By Cindy Goldstein -
At a Board of Trustees (BOT) work session on November 15, one of the two responders to the Village’s Request for Proposals (RFP) presented their vision for building a fully affordable rental apartment building on the site of the current parking structure across from old Village Hall. All four trustees attended the meeting (Mayor Murphy was absent) and Deputy Mayor Lou Young ran the meeting.
Deputy Mayor Lou Young started the meeting by stating there would be a public meeting in December and guaranteed that would happen. (The second responder presented at a BOT work session on November 21.) Both proposals would be discussed at this public meeting with the goal of choosing one of the proposals quickly.
Various professionals appeared on behalf of the Washingtonville Housing Alliance (WHA) and Westhab, Inc. who described the two organizations as having formed a “strategic partnership” in 2014 but were separate non-profit organizations working together as co-developers in this project. WHA has a local board of directors and currently manages 40 units of affordable housing in the Village.
Hunter Terrace (See Full Project Proposal HERE) would provide the following:
· 77 units of high-quality permanently affordable housing at various income levels
· A 2,370 square foot community space that would be available for community events
· 122 parking spaces: 70 spaces for residents (all below grade) and 52 public spaces
· Office space for the Community Resource Center and WHA while working on the premises. (The community room can be used for a classroom, meetings or fundraisers.)
Description of the Apartments
The six-story building would accommodate a range of family sizes with a mix of studios, one-, two- and three- bedroom apartments ranging in size from 450 square feet (for a studio) to 1,175 square feet for a three-bedroom. Each apartment would have high quality and durable materials including wood cabinets, stone countertops, ceramic tile backsplashes, spacious closets and all-electric energy efficient stainless steel appliances, water-saving plumbing fixtures that result in an eco-friendly building with lower tenant utility bills. Solar panels and a generator are also planned.
The first floor lobby and adjacent resident lounge would be 1,000 square feet with a double-height ceiling. A 1,750 square foot rooftop space would also be created and have views of Long Island Sound and the Downtown. The first-floor community space could be available during flood events as a short-term refuge.
The Affordability Factor
Affordability of the units would be based on income tiers ranging from 30% to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). See AMI HERE. For example, rent on a two bedroom apartment would range from $991 (30% AMI) to $2,644 (80% AMI). It is anticipated that low to middle income workers would include police officers, firefighters, teachers, health care workers and retail workers. As an example, AMI for a family of four in Westchester County is $146,800. So, a family of four with an annual income between $40,040 and $117,440 would be eligible to live here.
Who Will Live There?
The marketing for these apartments must meet all local, County and State affirmative fair housing marketing and qualification requirements. A lottery process is used to choose tenants after income verification has been undertaken. The primary target market area is the Village and Town of Mamaroneck with the secondary target market covering a 9 county area including Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Fairfield Counties and all five boroughs of New York City. Based on prior experience, they expect that a large number of applicants will be from the Village and the majority from Westchester County. Each tenant must have their income verified annually to make sure they still fall within the affordability guidelines.
Follow the Money
The Village would receive $5 million for the property of which approximately $1.5 million would be given back to the developer for the construction of the public parking. The net payment to the Village would be $3.5 million. The Village would receive revenue from the public parking, but the details need to be worked out.
The sponsors stated that real estate taxes (School, Town, County and Village) would be paid on the property, but no amount was identified.
Impact on Schools
The proposal asserts that apartment developments result in far fewer children per unit than single-family homes. They anticipate that upon completion the building would have between 28 and 33 children residing there. Mamaroneck Avenue School is the public elementary school where resident children would attend.
Q & A
After the presentation the trustees asked some questions. No one from the public was allowed to speak at this meeting.
Deputy Mayor Young indicated he did not want to give up ownership of the property. He was told that they could execute a 99 year lease where rent would be paid to the Village but that a transfer of the property had to be made at least for a short period so that the project would be eligible for a land acquisition grant that is needed to start the construction.
Trustee Lucas asked about the affordability of the building into the future and was told it would be affordable in perpetuity. Lucas also asked if any social support services would be provided to tenants and the response was no.
Trustee Yizar-Reid was interested in stormwater management and also asked if there could be preference given to seniors and the handicapped. She was advised that there could not be a preference given to seniors.
Trustee Rawlings wanted to make sure the Village could use the community space and was assured it could. He also inquired if wi-fi was available and if it would be included in the rent. The answer was yes.
If this proposer is chosen by the Village, their time estimate for the approvals process is about 2 years with demolition and construction taking another 2 years after that. Their estimated lease- up date is December 2027.