Brilla Veritas Charter School at 600 East 156th Street Apartments

Organization Name: Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)

Project Title: Brilla Veritas Charter School at 600 East 156th Street Apartments

Project Location: Bronx, New York City

Project Description:
600 East 156th Street is an innovative, mixed-use development that combines new affordable housing and access to high-quality education in one of the most rent-burdened neighborhoods and underserved school districts in the Bronx. Led by Phipps Houses and financed through NYCHPD’s Mix & Match program, it will deliver 169 housing units for a range of incomes: 50% will be for households earning up to 80% of AMI; 30% will be up to 50% AMI; and 20% will be up to 30% AMI, of which half will be for formerly homeless households. Through collaboration with Civic Builders, a 31,400 sq. ft. charter school facility will be developed at the base of the building with 15 classrooms and ancillary space serving 450 elementary school children. Civic Builders collaborated with Phipps to design the school facility, which it will operate through a long-term master lease and sublease to nonprofit Seton Education Partners and its Brilla Veritas elementary school. The project is financed by tax-exempt bonds, NYCHPD and NYCHDC subsidy, and 4% LIHTC, with gap financing provided by LIIF: LIIF’s construction financing and 25-year permanent loan commitment made it possible to finance the school component.

Community Impact:
This integrated development brings affordable housing and high-quality school seats to an area of the Bronx with a high proportion of rent burdened households where student achievement lags far behind that of the State. The partnership with charter school developer Civic Builders and flexible capital provider LIIF will enable the affordable housing project to enhance community benefit by bringing high quality educational opportunity to the neighborhood. Brilla schools provide a high quality education alternative to its student population, of which an especially high proportion is represented by English language learners (38%) and students with disabilities (14%), and almost all of which is economically disadvantaged (96%). The rigorous college prep curriculum that uses proven academic strategies including blended learning and co-teaching, and a school culture that focuses on parent engagement has resulted in strong academic performance: Brilla students consistently far outperform students in their school district and even exceed statewide performance levels.

Organization Description:
Phipps Houses is the oldest and largest not-for-profit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in New York City. Civic Builders is a nonprofit facilities developer and lender that provides real estate solutions for charter schools. LIIF is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides innovative capital solutions to support healthy families and communities. LIIF’s flexible capital and collaborative approach enables it to finance complex projects with a variety of partners.

Team Members:

Phipps Houses and Civic Builders, Inc.

    Rendering of 600 East 156th Street

    Brilla students

    Brilla student

    Rendering of Brilla Veritas Charter School entrance

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