June 10, 2019 – Today, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York City Housing Authority, RDC Development (a joint venture between MDG Design + Construction and Wavecrest Management) and partners held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the major rehabilitation of Ocean Bay Apartments, a 24-building, 1,395-unit public housing complex in Far Rockaway, Queens, located at Beach Channel Drive between Beach 54th and Beach 58th streets. The $560 million redevelopment was NYCHA’s first and the country’s largest single-site conversion under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place before a kickoff to summer event for residents, including family-friendly activities and inspirational speakers.
First built in the early 1960s, Ocean Bay suffered from significant federal divestment, followed by the extensive damages incurred by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Home to nearly 4,000 residents, Ocean Bay was in desperate need of repair, from in-unit renovations to the major rehabilitation of building infrastructure. Completed in just two years, the redevelopment features entirely renovated kitchens – new flooring, appliances, sinks, cabinetry, LED lighting, and smoke detectors; entirely renovated bathrooms – new flooring, sinks, toilets, fixtures, cabinetry, LED lighting, and ventilation; and apartment-wide upgrades including new windows, flooring, and fresh paint. Through a phased restoration process, all tenants were able to remain living in their homes throughout the renovations.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR empowers Public Housing Authorities to access capital dollars that make it possible to reinvent and preserve public housing statewide. With our investment in Ocean Bay Apartments, we are ensuring that the development remains affordable, safe, and protected against future storms, while also improving the quality of life for nearly 4,000 residents. Congratulations to our many partners on this project.”
In addition to in-unit renovations, the project included roof replacements, the complete upgrade of elevator machinery and equipment, improved public hallways, and the installation of new boilers and heating systems. With the goal of enhancing resident safety, the restoration included updated security cameras, improved interior and exterior lighting, and a new key fob entry system.
To ensure protection against future weather catastrophes, Ocean Bay received the third-largest solar panel installation at an affordable housing development in New York, a secure flood wall around the entire 33-acre site, water retention swales, stand-alone electric service buildings built above the flood zone, and the conversion of one central boiler steam system to 24 individual hydronic boilers on the roof of each building.
With the help of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, a core feature of the project involves the development and implementation of a comprehensive social services program designed to empower residents and enhance their quality of life. This includes access to mental health clinics, youth employment programs, food pantries, emergency assistance programs, and educational enrichment services. The project also features two brand-new basketball courts, as well as the creation of Renewal Gardens @ Ocean Bay, which consists of 50 family plots within 2,400 square feet of community gardening space, providing residents with resources to learn about gardening and access fresh and healthy produce.
The $470 million in federal, state, city, and private investment consisted of more than $83 million in tax-exempt bonds and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from NYS Homes and Community Renewal that generated $170 million in equity, and $1.1 million secured via the Investment Tax Credit generated from solar, and over $121 million in FEMA funds for resiliency measures related to the buildings. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided approximately $89 million for extensive weather-resilient repairs for the site at the time of closing. Under RAD, Ocean Bay units moved to a Section 8 platform with a long-term contract ensuring that the units remain permanently affordable to low-income households, restricting rent to no more than 30 percent of resident income. The development and management partners were selected by NYCHA through a competitive RFP process.
Congressman Gregory Meeks said, “In the decades since my family and I lived in public housing, the quality and conditions of these buildings have significantly deteriorated. Families deserve the dignity of not living in squalor, no matter their income. Thankfully HUD’s RAD program gives us the tools to renovate these dilapidated buildings, and as a result, the Ocean Bay Bayside Apartments are now restored and better than ever. Residents can now rest easy knowing that they can live in housing that is safe, affordable, and more resilient to storms and flooding. Thank you to RDC Development and everyone who worked together to keep affordable housing livable for the residents of Far Rockaway.”
State Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “I am proud to support the restoration of the Ocean Bay Apartments, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This development provides vital housing to thousands of vulnerable residents and is an important part of the community. We need to ensure that Ocean Bay Apartments remains a clean, safe place to live. This renovation is just another testament to how Far Rockaway is coming back stronger and better than ever after Hurricane Sandy.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, “The renovation of Ocean Bay has resulted in a resilient and environmentally-friendly development of permanently affordable housing that will enrich the quality of life to Ocean Bay residents for many decades to come. The public-private partnership that successfully completed this innovative and energy-efficient project deserves to be commended for its commitment to creating a welcoming home for Ocean Bay’s nearly 4,000 residents.”
Council Member Donovan Richards said, “For too long, New Yorkers in public housing have been treated as second class citizens. After extensive research and community engagement, it became clear that the fastest way to improve Ocean Bay Houses and provide residents with the safe, decent homes they deserve was through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Since the first day MDG and Wavecrest took over, it was clear that residents would finally receive long overdue repairs and a vast improvement of quality of life, which has been sorely lacking for NYCHA residents. Tenants who have suffered for years living in dilapidated conditions, now have completely remodeled apartments that they are proud to invite friends and family over to visit. Thanks to the partnership of HUD, NYCHA, RDC Development and Ocean Bay tenants, today’s ribbon-cutting is a true victory for the entire Rockaway peninsula.”
Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey said, “One of the most rewarding projects I’ve had the honor to see develop into the largest and most successful RAD-1 project in the country is Ocean Bay. Since its groundbreaking a little over two years ago, it’s become clear to me that today would not have been possible without the creative vision, commitment to community and tireless dedication of the Rooney family (MDG Design and Construction) and Susan Camerata (Wavecrest Management). They have not only transformed a distressed, decades-old property suffering from gross disrepair - destroyed by a storm - into a beacon of opportunity and hope, but they have also transformed the lives of the residents who now proudly call it home.”
FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas Von Essen said, “FEMA is proud to have assisted NYCHA and the City and State of NY with rebuilding the Ocean Bay Bayside Apartments, providing $231 million, including $147 million for mitigation measures, under a flexible grant that allowed for the facility to not be just rebuilt, but made safer and stronger in the event of any future disasters. The innovations that FEMA introduced after Hurricane Sandy to meet the extensive needs of NYCHA after the storm are informing FEMA’s efforts in the Caribbean, and across the rest of the country.”
NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia said, “Ocean Bay Bayside demonstrates what NYCHA, the community, and committed partners can achieve together to both address residents' immediate needs and preserve public housing for future generations. We thank HUD, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, MDG Design + Construction, Wavecrest Management, elected officials and local leaders, and most importantly the residents for their part in revitalizing their community.”
Joan Tally, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Community Development Finance said, “The restoration of NYCHA’s Ocean Bay Bayside Apartments under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, with significant support from NYS Homes and Community Renewal, exemplifies the best of public private partnerships. We are pleased to help celebrate the upgrades that will improve the quality of life for residents and strengthen the community’s resiliency for years to come.”
Matthew Rooney, CEO of MDG Design + Construction and Principal of RDC Development said, “The redevelopment of Ocean Bay started with the task of utilizing RAD on NYCHA units in an unprecedented way, and it is completed as a shining example of how collaboration and ingenuity can transform affordable housing, enhance the lives of nearly 4,000 people, create job opportunities, improve access to social service programs, and increase the safety of the Ocean Bay community. We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition, and proud to be a part of such an impactful and historic redevelopment. Thank you to our exceptional partners and engaged tenant community.”
Susan Camerata, Chief Financial Officer of Wavecrest and Principal of RDC Development said, “This project speaks to RDC Development’s unwavering commitment to the lives of residents and how quality of housing and quality of life go hand in hand. As we continue our role as managers, we are committed to maintaining the beautiful work done to restore the buildings and improve its systems, and continue to listen to, provide resources for, and strengthen the trust that we’ve built with our residents.”
