In a year marked by economic turmoil and housing insecurity, NP forged ahead on important initiatives that address the growing needs of our communities.
While lingering economic slowdowns disrupted many of our clients’ developments, our teams worked to devise creative solutions to change the course and help developments move forward. We partnered with community groups, public agencies, and private organizations to support those who were hit the hardest.
Our work is about much more than buildings. Ultimately, it’s about creating spaces where vulnerable people in our communities can truly feel at home. Please read on for a look at some of our high-impact client partnerships that made these developments possible.
We represented Beacon Communities in a redevelopment project that will create one of the largest affordable housing communities in Massachusetts for people experiencing chronic homelessness.
Located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, this acquisition of the 100-year-old historical YWCA building at 140 Clarendon Street will include a mix of commercial, educational, and cultural uses while also creating 210 new permanently affordable apartments. 111 of those apartments will be reserved for individuals currently experiencing homelessness.
“This development hits at the heart of our shared mission to create quality homes for those the traditional market doesn’t serve and the City’s goal of re-envisioning the emergency shelter system,” said Darcy Jameson, Beacon Communities vice president of development. Beacon Communities will partner with The Pine Street Inn to provide residents with coordinated support, including on-site counseling and primary and mental health services. This partnership will result in a community that is focused on health and well-being, financial stability, and connection, all key factors in maintaining housing stability.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve teamed up with JASA—a nonprofit client that provides housing and supportive services to low-income older adults—on multiple projects to create safe, affordable, and accessible apartments in prime locations throughout New York City. Most recently, we helped JASA refinance two existing properties in Queens and Brooklyn, both undergoing multi-million-dollar renovations that will result in more modern amenities, services, and living spaces. The upgrades are subsidized by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loans and Section 8 assistance.
In addition to these refinancing transactions, we are also assisting JASA with two new construction projects in the Bronx, both financed with tax credit equity. In June, JASA and its joint venture partners broke ground on Casa Celina, a 205-unit affordable housing development for seniors. We performed similar work for the 1490 Southern Boulevard development in the South Bronx, which delivered 114 sustainably built, affordable residential units this year.
Our work with JASA this year has created or preserved 600 units for older low-income New York residents.
In JASA’s own words, “Our partnership with Nixon Peabody has helped elevate our agency as a real leader, not only within the nonprofit sector but industry-wide. This partnership could not have come at a more critical time; in the midst of the pandemic, what has become clear is the need to capitalize on any opportunity that will help allow all NYC seniors to age in place and with dignity. Because of their support, we have been able to provide increased resources and services for seniors and expand the supply of senior affordable housing in our city."
Our affordable housing team facilitated the construction closing for a large supportive housing project, funded in part by Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity, that will create 100 units of permanent supportive housing above a major transit hub in Washington, DC. Situated atop the Stadium-Armory Metro station, this development is a major step forward in expanding access to opportunity for low-income residents. It will include a new plaza and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail connecting the Metro station to the new site. We represented the developer, Donatelli Development, in the transaction that will make this vision a reality.
“We are pleased to be a continuing part of the neighborhood and the Mayor’s vision for the city and affordable housing,” said Chris Donatelli, president and CEO of Donatelli Development.
In addition to a $52.5 million construction loan from EagleBank through the DC Housing Financing Agency's risk share program, this development is also funded by $17.5 million in tax credit equity from PNC Bank and a 15-year Local Rent Supplement Program Contract from the DC Housing Authority for rental assistance to all units. This deal is a testament to the power of private-public partnerships in making our nation’s most expensive cities more inclusive for all.
Stone House in Boston, which provides comprehensive, integrated services, including affordable housing, to survivors of domestic violence, is now welcoming its first residents to a new multiuse building, thanks in part to the dedication of our NP team. Along with our clients, we remained committed to this vision over the course of several years despite challenges that threatened to derail the project. Our involvement began in 2019. We helped the organization close a complex financing deal that combined low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and new markets tax credits to create 32 units of affordable family housing, a daycare center, program space, and a new headquarters for Stone House. Construction commenced in 2019, and after substantial delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it wrapped by the end of 2020. Then, this past January—right before the building’s scheduled opening—a malfunctioning sprinkler system caused serious water damage throughout the property. When the resulting devastation led to a dispute with the insurance provider, our team stepped in to help. We worked diligently to address the insurance problems and recoup the money needed to repair the building.
“Because of Nixon Peabody, 32 families whose lives had been derailed by domestic violence now have safe homes at Stone House. This project faced more than its share of challenges, but at every point, Nixon Peabody stood with us,” said Nancy Owens Hess, CEO of Stone House.
