Archive for MeadowWood Articles
EAST NEW YORK—For those wondering about the curious case of MeadowWood at Gateway—the conversion of the former Mitchell-Lama housing complex once known as Fairfield Towers into condos priced from $100,000—an update from Fillmore, the sales agent. There have been over 100 sales, 120 apartments are in contract and there’s a waiting lost of 40 qualified buyers. “There simply isn’t enough middle-income housing in New York,” Fillmore’s director of sales notes in the press release. Most of the units have been purchased by Brooklyn residents with an average income of $63,000. Congrats to the next Harlem. [CurbedWire Inbox]
Here’s a $100K Brooklyn Condo…Friday, September 7, 2007, by Robert Great news! We’ve finally found the elusive $100,000 Brooklyn condo. The bad news is that it’s a little off the beaten path. The complex is called the MeadowWood at Gateway and it’s in East New York and was formerly known as Fairfield Towers. Brownstoner reports that nearly 1,000 of the apartments are on the market, priced to move at $100,000-$340,000. The force behind it is Taconic Investment Partners, which is putting $40 million into the renovation. It’s a former Mitchell-Lama building, making it the second time this week we’ve mentioned the affordable housing program, which is losing units to condo conversions and the like. Excellent chance to get ahead of the market. · Sales Begin at Brooklyn’s Biggest Condo Conversion [Brownstoner] · Lay Off My Lama: Starrett City Puts on Their Rally Caps [Curbed]
Homey, but No Haven From Hard Times
Christian Hansen for The New York Times
GREEN AND CLEAN Detached houses and tidy lawns line 101st Street and Avenue M in Canarsie. Other parts of the neighborhood are denser, and the city is working on a comprehensive zoning plan to control development.
By JAKE MOONEY
Published: October 10, 2008
EVEN years ago, back when she rented in East Flatbush, Ismay Gardner knew she liked Canarsie, a quiet suburban community on Brooklyn’s south shore with row upon row of detached houses and neat lawns. When she decided to buy a house, Canarsie was the first place she looked, and even when she moved — twice — it was within Canarsie.
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Now, Ms. Gardner, who is 58 and has two grown children, believes she may finally have reached the end of her time in the neighborhood. Partly because of a feeling that the area is not quite as tidy as it used to be, and partly because she is simply restless for something new, she has decided to sell the two-family house on 103rd Street, in a leafy corner of the neighborhood, which she bought just last year to live in with her son and daughter.
Her timing, people who follow real estate in the neighborhood say, is less than ideal. Hit hard by the mortgage crisis, Canarsie is one of the city’s trouble spots for foreclosures. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, released in January, found that the 11236 ZIP code, which includes Canarsie and the adjacent Flatlands neighborhood, had the highest number of subprime mortgages in the city, 1,930, and that lenders had initiated foreclosure proceedings against 12 percent of them.
Barbara LaBarca, the Coldwell Banker broker who sold Ms. Gardner her house and is now selling it for her, said that many people who bought multifamily houses with plans of relying on rental income to pay their mortgages now find themselves squeezed by nonpaying tenants. As a result, she said, houses that might have sold for $650,000 a year ago are now going for little more than $525,000.
Ms. Gardner, who paid $690,000 for her house in June 2007, is asking $739,000, because she made extensive improvements and renovations. The house has been on the market since August, Ms. LaBarca said.
Jean-Paul Ho, a vice president at Fillmore Realty, said many of the troubled new owners in the area were recent immigrants from the Caribbean who were targets of predatory lending, receiving loans they should not have qualified for.
In the lending climate of recent years, all a borrower needed to do “is fog up a glass and you get the loan,” he said. “A lot of these people are just hard-working blue-collar workers. They just don’t understand the system, and a lot of them are being taken advantage of, unfortunately.”
The ramifications for Canarsie are worrisome, said Saul Needle, chairman of Community Board 18, which represents the area. “When you talk about a neighborhood that has more than its fair share of foreclosures, and people want to start a family, buy a house, and they look around the block and see vacant houses, they get scared away,” he said.
