Habitat for Humanity Joins City Partners to Celebrate the Opening of New Affordable Condominiums in Brooklyn

NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner and CEO Darryl C. Towns, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz join Habitat for Humanity New York City, Amalgamated Bank and partners to announce the opening of St. John’s Residences Condominiums. Located at 1812 St. John’s Place in Brooklyn, this development was built on formerly City-owned land and was funded with both City and Federal funding. The new development creates 12 affordable new homeownership units in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The St. John’s Residence Condominiums were developed under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). Launched in 2003, the NHMP is a multibillion dollar initiative intended to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. To date, the NHMP has funded the creation or preservation of more than 129,900 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. More than 39,689 units have been financed in Brooklyn with more than 4,280 units in Community Board 16 where the St. John’s Residence Condominiums are located.

“Buildings like the St. John’s Condominiums offer hardworking New Yorkers the opportunity to own their own home, build equity, and put down roots in the community,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “As this housing will help to better the lives of these families, their investment in these new homes will help to add a sense of place and will contribute to the revitalization and strengthening of this neighborhood. We are proud to collaborate with strong partners such as HCR, Habitat for Humanity, Speaker Quinn, Borough President Markowitz and all of our partners who help make New York more sustainable and affordable, and who have helped these families’ dreams come true.”

“I’m thrilled New Yorkers will have additional affordable housing options in Brooklyn to call home,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I commend Mayor Bloomberg, and Commissioner Wambua for partnering with Habitat to Humanity to create new affordable housing in the City, as we continue to develop initiatives that will expand affordable housing to more New Yorkers.”

“Thanks to Habitat for Humanity-New York City and the St. John’s Residences, the ‘American Dream’ of home ownership will be realized by a dozen deserving Brooklyn families in Ocean Hill-Brownsville,” said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President. “These new affordable and sustainable condos were built with the ‘sweat equity’ of their proud new owners as well as selfless Habitat volunteers—including members of my own staff—and I was thrilled to support this project to ensure that Brooklyn remains proud home of everyone from everywhere.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “St. John’s Residences captures Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to investments in affordable housing that create jobs and strengthen communities. Through the State of New York Mortgage Agency’s (SONYMA) Habitat for Humanity Mortgage Program, eligible borrowers can receive 99% financing at a fixed rate of 2%, as well as down-payment assistance. For more than 40 years, SONYMA has been one of the safest and most recognized mortgages in the nation, helping almost 155,000 New Yorkers achieve the dream of home ownership and creating stable neighborhoods across our state.”

St. John’s Residences Condominiums were built by New York City Habitat for Humanity’s volunteers alongside the buildings future homeowners. Each first-time homeowner worked at least 200 hours helping to build their future home. Each homeowner applied for the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) Habitat for Humanity Mortgage Program. The affordable condos are targeted to low-income working New York City families earning no more than 80% Area Median Income (AMI) or $63,350 for a family of four. Homebuyers pay no more than 33% of their household income on monthly housing expenses. Sales prices range from $169,995 to $186,995. All units have been sold.

St. John’s Residences Condominiums include the first homes of more than 100 Habitat-NYC homes to be built in Central Brooklyn, funded in part through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program Round 2. To date, Habitat-NYC has built 50 affordable homes in nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant and 41 homes in Ocean Hill-Brownsville.

Rachel Hyman, Acting Executive Director of Habitat-NYC said, "We are so excited to offer 12 new homes to some incredible families who built their new condos alongside hundreds of amazing NYC volunteers.”

“For me the ribbon cutting ceremony is confirmation that my family and I are about to reap the benefits from one of the greatest investments that I have ever made in my life,” said new Habitat-NYC homeowner Georgette Lee. “Not only do I consider this an awesome achievement, it’s a milestone, a new beginning, a blessing.” Georgette Lee is a Senior Administrative Aide for the New York City Police Department. She is a resident of this new building with her two grandchildren, Zayyir and Diamond.

The homes were built to LEED and ENERGY STAR green standards, for healthy, energy-efficient homes. The building features high-efficiency boilers and energy-efficient windows. The construction materials were non-toxic, sustainable and locally sourced. ENERGY STAR appliances and lighting fixtures are featured in each unit.

The total development cost for St. John’s Residences Condominiums was $7,046,798. Construction of was funded by HUD’s NSP2in the amount of $3.4 million. The formerly City-owned landwas purchased through HPD’s New Foundations Program for a nominal fee. The Brooklyn Borough President’s office provided $290,000in Reso A funds and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office contributed $560,000 in Reso A funds. Amalgamated Bank provideda construction loan in the amount of $1.2 million. Tradeweb, an institutional marketplace for government bond and mortgage trading, is among the corporate supporters of this project. Brooklyn Community Foundation and Wayside Baptist Church were vital supporters of this development.

“We congratulate Brooklyn’s newest homeowners and take pride in helping Habitat-NYC create an urban ‘Habitat’ model more than a decade ago,” said Marilyn Gelber, President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “Supporting affordable pathways to home ownership is central to the Community Foundation’s commitment to build stronger communities—and improve lives—across Brooklyn. Habitat and its team of dedicated volunteers are terrific partners in making our borough a better home for all.”

Reverend M. Zidde Hamatheite of the Wayside Baptist Church said, “I am overwhelmed with excitement to know that this project, against all odds, has persevered to reach such a profound level of completion to ensure wonderful homes for people to claim as their own at a price they can afford. I applaud the hard and diligent work of all those who have made it possible for this project to succeed and I feel blessed to be a partner with Habitat.”

Habitat for Humanity New York City (Habitat -NYC) is a non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and to create simple, decent and affordable housing for individuals and families in need. Habitat-NYC acquires land and buildings from HPD and other governmental agencies. Professional architects design the buildings and professional contractors build the exterior shells to conform to the City's strict building code. Once the exterior is complete, volunteers and Habitat-NYC family partners build the interiors and complete the finish work.