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Harlem's Answer to the Shortage of Affordable Housing? Build New Co-ops.

Harlem, Manhattan

Affordable co-ops, Harlem development, Open Door Program, minority-owned business.

An affordable housing cooperative will soon rise on this vacant lot at 304 W. 150th St. in Harlem.

June 10, 2022

As rents soar, housing prices spike and New York City fights a losing battle to provide affordable housing, a developer in Harlem has come up with a counterintuitive approach to the problem: build new, affordable co-ops.

Developers have lined up financing to build on two lots that have been vacant since at least 2009 — one at 207-209 W. 140th St., the other at 304 W. 150th St., Patch reports. The two-pronged project is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, the city's housing department, the state's Affordable Housing Corp. and the developer Exact Capital Group, a majority Black-owned real estate development company.

The 140th Street site, between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. boulevards, will become home to a six-story building containing more than 21,000 square feet of residential space, developers say. Its 21 apartments will be one and two-bedrooms. A few blocks uptown, the 150th Street site is between Bradhurst Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Its 31 units will include studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments. Once ready, the apartments will be sold as co-ops to households making 80% to 90% of the area median income.

The project will be funded in part by the Open Door Program, operated by the city's department of Housing Preservation and Development, which supports co-op and condominium projects affordable to moderate and middle-income households. Under program rules, original shareholders can sell their apartments only to buyers who fall under the project's income cap — thus guaranteeing continued affordability. There is also a resale cap: sellers can realize a maximum 2% appreciation on the original purchase price per year of owner occupancy. The project's $32.56 million total construction cost was also financed by Webster Bank.

Exact's managing partner, Craig Livingston, said in a statement: "While Exact Capital develops affordable housing throughout the United States, as a company based in Manhattan, we take particular pride in creating an opportunity for New Yorkers with qualifying incomes to fulfill the American Dream of home ownership through new affordable co-op apartments in Harlem." 

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