In an effort to keep the area from getting worse, Mr. Ho said, community members recently held a “foreclosure prevention triage,” with lawyers donating their expertise and representatives of several banks attending to counsel worried homeowners in several languages.
For her part, Ms. Gardner said she had seen a lot of for-sale signs, but no boarded-up houses or similarly alarming sights.
Meanwhile, many of the things she loves about Canarsie are still there. She has enjoyed seeing the leaves beginning to turn, and the mist from Jamaica Bay.
“It’s very pretty,” she said. “It has a country feeling, and we’re living near a ballpark” — Canarsie Beach Park. “It’s so nice when you hear them playing, the ball hitting the bat. It’s like music.”
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
The leafiest parts of the neighborhood are to the northeast, from East 98th Street to Fresh Creek Park around Seaview Avenue and Avenues L, M and N. Visitors to this area — finding themselves surrounded by detached houses with the smell of cut grass in the air, the sound of seagulls in the distance and the sight of driving-school cars edging down otherwise empty tree-lined streets — may find it hard to imagine they are not miles east in Long Island.
The areas to the east are denser, with smaller houses, usually brick and usually with garages. The main commercial streets through the neighborhood are Rockaway Parkway, Remsen Avenue and Flatlands Avenue. Mostly, they are easier to negotiate by car than on foot. The exception is the stretch of Rockaway Parkway north of Flatlands, around the L train stop, which is a busy shopping strip, with a cluster of Caribbean businesses and restaurants.
Higher-density development in the interior of the neighborhood has increased in recent years, to the displeasure of many residents. In response, the Department of City Planning has been working with local officials for the last year and a half to plan a comprehensive “downzoning” of much of the area. The measure has yet to clear the city’s extensive land-use review process, but Mr. Needle, the community board chairman, says it enjoys majority support.
If you buy a house on a quiet block, he said, “you don’t want the dude next door to come, knock down his house and put up a four-story building.”
Taconic Investment Partners and Apollo Real Estate Advisors Acquire 983 Brooklyn Apartments to Spur Affordable Housing; $40 Million Set for Capital Improvements The Joint Venture, Supported by The Housing Partnership, Will Rejuvenate East New York’s MeadowWood at Gateway
NEW YORK CITY, Sept. 12 – and Apollo Real Estate Advisors have acquired nearly a thousand unsold residential condominium apartment units at MeadowWood at Gateway, a mid-rise housing complex in the East New York section of Brooklyn, and will market them with special financing packages to middle-income homebuyers.
The acquisition comprises 983 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments at the complex, which consists of 19 buildings on 21 acres in two campuses along Flatlands Avenue, a short distance from the Belt Parkway. The units were purchased from The Lightstone Group.
Taconic and Apollo have earmarked $40 million for major capital improvements to the apartments and common areas, according to Charles Bendit, a principal of Taconic, which successfully revitalized nearby Seaview Estates in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood a few years ago.
“This is a very large-scale community rejuvenation program designed to make quality homes accessible to middle-income residents who otherwise lack affordable home ownership opportunities in this city,” says Mr. Bendit. “The Housing Partnership and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, together with New York Community Bank, have helped make the program possible with innovative acquisition, development and end-loan structures for qualified buyers.
“We do not envision this as a gentrification project, but rather as the revitalization of a community for the people of East New York and nearby communities,” Mr. Bendit emphasizes.
The Housing Partnership Development Corp., one of the nation’s largest non-profit agencies working in support of affordable housing, will “provide homeownership training, secure state subsidies to keep the homes affordable, and help all residents who are interested in purchasing their units,” says its president and CEO, Daniel E. Martin. “We look forward to working with Taconic, Apollo, HPD and others to bring affordable homeownership opportunities to the residents of MeadowWood at Gateway, and to increase the supply of quality affordable housing in New York City.”
Richard Mack, Apollo managing partner, says, “MeadowWood at Gateway complements Apollo’s strategy of investing in the residential and affordable housing sector in our home market of New York. We see significant opportunities throughout the city, in Manhattan and the boroughs.”
