Organization Name: Omni New York LLC
Project Title: Morris Avenue Apartments Phases I & II
Project Location: Melrose, Bronx, NY
Morris Avenue Apartments Phases I & II are part of a multi-phase affordable housing project in the Bronx. The infill projects leverage underutilized land at Maria Lopez, an existing 216-unit property owned and managed by Omni. Omni recognized the opportunity to build additional housing on the vacant land without the requirement to change existing zoning and committed to build 330 mixed-income units in two phases. The projects demonstrate Omni’s commitment to sustainable design, setting an increasingly higher standard with every project Omni undertakes. Phase I was developed with a focus on on-site energy production. The project is slated to achieve LEED Silver status and will utilize PV panels and a cogeneration microturbine. The cogen improves the project’s resiliency, acting as a backup generator in the case of emergencies. Phase II will continue to push the envelope, employing many of the same technologies as Phase I, while also aiming to achieve Passive Housing Certification.
Morris Avenue Apartments Phase I is a 15-story building consisting of 176 total units. The project provides approximately 175,000 SF of residential space, 9,500 SF of small-scale retail and an 8,500 SF child care center. Twenty-two units are set-aside at 80% AMI, with the remainder at 60% AMI. The project’s PV panels and cogeneration microturbine allow it to produce enough energy to power the common areas and satisfy domestic hot water needs. Morris Avenue Apartments Phase II will be a 15-story building consisting of 154 total units. The project will provide approximately 160,300 SF of residential space and 4,600 SF of community facility space. The bulk of the apartments will be available to households making below 60% AMI, with a portion set-aside at 80% AMI. Forty-six units will be entered into HPD’s Our Space program for formerly homeless households. Phase II is expected to begin construction in early 2017 and aims to achieve Passive Housing Certification.
The projects fill in longstanding vacant sites with sustainable, mixed-use buildings that were designed with an eye to the surrounding context— incorporating similar materials and matching adjacent building heights. By integrating commercial space, community facilities, landscaping and mixed-income housing, the buildings activate a previously vacant streetscape and promote a sense of community. In addition, the building’s focus on sustainability provides the community with a range of benefits: 1) lower utility bills, 2) energy-efficiency, 3) superb air quality and 4) improved resiliency. Finally, the building provides much needed afford- ability at a range of incomes, up to 80% of AMI and includes housing for formerly homeless households. The mix of uses, incomes and sustainable technologies at both phases of Morris Avenue Apartments represents a comprehensive approach to affordable housing development at previously vacant community assets.
Omni is a vertically-integrated affordable housing platform comprised of five operating businesses: Omni New York LLC and Omni America LLC (development); Reliant Realty Services, LLC (property management); Renewal Construction Services LLC (construction); Reliant Safety LLC (security); and RMS Partners LLC (maintenance). Omni is managed on a day-to-day basis by its managing directors Eugene Schneur, Robert Bennett and Mo Vaughn. Since its inception in 2004, Omni has developed a stellar track record of transforming properties from underperforming, distressed, even derelict buildings into revitalized assets. Omni has emerged as a leader in the affordable housing world, acquiring 65 proper- ties with a total transaction value of approximately $1.6 billion. Affordable Housing Finance ranked Omni first in acquisitions and rehab completions in 2015 and 16th in overall portfolio size among affordable housing owners. Omni operates approximately 12,966 housing units in 10 states.