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BRONX, NY-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg completed the first affordable housing development in New York State’s history to qualify for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes designation from the US Green Building Council. Morrisania Homes, a 64-unit affordable housing development in the South Bronx comprised of 16 three-family and eight two-family houses, was financed collaboratively by state, city and private funding.

“This successful development proves that we can have it both ways–we can increase the number of affordable homes, which is essential for working New Yorkers to achieve economic security, and we can do so in a way that also protects the environment and increases energy efficiency,” says Spitzer in a prepared statement. “Green buildings represent a new frontier in the development of sustainable, affordable housing and will help lay the groundwork for a cleaner, healthier and more affordable future.”

Bloomberg adds that “the Morrisania Homes show that affordable housing can also be sustainable housing. As we work to build housing for the million new people expected to come to New York by 2030, we need to ensure that we are building homes that people can afford and that allow the city to grow in an environmentally responsible way.” The new homes, Bloomberg explained are part of the city’s 165,000 unit affordable housing plan. In July, New York City surpassed its annual target for affordable housing, as GlobeSt.com reported. “Nearly 65,000 units have already been financed through the plan, putting us on track to complete the plan on schedule,” he says.

The homes meet LEED-H requirements for water efficiency, sustainable site planning, energy, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and design process. All of the homes’ indoor features are Energy Star certified, signifying that energy consumption is at least 30% less than comparable standard features, and include high-efficiency sealed combustion boilers, lighting fixtures, and recyclable carpeting. LEED-H requires that new occupants receive detailed instructions and training on the sustainability of their homes. The Morrisania Homes are located within two-blocks of public transportation in the Bronx.

The New York State Affordable Housing Corp. provided a grant of more than $1.5 million, which funded the first phase of the development. In addition, the city provided approximately $1.9 million in subsidies and Borough President Adolfo Carrión provided more than $453,115 in additional funding. Council member Helen Foster funded $40,000 for the preparation of the alternative site for the community gardens. JP Morgan Chase provided a construction loan of more than $6.6 million.

Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Shaun Donovan says “the Morrisania Homes represent a significant step forward in integrating affordable housing with environmental sustainability. As New York’s population grows, integrating these two concepts will be crucial to the well-being of the city, its residents, and the environment we all share. Part of the success of the mayor’s PlaNYC is ensuring that residents also have access to transportation and open space. By bringing these elements of a healthy community together, the Morrisania Homes serve as an example for future developments around the city.”

The Morrisania Homes are being developed by Blue Sea Development through HPD’s Partnership New Homes Program and financed through the New York State Affordable Housing Corp. Families of four earning approximately $42,000 are eligible to apply for the two- and three-family homes.

The development consists of two phases, with the second phase to be completed in the fall, which will add 12 additional units and will result in four three-family homes. In total, 76 affordable units will be created.

Housing Partnership Development Corp. pulled the deal together as the intermediary for this successful public private partnership according to a company spokesperson.

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