Earlier this year, an Apollo partnership acquired the Lafayette Boynton and Lafayette Morrison complex in the Soundview section of the Bronx. Apollo is converting the 1,865 Lafayette units to affordable co-ops. The firm also recently purchased Delano Village, an 1,800-unit rental complex in Harlem.
Mr. Mack notes that East New York has experienced substantial revitalization over the past several years with increasing household income and home ownership, as well as the development of new for-sale housing.
Apollo partner James H. Simmons observes that MeadowWood at Gateway “is situated at the epicenter of the neighborhood’s revitalization,” in the Spring Creek section of East New York, within a quarter mile of the new 640,000-square-foot Gateway Center retail development, and directly across the street from the site of over 800 new single and multi-family homes that are just breaking ground. “These factors make the property an ideal candidate for our development program,” he says.
MeadowWood at Gateway was originally built as a rental development in the 1960s as part of the Mitchell-Lama subsidized housing program. It was converted to condominiums in the 1990s, following expiration of the development’s Mitchell-Lama benefits. However, at that time, only 167 of the 1,152 apartments were sold, with two units allotted for use by superintendents.
“Not surprisingly, the unsuccessful conversion had adverse consequences for the property and its residents,” says Ari Shalam, Taconic’s director of acquisitions. “The goal of our project is to make MeadowWood at Gateway a showplace for what public-private collaboration can achieve in revitalizing a community with affordable upgraded housing and amenities in a family-oriented environment.”
Mr. Shalam points out that the property is near the Starrett City housing development, with its stable middle-class tenant base, strong sense of community and its own shopping center, schools and recreational facilities.
To encourage as many current MeadowWood at Gateway residents as possible to purchase their apartments, insider discounts will be offered, says John Weir, the Taconic Investment Partners executive overseeing the redevelopment. Although exact terms haven’t been determined yet, he anticipates that the apartments will range in price between $100,000 and $300,000, before insider discounts, “with special financing and subsidies for qualified buyers to make mortgages available on very favorable terms to facilitate ownership for local residents,” Mr. Weir adds.
Announcements specifying prices and mortgage terms, and detailing the schedule of capital improvements, will be made later in the year, once the capital improvement programs are underway.
In the MeadowWood at Gateway transaction, The Lightstone Group was represented by Granite Partners, and Taconic and Apollo were assisted with acquisition financing by Evan Pariser of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler.
About Taconic Investment Partners
Founded in 1997, Taconic Investment Partners is a fully-integrated real estate investment company that acquires and develops office and multifamily properties. Taconic has acquired and redeveloped more than nine million square feet of property in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
About Apollo Real Estate Advisors, L.P.
Apollo Real Estate Advisors is one of the most prominent opportunistic real estate investors in the U.S. and internationally. Apollo specializes in acquiring undermanaged and distressed properties and developing properties in major urban areas throughout the U.S. and Europe. Since the firm’s founding in 1993, Apollo has overseen the investment of eight real estate funds totaling more than $5 billion in equity. The firm’s Web site is www.apollorealestate.com.
About The Housing Partnership
The Housing Partnership’s mission is to create affordable homes and revitalize neighborhoods through community development promoted by a dynamic partnership involving the public and private sectors. Established in 1982 by David Rockefeller and the Partnership for New York City, The Housing Partnership has developed more than 18,500 new affordable units and completed 8,000 renovations of rental apartments. The Housing Partnership has leveraged more than $2 billion in private sector financing in over 50 neighborhoods.
- Bob Rumerman & Kristin Kilgallen: September, 2006
1019 Van Siclen Avenue
East New York
Property Overview In August 2006 Taconic acquired MeadowWood at Gateway, a 19 building apartment complex formerly known as Fairfield Towers, located in Brooklyn, New York. The acquisition resulted from a failed auction and involved the resolution of several complex ownership, legal, and financial challenges in order to consummate the transaction. The buildings were constructed between 1964 and 1966 and contain a total of 1,152 units. In 1991 the units were converted to condominiums and 167 units were purchased by individual owners and 2 were purchased by the condominium association for superintendent use. The remaining 983 units were operated as rental and subsequently acquired by Taconic.
