Red pin indicates location of proposed eight-story apartment building at 450 E. 158th Street discussed at a Community Board 1 meeting on Wednesday. Map: Fiifi Frimppong.

Developer presents proposal for new building

Details about a new proposal for a new eight-story apartment building at 450 E. 158th Street were made public Wednesday.

Doreen Straka, chief operating officer of Jericho Project, a 36-year-old non-profit housing organization, provided information about its proposed newest housing structure at a meeting of Community Board 1’s Economic Development, Land Use and Housing Committee.

The building, which would be the ninth operated by Jericho, will have 80 to 86 apartments, Straka said. Two-thirds will be studio units and a third will be one and two-bedroom units.

About 52 units will be provided through their supportive housing program and about 33 units will be from their affordable housing program, she told committee members.

For the units provided through supportive housing, residents will pay 30% of their income. For units in the affordable housing program, renters will pay somewhere between 30% to 50% of the area median income. Straka said an exact percentage could not be determined so early on in the process. The percentage is still uncertain because discussions about proper money distribution to fund the building and its facilities are ongoing.

The area median income, or AMI, is an income figured calculated annually by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is used to determine eligibility for affordable housing calculated based on the five boroughs and Westchester County. The 2017 AMI for the Mott Haven/Melrose area is $21,366, according to the New York University Furman Center.

All committee members at the meeting argued against the potential percentage requirements, saying that rent would be too high for Mott Haven residents. The members suggested that Mott Haven residents should pay no more than 30% of their income towards affordable housing.

Straka said the next step will be to have conversations with elected officials about the building. Land for the potential building has not been bought and nothing has been finalized. At some point, the organization hopes to be approved for city planning and receive funding to begin construction.

“If this gets approved, construction could begin early 2021,” said Straka. “Construction normally takes two years.”

The remainder of the presentation detailed the facilities the building will provide, like security, community rooms, laundry rooms, a fitness room, on-site staff offices and social service staff.

Jericho Project has won national attention for its program to end homelessness through a combination of supported housing, employment, and mental and physical health services. Its eight buildings in the Bronx and Harlem, plus apartments scattered around the city, provide 500 units of supportive housing. The nonprofit says it reaches 2,500 people through all of its services.