Matt Bissonette, Director with Citi Community Capital said, “Citi is proud to have provided over $213 million of debt financing as well as a portion of the equity financing for Ocean Bay. This renovation has resulted in a safer, greener and healthier place to live for thousands of residents.”
Margaret Anadu, Managing Director and Head of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group said, “We’re proud to be a lead investor in the rehabilitation of Ocean Bay, an excellent model of how the public and private sector can come together to preserve and improve public housing for the lowest income New Yorkers. Given affordable, safe, resilient communities are vital to the future of New York, we hope to replicate this partnership with the public sector for families across the city.”
Moshe McKie-Krisberg, Vice President of Richman Housing Resources LLC. said, "Ocean Bay is a great example of the power that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit can bring to neighborhood community development."
Bridie Wheeler, Chairwoman of Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, said, “As a resident of the Ocean Bay (Bay side) for over 35 years, I never imagined that my quality of life could improve as much as it has since the RAD program was initiated here. I am so happy to be a part of this demonstration program.”
Deputy Inspector Vincent Tavalaro of the New York Police Department said, “Since the project undertaking in 2017, the NYPD and Wavecrest Management, particularly Tim Vance and his security team, has been a partnership that is second to none. When a request is made from my staff to management, it is not a question of can they accommodate, the response is usually when do you need it by. This collaboration has led to a measurably safer community for residents.”
Msgr. Alfred LoPinto, President and CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Affiliate Agencies said, “Comprehensive social services is essential to providing stability to the most vulnerable in our society, and this project has allowed us to uphold our commitment to providing those in need with access to much-needed social services. Catholic Charities is pleased to be in a partnership that shares our commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable, and we are pleased to be providing the residents at Ocean Bay Apartments access to quality programs and services.”
About New York State Homes and Community Renewal
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) works to create, preserve and improve affordable homes, and to develop vibrant communities. HCR is executing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan, which is making housing accessible and combating homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 supportive apartments. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues, and includes investing in multifamily and single-family housing, furthering community development strategies, and preserving rent stabilization. For more information on HCR, its programs and its initiatives, please visit hcr.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYSHCR
About the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
For over 50 years, HUD's mission has been to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all Americans. In New York, HUD funding provides rental assistance for over 600,000 households, homeless services for more than 70,000 individuals statewide, single-family mortgage insurance for nearly 300,000 New Yorkers, homeownership counseling at more than 150 local community-based organizations, and more than $7 billion in disaster recovery funding to the State in the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. HUD also enforces the Fair Housing Act in partnership with 13 state and local agencies across New York. More information about HUD and its programs is available at hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also connect with HUD on social media, follow Secretary Carson on Twitter or Facebook, and sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.
About the New York City Housing Authority
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 326 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nychaand for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCHA
About MDG Design + Construction
MDG Design + Construction (MDG) is a leading real estate firm that develops, constructs, and manages quality affordable housing. MDG specializes in the moderate rehabilitation and new construction of residential apartment buildings in New York City and Long Island, and is the industry leader in occupied rehabilitations. For nearly 30 years, our hands-on approach and people-first philosophy has resulted in effective collaborations with developers, tenant organizations, community groups, and staff to produce high quality homes that residents are proud to live in. To date, MDG has created or preserved 14,000 units of affordable housing and is responsible for nearly $850 million in construction and development. Learn more at www.mdgny.com.
About The Wavecrest Management Team
The Wavecrest Management Team Ltd (Wavecrest Management Group LLC) is a full service management company that manages approximately 20,000 residential units in over 350 buildings in the New York metropolitan area. Our specialty, for over 30 years, has and is the management of affordable housing, with a majority of the buildings located in The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Wavecrest employs over 100 full-time individuals to carry out the services necessary to properly manage its portfolio of units. Our main office is located in Queens and we have site offices in The Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn. The cornerstone of our management strategy is a firm belief that given the necessary resources we can and have been successful in the management of the residential buildings that we have been chosen to manage. http://www.wavecrestmanagement.com/