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NEW YORK CITY-Making a commitment to affordability extending over a period of at least 50 years, the Arker Cos. and the Domain Cos. have signed a 99-year lease for several century-old buildings on Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Nursing Home campus. The joint venture will convert the buildings into 104 units of mixed-income independent living for seniors age 62 and older.

The Long Island-based Arker Cos. and the Astoria-based Domain Cos. leased the property from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. to create the $30-million development. The new owners plan to redevelop the landmark buildings, while preserving the qualities of one of the city’s few “Special Natural Districts” and to meet the standards of the New York State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service. Renovation work is scheduled to be completed by January 2009. HPD commissioner Shaun Donovan notes that the affordable units will be part of Mayor Bloomberg’s $7.5-billion New Housing Marketplace Plan, to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years.

Both the NYCHPD and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.–among other parties–assisted with financing for the project, which will be known as Park Lane at Sea View. “Sea View will soon be reborn as a first-rate residential community for seniors,” notes Allan Arker, principal with the Arker Cos. The lease also received significant support from City Council Minority Leader James Oddo, whose district includes Sea View Hospital.

“This first-class residential complex will be developed with an emphasis on affordability, energy efficiency and a spirit of community,” notes Matt Schwartz, principal with the Domain Cos. City assistance was made possible by the Health and Hospitals Corp. in the form of a 99-year lease on the property and the HPD providing a $6-million loan through the Article 22 Program. Centerline Capital will provide $14.6 million through the sale of HPD housing tax credits and historic credits. HPD also provided an enhanced J-51 tax abatement. Bank of America provided a $5.2-million construction loan and MMA will provide a commitment for $5.2 million of permanent financing through Fannie Mae; $2 million came from Oddo.

The hospital was originally built in 1913 to assist tuberculosis patients. “Our perseverance through seemingly endless challenges is paying off and senior housing will finally be built on the Sea View campus,” Oddo says.

The Sea View model of independent living will be the only facility of its kind on Staten Island, offering a new “lifestyle” concept to the borough’s senior population, according to a public statement. Amenities will include a common lounge and dining area, exercise room, library, beauty salon and on-site security. Residents will have access to such services as housekeeping and prepared meals, and will have the option of utilizing a full-time service coordinator to help arrange for medical care. The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a leader in administering service programs for senior citizens citywide, will coordinate the administration of the service program.

In the past three years, the Arker/Domain partnership has collaborated on the creation or preservation of 1,639 units of affordable housing and 60,000 sf of neighborhood retail in four New York City boroughs. The partners have done so by utilizing 22 different city, state and federal programs, including being the first to utilize two such programs in the creation of affordable housing.

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