Real estate investors spend $166M on group of Mitchell-Lama buildings in the Bronx
2111 Southern Boulevard; Map data ©2020 Google
A group of real estate companies has purchased eight affordable housing buildings in the Bronx for $166 million. LIHC Investment Group, Belveron Partners, and Camber Property Group last week announced the joint deal, which involves 1,275 housing units and 10 commercial units that fall under the city’s Mitchell-Lama program. The firms plan to keep the units affordable, instead of converting them to market-rate apartments when the rent regulations expire.
The eight buildings are located in the neighborhoods of Crotona, Mount Hope, and Fordham heights at 2111 Southern Boulevard, 800-820 East 180th Street, 1880 and 2000 Valentine Avenue, 1985 Webster Avenue, 2100 Tiebout Avenue, 355-365 East 184th Street, and 333 East 181st Street.
“Assembling this portfolio with like-minded, mission-driven owners is a tremendous step toward preserving even more homes for working families in the Bronx,” Andrew Gendron, the principal of LIHC, which owns a number of affordable properties in the city, said.
The Mitchell-Lama program launched in 1955 to provide affordable housing for middle-income New Yorkers, including men and women returning from service and immigrants. Under the program, nearly 270 developments with 100,000 apartments were built. But because developments can be removed from the program after 20 to 35 years and converted to market-rate units, the number of Mitchell-Lama apartments has dwindled.
Since 1989, about 20,000 units at city-run co-ops and rentals have left the program. The decline in the number of units, as well as concerns over bribery and abuse of the program, have forced the city to take action.
In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged $250 million to protect 15,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments from flipping to market-rate. And last summer, the city announced plans to include available apartments under the program on its Housing Connect site, which lists units available through the housing lottery. The city also increased oversight of the Mitchell-Lama process, after a Department of Investigation probe found some co-op board officials taking bribes in order for applicants to jump the list on the years-long waiting list.