Project transforming run-down city buildings into ‘green’ affordable housing kicks off in Queens

March 10, 2022

Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday announced a milestone has been reached in a major project designed to improve quality of life and tackle the affordable housing crisis in Southeast Queens. Construction has begun on “Habitat Net Zero,” a project that will transform 13 run-down buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) into 16 green homes for affordable homeownership.

Through the city’s Department of Housing Preservation’s Open Door program, the project will see the destruction of 13 vacant homes previously owned by the NYCHA which will then be transformed into 16 new homes built to Passive House standards meant for affordable homeownership.

Developed by Habitat for Humanity, the homes will feature solar panels and efficient heating and cooling systems which will reduce costs and keep homes at or near net-zero energy use.

“‘Habitat Net Zero’ creates more opportunities for more families in Southeast Queens to build equity and stability through homeownership,” Karen Haycox, CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County, said. “The positive impact of these healthy, energy-efficient, and affordable homes will benefit hard-working families now and for generations to come. Our city and our state are stronger when we make room for more of us to own a piece of our communities.”

Initial sale prices of the homes will be affordable to low and moderate-income households, which could mean households with incomes that range between 51 and 120 percent of the area median income.

The properties will be transferred to the Interboro Community Land Trust (CLT) to ensure long-term affordability. The HPD will enter a 40-year regulatory agreement with the CLT, and the CLT will enter into 99-year, renewable ground leases with each new homeowner. According to the city, this project represents the first new construction of affordable homes where the land will be transferred to the CLT.

“This community represented the promise of a better life for my family, and I am going to keep that promise for generations of New Yorkers,” Adams said, referring to growing up in this part of Queens.

“Government has ignored this community for too long, denying them their fair share of investments and services — that ends in my administration. These projects will make life better for the residents of Southeast Queens today and those who will be able to move here in the future, and I’m proud to say that this is just the beginning.”

Adams also announced the completion of new water and sewer infrastructure in Rochdale. Work began on the sewer project in March 2018 after areas in Rochdale experienced repeated flooding which would sit for days before fully draining. According to a press release, more than 5,535 feet of new storm sewers were added to the neighborhood, with 2,265 feet of old sewers being replaced. To be better equipped to contain stormwater, 55 new catch basins were created with 53 of the old basins being replaced.

The sewer systems holding capacity was increased as well with the installation of three new underground chambers and the replacement of an old one. During installation, 9,235 feet of sanitary sewers were replaced and 595 feet of new sewers were installed. More than 16,160 feet of water mains were replaced to improve the system’s reliability.

The project falls under a broader $2.5 billion Southeast Queens Initiative, which includes the construction of a comprehensive drainage system and street improvements in the area.


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