Flushing set to get affordable housing, retail space

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A nearly $50 million project will soon bring 143 new units of affordable housing to the Flushing community, as well as additional retail space.
A nearly $50 million project will soon bring 143 new units of affordable housing to the Flushing community, as well as additional retail space.

A nearly $50 million project will soon bring 143 new units of affordable housing to the Flushing community, as well as additional retail space.

Last week, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew Wambua, the city’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Marc Jahr, project developer BRP Companies Managing Partner Meredith Marshall, and Macedonia AME Church Senior Pastor Reverend Richard McEachern announced they have closed on $49.6 million in construction financing for the Macedonia Plaza mixed-use development.

Located at 136-50 37th Avenue, Macedonia Plaza will add 143 newly-constructed units of affordable housing. This project, which will be developed by BRP Companies, will transform an underused municipal parking lot into a thriving community hub with affordable low-income apartments, community facility space and economic opportunity through the addition of new retail space.

Macedonia Plaza is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). The NHMP is a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of Fiscal Year 2014. For every dollar invested by the city, the NHMP has leveraged $3.41 in private funding, amounting to a total commitment to date of more than $19.4 billion to fund the creation or preservation of over 130,700 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs. More than 12,519 units have been financed in Queens.

“Financing the transaction that allows Macedonia Plaza to be built is another important step in fulfilling the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan’s goal of creating or preserving 165,000 home by the close of the 2014 fiscal year,” said Wambua. “To date we’ve financed the construction or preservation of more than 130,700 homes, and every one of those units represents a family in need. In BRP Companies and Macedonia AME Church we have dedicated partners who are helping to bring affordable, sustainable housing to the Flushing community, and an opportunity for stability to hardworking New York families.”

Macedonia Plaza will be constructed on approximately 30,000 square-feet of the current municipal parking lot, which was conveyed to the developer at a nominal cost to help subsidize the affordability of this development.

When complete, Macedonia Plaza will be 14 stories tall with 143 affordable apartments;113 of the apartments will be available to low-income families earning not more than $48,140 for a family of four. Nearly 30 of the apartments will be available for low-income families earning not more than $31,540 for a family of four. There will be one apartment reserved for the building’s superintendent. The unit distribution will include 27 studios, 58 one‐bedroom apartments, 55 two‐bedroom apartments, and two three‐bedroom apartments. It is anticipated that construction will be complete in the spring of 2014.

The total development cost for the Macedonia Plaza project is $49.6 million. HDC is providing a $26.3 million first mortgage and $9.3 million in tax-exempt bond subsidy through its Low-Income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP). HPD is providing $5.1 million in city capital funding and $1.7 million in federal HOME funding. Hudson Housing Capital is providing $1.8 million in tax credit equity, and BRP Companies has allocated $5.4 million for this project.

In additional to the affordable residential component, the Macedonia Plaza development will include approximately 6,287 square-feet of new retail space, and 2,767 square-feet of community space. It will also incorporate green building practices and amenities consistent with the city’s mission to produce affordable, healthy and sustainable housing.

The project site will incorporate air rights from the adjacent Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which recently celebrated its bicentennial and is one of the oldest houses of worship in Queens.

“I am elated that the construction of affordable housing by the Macedonia AME Church is about to begin,” said Councilmember Peter Koo. “This development will create homes for the most socio-economic disadvantage citizens of Flushing and is a reflection that affordable housing concerns still remain as a fundamental need in our communities.”