Major 3P Development Coming to the Bronx

The $156 million mixed-use project will convert two parcels of underused land adjacent to St. Barnabas Hospital.

By Gail Kalinoski

The St. Barnabas Wellness Care and Affordable Housing project, the Bronx, NYC, rendering
The St. Barnabas Wellness Care and Affordable Housing project, the Bronx, NYC, rendering

New York—A public-private partnership is planning a $156 million mixed-use development in the Bronx with a focus on increasing affordable housing and improving health and wellness opportunities for the residents of the New York City borough.

The St. Barnabas Wellness Care and Affordable Housing project, which will provide 450,000 square feet of affordable housing and expanded medical and wellness services, is being developed by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), SBS Health System, L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners. The initiative is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $20 billion commitment to create more housing and address homelessness, at the same time advancing the goals of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan to also create and preserve affordable housing.

The development will promote quality housing and preventative health strategies to help reduce Medicaid costs and hospitalizations. It combines affordable and supportive housing with a range of on-site services to promote wellness. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2018.

The project will convert two parcels of underused land adjacent to St. Barnabas Hospital, which is the flagship of the SBH Health System, into 314 units of housing for low-income households. Thirty percent of the units in the Belmont neighborhood development will be set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families. The housing and other parts of the project will be split between two locations—4451 3rd Ave., or the North Site, and 4439 3rd Ave., the South Site.

The North Site will have a two-tower, 7- to 11-story building with 181 units of affordable housing. SBH Health System will use about 57,000 square feet of space for an ambulatory care center, pediatric center, women’s health center and a mind-body center with indoor and outdoor fitness areas and a kitchen to teach healthy eating and recipes. Fresh produce for the teaching kitchen will be grown on the building’s rooftop farm operated by Project EATS.

The South Site will feature a 12-story building with 133 units of affordable housing, a community room, a laundry room, bike room and outside recreation space. It will also include a daycare with extended hours for hospital staff, patients and working families that need childcare at off-hours.

Spread between the two sites, there will be 95 units of housing for formerly homeless families and individuals that will provide on-site services.

Designed by Dattner Architects, the development will be built with several wellness components, including encouraging use of stairs, advanced air filtration to help combat vehicle emissions, and interior paint that breaks down air pollutants. Solar panels will be installed at both sites. The buildings will be smoke-free and the sale of cigarettes or any tobacco products will not be permitted in any of the retail spaces.

NYS HCR provided $71.7 million in fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds and mortgage loans—including a $20.8 million permanent loan—through its Housing Finance Agency, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), $7.5 million in Medicaid Redesign Team funds, $1.5 million in Urban Community Investment Funds for the construction of the retail component, and additional subsidy. NYC HPD provided a $36.8 million subsidy. Along with developer subsidy, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. provided a $1 million loan and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded $282,000. Wells Fargo is the private construction lender providing credit enhancement for the tax-exempt bonds.

“This project will be one of our borough’s premier new developments,” Diaz said in a prepared statement. “The synergism of housing, wellness and commercial components is a unique concept and one that will realize not only affordable rental housing for my constituents, but also a health and wellness-enriched environment with retail serving the needs of the community.”

Last summer, the NYC HPD teamed with the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs to also build affordable housing in the Bronx. The project, part of the de Blasio administration’s housing plan, developed 89 units of housing for formerly homeless veterans and at-risk young adults in a 10-story building at 2065 Walton Ave.

Rendering courtesy of Dattner Architects