The New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency approved $39.5 million in tax breaks for two proposed apartment towers on Oct. 28.
The projects, at 11 Garden St. and 14 LeCount Place, will cost nearly $235 million and create 392 dwellings.
The Garden Street building is a departure from most IDA-supported projects, in that all 219 apartments will be rented as affordable housing, and many tenants will have incomes significantly less than average for the region.
The IDA typically requires housing developers to set aside 10% of their units as affordable for people who make no more than 80% of the area median income. The Garden Street apartments will be leased to people who make as little as 30% of the prevailing income.
By allowing affordable housing to be concentrated in one place, the IDA is also allowing RXR Realty to lease an entire building at market rate rents.
Michael Yellin, representing New Rochelle Alliance for Justice, called the proposal a “bad idea” during the public hearing before the board voted.
Affordable housing should not be segregated, he said, or banked to allow other developers to avoid their obligations.
Yellin said he does not oppose the Church Street project, but RXR should have to include affordable housing in all of its buildings.
“I’d rather have a bird in hand,” board member Ivar Hyden said. “I agree with Michael Yellin on policy. It’s much healthier to have affordable units in each individual project …. But for now, I’m happy to see this building at these levels of affordability.”
The Garden Street project is being developed by Georgica Green Ventures, Jericho, NY, across the street from the New Rochelle Metro-North train station.
The 19-story High Garden Towers, as it has been named, will cost about $132 million. It will include parking for 176 cars and office space for a non-profit organization that will run a small business incubator. New Destiny Housing Corp. will lease 77 apartments for victims of domestic abuse.
Public subsidies totaling more than $28.7 million include a $690,000 mortgage tax exemption, $3.5 million sales tax exemption, and property tax abatement that will save the developer $24.5 million over 30 years.
By the third year, the tax abatement deal will fall short of the taxes needed to cover the costs of educating a projected 11 students living in the building. But the overall benefits of the project, according to an analysis by the National Development Council, will exceed the tax abatement shortfall by $14.7 million.
Most of the difference is derived from valuing the affordable housing as a $27.7 public benefit. The project is also expected to create 200 construction jobs, seven fulltime jobs and 2 part-time jobs.
The project will be financed by a complex mixture of public and private funds, including tax-exempt bonds, the sale of federal and state low-income tax credits, the sale of Brownfield tax credits, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal financing.
Construction is expected to begin in January and finish by July 2023.
The 14 LeCount Place project is the second part of a $268 million development by Wilder Balter Partners, Chappaqua, and L+M Development Partners, Larchmont. The first phase, a 27-story residential and retail complex, is under construction.
The new 27-story building will cost an estimated $102.7 million. It will include a parking garage, 6,500 square feet of retail space, outdoor terraces, and a fitness room. Eighteen apartments will be leased as affordable housing to people who make no more than 80% of the region’s median income.
The IDA granted more than $10.7 million in tax breaks, including $634,900 mortgage tax exemption, $3,040,000 sales tax exemption and property tax abatement for 20 years that will save nearly $7.1 million.
The project is expected to create 346 construction jobs and four fulltime jobs.
The developers hope to begin construction in October 2021 and finish by October 2023.
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