Investment Strategy A massive capital improvement and repositioning plan has been implemented which includes the replacement of roofs, replacement of all windows and terrace doors, installation of new elevators, removal of past violations, upgrades to entrance lobbies and common corridors, landscaping redesign as well as interior upgrades to all acquired units. Following the ongoing renovation, the 983 rental units will be sold as condominiums. The total project is estimated to be complete by early 2011.
Building Amenities Area Amenities: The Condominium is within 1/4 mile of the new 640,000 square foot Gateway Center retail development, which includes a Home Depot, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target, Marshall’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Transportation Access: Six subway lines including the A, C and 3 lines are in close proximity to the property. In addition, one of only three Long Island Rail Road stations in Brooklyn is located nearby, providing residents an attractive commuting option both to Manhattan and points throughout Long Island.
Parking: The property offers in excess of 1,000 parking spaces for its residents.
Underscoring the tremendous success it has achieved as the exclusive sales agent for MeadowWood at Gateway (http://www.meadowwoodgateway.com), Fillmore Real Estate, New York City’s largest privately-owned and operated residential real estate firm, has announced that the project is now more than 33 percent sold. In sharp contrast to the slowdown reported by many in the industry, MeadowWood—which is Brooklyn’s largest affordable condominium complex— has reached a number of milestone sales achievements in 2009, including being named the year’s number one selling project in Brooklyn, according to the August 2009 edition of The Real Deal.
Describing MeadowWood’s remarkable sales, Fillmore Director of Sales & Vice President Jean-Paul Ho says, “Prices rose three times in 2008 and remained steady in 2009, which attests to the strong investment value of the building’s more than 1,100 units. While many complexes sit empty, we have 60 homes in contract since January, and a waiting list for several units.”
In celebration of MeadowWood’s achievements, the management is hosting a Family Day on Saturday, August 22nd, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is open solely to residents, who are invited to stop by to enjoy food and refreshments, rides, entertainment and a chance to win prizes.
“This project is made special by the people who live here,” says Ho, who notes that working and middle-class families, such as teachers, firefighters and union workers, many with an average income of $63,000, comprise the majority of sales. “Family Day is a way for us to give back to the community and to thank them for making MeadowWood the success that it is.”
To assist first-time buyers, Fillmore Avenue L sponsors free homebuyer seminars that expose attendees to a number of grants and low-interest loans from which they can benefit. Ho says the classes have been averaging 80 to 100 attendees per session. Those who complete the seminar are fully prepared to purchase a home. The seminars are held every other Saturday at MeadowWood.
MeadowWood at Gateway’s sales office is located at 12205 Flatlands Avenue. It’s open Monday—Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Call 1-888-255-9886 for information on MeadowWood and Fillmore’s homebuyer seminars.
MeadowWood Tree Lighting Ceremony Brightens The Night
Residents of MeadowWood Estates last week were happy to attend a giant Holiday Season Tree Lighting Ceremony with officials of Fillmore Avenue L Real Estate at their MeadowWood Estates complex at 122-36 Flatlands Avenue. Officials included, right photo, left to right, Hayden Stephen, Jean Paul Ho, Peter Febo, Gloria Ventura, Douglas Ellman, Dan McEnernany and Chris Giaculli. Photos by Sharon Bennett “It was a delightful time,” said the residents of MeadowWood Estates at Gateway last week as they left the giant tree lighting ceremony held to brighten the season. Not only was the beautiful Christmas tree officially lit by Santa Claus, but the Grammy Award-winning Love Fellowship Tabernacle Choir, along with Craig Wiggins and Angelique McCoy belted out hymns and their hit songs.
Residents showing their appreciation.
Left to right, Vice President and Director of Sales Jean Paul Ho, Senior Vice President Taconic Investments and Associate Manager of MeadowWood Hayden Stephen.
Angelique McCoy of Love Fellowship Choir.