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Building News - June 2008

Record-Size Complex Underway

Sustainable, Affordable Housing Rising in Brooklyn

Construction is on schedule for a multifamily project in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area of Brooklyn.

Atlantic Avenue Residence, designed by Dattner Architects of New York City, will be three, four-story buildings and contain 41 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums. Each will feature Energy Star appliances and lighting fixtures as well as energy efficient windows to save an estimated 30% on utility bills for the owners, predicted developer and owner Habitat for Humanity-NYC.

Habitat for Humanity-NYC builds its largest multi-family facility. Also, elevated sports field under construction in NJ.
Habitat for Humanity-NYC builds its largest multi-family facility. Also, elevated sports field under construction in NJ.

The building will have high-efficiency boilers and landscaping with drought-resistant plants and permeable paving. It will also use non-toxic and sustainable construction materials. The 53,000-sq-ft building is registered for LEED certification.

“This will be the largest multi-family project built by Habitat for Humanity-NYC in the world,” said Josh Lockwood, executive director of Habitat for Humanity-NYC. “It will also be our greenest building in New York.”

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development sold the land to Habitat for Humanity NYC for $13 in May 2007. The $13 million project is being financed by a $7.3 million construction loan from Citibank, as well as $1.64 million from the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation through the Housing Partnership Development Corporation (the financing partner of the project), $400,000 from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, $820,000 from the Independence Community Foundation, $5.5 million in sales revenues and other donations and gifts.

As a bonus, real estate brokers from around New York City have formed Brokers Build, a fundraising coalition attempting to underwrite some of the affordable homes. “They have been out there pounding the pavement, fundraising for us,” said Lockwood. “So far they’ve raised over $100,000.”

General contractor Vertical Construction of Long Island City began work on Atlantic Avenue Residence in September 2007 and will allow new owners to move in during 2009. To qualify, owners must earn between 45% and 80% of the area’s median income ($35,450 to $56,700 for a family of four) and each adult must put in at least 300 hours of work to help build the homes. All must be first-time, low-income homebuyers.

“We are bringing home buyers to an area where the majority is renting,” said Lockwood. “At Habitat, we want to make a real community development impact.”

The condominiums in Ocean Hill Brownville are part of the NYC Housing Partnership Development Corporation’s ongoing effort to construct affordable housing. The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation recently approved $3.125 million in grants to the partnership to build 89 new homes in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Computer Firm Builds Sustainable HQ Upstate

Construction on a LEED-certified office building for Stafford Associates Computer Specialists, Inc in East Setauket, New York is currently underway.

The project is a new 30,000-sq-ft headquarters facility, housing two floors and a basement on a 3.7 acre parcel on Bennet’s Road.

It is the first green building project for construction managers TRITEC Building Company, who has been working with the design team of Peter Carradonna LEED Architect, Robert A.W. Heins Architect, EMTEC Consulting Engineers and Avitz Engineering.

To date, the most challenging aspect for the team has been the green paperwork. “Documentation is tremendous,” said Ken Abrami, vice president of Operations for TRITEC. “You lose flexibility of making modifications and now we recognize that any potential change can have an impact on the green product.”

The sustainable features will include onsite water stores tanks for roof runoff to utilize water for irrigation, green landscaping, insulated wall panels with six-inch foam installation, geothermal for heating and cooling systems and elevations have been constructed for day lighting, explained Abrami. The project team is also sorting through the debris to mitigate removal impact and using local lumber in construction.

“TRITEC has been concentrating its efforts on assuring that all project components—from design team to agency approvals to documentation tracking—have been complied with to allow compliance with certification procedures, while focusing on and maintaining project budget and cost,” said Martin DePasquale, vice president of Preconstruction Services for TRITEC.

A treed lot occupied the site before construction of the new office building. As part of the local historical society requirement, the project team will also restore the existing historical house on the plot, as a separate part of the project, said Abrami.

The $7.4 million project broke ground in December 2007 and is slated for completion in October or November 2008.


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