Public Housing Gets New Lease on Life, Transforming an Urban Island Into a Community

Schoolhouse Terrace at Croton Heights represents a new model of integrated affordable housing that mixes residents of different income levels and incorporates vital services to make strong communities.

Yonkers, NY, September 19, 2013 --( Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) broke ground yesterday on Schoolhouse Terrace at Croton Heights, a 172,000-square-foot mixed-income development. As the first phase of a multi-phase master plan to redevelop the adjacent Cottage Gardens Public Housing site and reintegrate it into the surrounding neighborhood, it will replace outdated public housing in Yonkers.

The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB), the leading nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing in the United States, commissioned the project in partnership with the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY). The $63 million development was financed with an array of federal and state financing programs.

“We are excited to break ground on a project that will change the lives of so many families and seniors in Yonkers,” said Bart Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Community Builders. “MAP’s vision for the neighborhood allows us to create a new community that benefits all residents.”

Schoolhouse Terrace at Croton Heights will consist of one 51-unit building for seniors and one 70-unit building for families, with units ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. The new buildings will have community spaces throughout the buildings, including a new computer lab located in the senior building. Additional site amenities include new streets and sidewalks, green roofing, street trees, public benches, and lighting that will reinvigorate pedestrian activity along Ashburton Avenue.

“For almost 30 years, MAP has been creating healthy, vibrant communities for individuals and families of all income levels,” said MAP Principal Magnus Magnusson, AIA, LEED AP. “We are proud to be working in a new paradigm of affordable housing that helps communities to prosper.”

The new buildings will replace a blighted public school building owned by the city of Yonkers. Though the school was demolished due to structural damage, its original archway will be incorporated into the new construction. Plenty of windows in the building will maximize natural light and offer views of the Palisades and the Hudson River.

The project is targeting LEED Silver certification. The site is within walking distance to mass transit, including the Yonkers Metro North and Amtrak train stops.

Schoolhouse Terrace at Croton Heights fits into the broader Ashburton Avenue Master Plan for the neighborhood and extends years of investment in the Ashburton corridor further west toward the Hudson River. Recognizing the importance of this targeted investment, MHACY and TCB were awarded a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods planning grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create the blueprint for redeveloping the adjacent Cottage Place Gardens complex.

The next planned phase of the development will be located at 188 Warburton Avenue and may begin construction as early as summer 2014, provided the development team is awarded financing in the coming New York State Homes and Community Renewal Capital Funding Round.

About Magnusson Architecture and Planning

Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) is an award-winning, full-service architecture and planning firm in New York City committed to sustainable development that builds vibrant, healthy communities. The firm’s specializations include housing, educational and community facilities, healthcare facilities, commercial developments, and community planning. MAP’s clients include community groups, agencies, municipalities, institutions, real estate developers, schools and non-profits in the New York City region, such as The Community Builders, Westhab, Inc., CPC Resources, Inc, Douglaston Development, The Housing Collaborative, and the Fifth Avenue Committee.
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Beth Connolly