, while improving the neighborhoods in which it works. A full-service firm, L+M works from conception to completion, handling development, investment, construction and management with creativity that leads the industry. L+M is responsible for more than $2.5 billion in development, investment and construction and has created more than 15,000 high-quality units in New York’s tri-state area, the west coast and gulf coast region. Community leaders, government officials and investment organizations turn to L+M because of its consistent track record of excellence.
L+M is a double bottom line company, where its success is measured not only in financial returns but also by the positive impact it makes. L+M takes pride in its long-standing dedication to the communities it serves, demonstrated through an annual scholarship fund, job training programs and substantial support for local nonprofits. L+M brings a superior level of commitment to its investments in developments, and equally important, to its investment in people. For more information, please visit: http://lmdevpartners.com.