On July 21, 2021, Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and G. Alexander Bryant, North American Division (NAD) president, led out in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Northeastern Towers Annex, a 158-unit affordable housing complex located in Queens, New York, sponsored by the Northeastern Conference (NEC) of the Adventist Church.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by the project’s partners — the NEC, the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), and Mega Development. Atlantic Union Conference and Greater New York Conference administrators also attended the event, as did city officials, elected officials, community leaders, and other guests.
Wilson opened the ceremony by noting the importance of creating housing that generates a sense of stability and community for seniors at all income levels.
Daniel Honoré, president of NEC, noted the success of this unique partnership, said, “We are delighted to know that 158 elderly residents of New York City are assured a safe, clean, and affordable place to live. One-third were previously homeless. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is committed to serving the needs of our community, and the Northeastern Towers Annex reflects that commitment.”
Following the ceremony in which several of the project's partners contributed words of appreciation, Wilson and Bryant visited the NEC office to greet and pray with the staff.
A Glimpse of the Annex
The Northeastern Towers Annex, a 159-unit affordable housing development for seniors, includes 56 units set aside for formerly homeless seniors. The new building consists of 58 studios, 100 one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom superintendent’s apartment.
The building is 100-percent affordable for very low income residents, those at incomes at or below 50 percent of area median income (known as AMI). Also, 100 percent of the rental apartments will be supported by a project-based Section 8 contract, under which tenants pay only 30 percent of their income in rent. Northeastern Towers Annex provides new amenities and critical affordable housing for seniors in the Rochdale neighborhood of Queens.
Northeastern Towers Annex includes several on-site amenities specifically designed for its senior residents, such as a community room, a media room, an exercise and wellness center, computer room, social service office suite, warming pantry and storage, laundry, and television lounges on nearly every floor, a rooftop terrace and garden, and a personal care services room. This unique project was constructed adjacent to the existing Northeastern Towers senior affordable housing development. Many amenities at the Annex are accessible to residents of both buildings, thanks to an enclosed connection between the two.
Housing through Partnerships
The Northeastern Towers Annex was financed jointly by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC) with a total of US$93.6 million in public and private investment. HDC provided more than US$50 million in tax-exempt bonds and an additional US$8.7 million in corporate reserves. HPD provided more than US$13 million in subsidy.
In addition, the project benefits from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) that generated more than US$37 million in tax credit equity from investors through Wells Fargo Bank, which also provided the letter of credit. Former Queens Borough president Melinda Katz provided US$3 million, and NYC Council speaker Corey Johnson and council member Adrienne Adams provided US$1 million in discretionary capital funding from the City of New York, which enabled the project to include a solar canopy, fifth-floor roof deck, community spaces, and other amenities to support the senior residents.
“Wells Fargo is pleased to be part of this transformative project,” Katelyn Meehan, vice president in the Community Lending and Investment division at Wells Fargo, said. “It brings much-needed affordable, high-quality, senior housing to the Rochdale neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens, addressing the housing and social service needs of its residents.
“We are proud to work closely with Fifth Avenue Committee, Mega Contracting, and the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on financing Northeastern Towers and are excited by the final building, which provides community facility and amenity space to the residents, as well as clean energy,” Meehan added.
“This project is a shining example of what can be accomplished when local government and community organizations work together,” Queens district attorney Melinda Katz said. “I am proud to be part of today’s ribbon-cutting and to have worked as borough president to help the developers of the Northeastern Towers Annex see this project through. Now there are quality, affordable apartments and amenities that will help very low-income seniors age gracefully and with dignity.”
“No senior should ever be priced out of the neighborhood they love and proudly call home. With the opening of the Northeastern Towers Annex and its more than 150 apartments for our elders living on low or fixed incomes, we are ensuring that those who need quality affordable housing the most will have it right here in the heart of Southeast Queens,” current Queens Borough president Donovan Richards Jr. said. “With more than 300,000 seniors living here in ‘The World’s Borough,' we look forward to many more such ribbon cuttings as we work tirelessly to make Queens an affordable place to live for all. Especially for our seniors seeking the ability to age gracefully and with dignity.”
“The Northeastern Towers Annex is certainly an asset and welcome addition to our community, especially for seniors who are living on fixed incomes,” Adams said. “This affordable housing site comes with many great amenities for its residents, some of which I proudly funded with my City Council speaker, Corey Johnson.
“I thank HPD, HDC, Fifth Avenue Committee, Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and all of the partners who made this project possible. This building will address the dire need for senior affordable housing in our city. I am pleased that our aging residents will directly benefit from this long-awaited development that represents dignity and comfort for them,” Adams said.
Northeastern Towers is currently completing lease-ups, providing some of New York City’s most vulnerable residents with housing they can afford and creating a stable, supportive living situation.