Organization Name: Rockabill & Selfhelp
Project Title: Glendale Neighborhood Pillars
Project Location: Glendale, Queens
The Glendale multi-family portfolio is an acquisition, rehab and preservation of 72 rent stabilized units throughout three properties located in Glendale, NY, a traditionally middle class immigrant neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying. This marks the City’s first acquisition in the City's Neighborhood Pillars program, which helps non-profits and mission-driven organizations acquire, rehabilitate and preserve the affordability of homes at risk of becoming unaffordable. At this portfolio, there was a mix of unregulated and rent-stabilized units in the buildings, and over 50% of the rent-stabilized units had preferential rents in which the previous property owner could have increased rents by an average of $469 per month at lease renewal. As part of the financing with HPD, Rockabill and Selfhelp will maintain the existing rental affordability for a minimum term of 40 years and 30% of the apartments will be permanently affordable. Now, all residents have rent-stabilized leases, including tenants who did not previously, and the apartments will remain rent-stabilized for the term of the regulatory agreement. This project also consisted of a moderate rehabilitation of nearly $5M, and included upgraded tenant units, building structure and systems, and improved energy efficiency.
The Glendale Neighborhood Pillars project has had more of an impact than Rockabill and Selfhelp had originally anticipated – the improved affordability and stable ownership and management provided by this project have been instrumental in helping residents weather the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March, Rockabill and Conrock Construction made the decision to stop the ongoing tenant-in-place rehabilitation mid-stream, even before the Governor’s PAUSE order, to ensure resident safety. In addition, Rockabill hired a weekend porter to ensure that all high touch surfaces were cleaned at least 3X per day and hired a resident to be an on-site tenant relations coordinator to address any construction or COVID-related needs that the tenants had, and posted weekly notices with construction schedules and progress updates. SelfHelp Community Services set up a dedicated services phone number and answering service to address any tenant needs and assist tenants with benefits, food deliveries, in-home case, information, and directly reached out to high-need or elderly tenants in the building to arrange for services and check in regularly. When Conrock Construction was granted essential status to commence construction, work continued only in common areas and the exterior until the City reached Phase 4 – all the while, Conrock followed and exceeded all city regulations related to site safety plans, temperature checks, and social distancing measures. As a result of the hands-on, human-centered approach to management and construction during such a difficult time, Rockabill and Selfhelp have developed a strong sense of community and culture of communication and respect at the property.
Rockabill Development acts as joint venture development partner, providing financing support in addition to our industry expertise, to project owners looking to develop affordable and supportive housing. Rockabill Development also acquires, preserves and repositions existing multifamily properties. Selfhelp is a NFP dedicated to maintaining the independence and dignity of seniors and at-risk populations through a spectrum of housing, home health care, and social services and applies new methods and technologies to address changing needs of the community.
• NYC HPD
• Enterprise Community Partners
• NYC Acquisition Fund
• NYC HDC
• Conrock Construction
• OCV Architects