New Mount Vernon affordable housing set to open

LOHUD The Journal News | November 4, 2016

Monthly rents for the one-bedroom units at the complex range from $535 to $925. The minimum annual income requirements range from $19,040 to $34,600.

A new affordable housing complex for seniors in Mount Vernon is complete and ready for occupancy.

The 10-story, 66-unit building at 125-129 S. Fifth Ave. is the latest project on that street built by the Eastchester-based Mountco. The company also built the nearby Grace Plaza at 159 S. Fifth Ave. and Macedonia Towers at 150 S. Fifth Ave.

Joel Mounty, Mountco’s president, said the construction of all three affordable housing complexes for seniors represents a development strategy that’s advantageous for Mount Vernon.

“Certainly, by building multifamily housing you create a population that has an impact on the commercial community,” said Mounty, whose current Mount Vernon project is the construction of Grace Cathedral on S. Sixth Avenue.

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Nobody lives in the $18.5 million building yet. Mounty said residents would begin moving in “imminently” and about 20 of the units have already been leased.

The complex will be called the Ruth Hassell-Thompson Tower and the developer and elected officials will hold a ceremony there honoring the former state senator Sunday at 2 p.m.

Monthly rents for the one-bedroom units at the complex range from $535 to $925. The minimum annual income requirements range from $19,040 to $34,600.

Seniors interested in applying for one of the Mount Vernon apartments can contact the Housing Action Council at 914-332-4144 or email, hac@affordablehomes.org

Eight of the units are reserved for Section 8 recipients who do not meet the minimum income requirements.

Mounty said that building new affordable housing is an important step in Mount Vernon’s renaissance.

“When you look at areas that have been regentrified, that is, Brooklyn, most of the development was affordable that stabilized the area, which allowed luxury and market-rate housing to come,” Mounty said.

Mount Vernon was also compared with Brooklyn during a recent talk on remaking Westchester County’s downtowns so they can share in New York City’s prosperity. Seth Pinsky, executive vice president at RXR Realty and the former president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said downtown Mount Vernon is closer to Grand Central Terminal in rail travel time than his neighborhood in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“Few people would mistake the market today in Mount Vernon for the market in Brooklyn,” said Pinsky, speaking at the UJA-Federation of New York’s Westchester Business and Professional Division’s Fall Breakfast on Thursday. “We have not made the investments and put in place the regulatory frameworks in our suburban downtowns necessary for them to truly compete with places like Brooklyn.”

Mount Vernon officials are currently taking a step in the direction Pinsky recommended by rezoning a large area surrounding the Mount Vernon West train station to allow up to 3,153 units of new housing.

 

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