As a result of this joint effort, the development was able to proceed and provide critical resources to domestic violence survivors. Stone House has now moved residents into the finished apartments at a critical time of year.
Van Dyke III
The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn is celebrating the arrival of Van Dyke III, a 12-story, mixed-use, 100% affordable housing project that recently welcomed its first residents.
The complex consists of 179 permanently affordable apartments for low-income households. A portion of these units accommodates supportive housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Perhaps most notably, the building contains an array of services that address childhood education, mental and physical wellness, recreation, and more—making it a comprehensive mixed-use community.
Our client, Trinity Financial, developed the complex on underutilized land associated with an existing New York City Housing Authority site with funding from both private and public entities.
“It has been incredibly rewarding for Trinity and our partners to work so closely with New York City Housing Authority, the Van Dyke Residents, and the greater Brownsville community to successfully develop such a transformational project providing much-needed affordable and supportive housing in addition to ground floor community space,” said Thomas Brown, vice president of Development at Trinity Financial.
We helped our client navigate financing through state and local agencies as well as LIHTC investors, who contributed nearly $40 million to the development. The diversity of funding and support was crucial to the successful outcome of this building. Through our work with public officials, developers, and funders, we created a positive impact for a population in need.
We’re proud to have played a role in the opening of Dayspring Commons, an affordable and supportive housing development in Westchester County, New York. Nestled in the Nodine Hill neighborhood of southwest Yonkers, the Dayspring Campus features a newly constructed apartment complex containing 63 affordable and supportive housing units, 37 of which are reserved for formerly homeless families. It also boasts a state-of-the-art community center available to the entire Nodine Hill neighborhood.
We represented Westhab in a sophisticated transaction that led to the development of both the residential building and the revamped community center, which was previously a church. We also navigated a complex real estate structuring that entailed multiple deed and leasehold transfers, as well as financial assistance from the County of Westchester. Additionally, the financing included LIHTC, tax-exempt bonds from the New York State Housing Finance Agency, and mortgage loans.
“We envision the Dayspring campus as an anchor institution for the community and a catalyst for additional community development investment,” said Richard Nightingale, president and CEO of Westhab. “Nodine Hill has been calling for a Dayspring, and Westhab is excited to deliver. We are deeply grateful to the community, our partners, and the entire Dayspring village that helped this vision become a reality.”
This transformative project was indeed a team effort. We worked collaboratively with our client, state and local government, and other financing partners to provide a stable, safe home for a population in need.
In conjunction with RDC Development and other clients, NP is working on a sweeping initiative that will rehabilitate affordable housing infrastructure throughout New York City. NP is representing a number of affordable housing developers partnering with NYCHA to revitalize older NYCHA developments, while preserving affordability, protecting residents’ rights, and vastly improving the condition of these older buildings. Three of these transactions closed in late 2021, bringing critical renovation to some of the city’s most distressed public housing. Our team is representing clients across the development spectrum that are renovating sites in need of capital repairs and upgrades, including the Williamsburg Houses, Linden Houses, and Boulevard Houses—all in Brooklyn—as well as Harlem River I and II Houses in Manhattan, which will close early in 2022. Williamsburg Houses is being developed by RDC Development, a partnership between clients MDG Design & Construction and Wavecrest Management, who previously closed two NYCHA public housing conversions with NP, including Betances in the Bronx. New and improved apartments in 40 buildings at Betances opened earlier this year.
“The conversion of Betances provides low-income New Yorkers with a place they are finally proud to call home. The renovations, access to services, and continued affordability have breathed new life into the community. We are thrilled to have worked with our longtime partners at Nixon Peabody to swiftly bring this transformation to the residents of Betances,” said Joseph Camerata, president of Wavecrest Management and principal of RDC Development.
“A transaction as large and complex as Betances requires seamless coordination, flexibility, and true expertise. The public sees and gives praise for the renovations and site beautification, which transform the physical site, but what they don't see is the tireless work behind the scenes to make these projects possible,” said Matthew Rooney, CEO of MDG Design + Construction and Principal of RDC Development.
Many of the NYCHA buildings are more than 50 years old, and the improvements made under this restoration initiative will enhance livability for thousands of low-income New Yorkers. Moreover, in converting the developments to Section 8 status, the initiative leverages significant financing resources for the properties and has a real, long-term impact on the New York City housing landscape.
When it comes to affordable housing and community development, collective buy-in is crucial. We’re proud to be part of the overall team that moves these and many other developments forward every day across the country. Strong communities form the bedrock of our cities and states. We look forward to continuing the momentum in 2022 to make an even greater impact.
A number of people at NP collaborated on the work highlighted, including:
Joe Lynch, Susanna Mitchell, and Deborah VanAmerongen—Van Dyke III