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Bronx residents get LEED Platinum public housing complex, rooftop farm

$37.7 million affordable housing development combines local/recycled materials and a 'green wall' in the lobby.

February 27, 2013 |
Residents of energy-efficient complex will reap the benefits of hydropon farm.

The New York City Housing Authority has opened Arbor House, a 124-unit complex in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx. The LEED Platinum building includes energy-efficient HVAC, a "green wall" lobby feature, and a 10,000-sf hydroponic farm on the roof.

Designed by ABS Architects, the $37.7 million facility is the result of a collaboration between the NYCHA, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Blue Sea Development. The public-private initiative was part of a city program to recruit private companies to develop dilapidated and vacant NYCHA land. About 2,000 units in the program are currently under construction or in pre-development in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Arbor House, an eight-story building, contains 16 studios, 33 one-bedroom apartments, and 75 two-bedroom apartments, plus superintendent quarters. Residents must earn less than 60% of the area median income ($49,800 for a family of four). Residents will start moving in during the next few weeks. HPD spokesperson RuthAnne Visnauskas says the city is pushing for more sustainable design in its public housing facilities. The rooftop farm, a first for the agency, will be operated by third party Sky Vegetables and is expected to generate money by selling produce commercially, with some of the yield set aside for building residents and other local families.

About $37 million of the project cost was subsidized via local, state, and city subsidies, Reso A funds, tax credit equities, and tax-exempt bonds. 


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