Today, a number of developers are adding amenities to income-restricted units typically associated with more luxurious style apartments. For instance, a new apartment tower located in an area of New York that is struggling, is being hailed by Kenwood Equities, LLC and Atlantic Development Group LLC as “luxury workforce” housing.
As reported by the Mount Vernon Daily Voice, once the apartment tower is completed by early 2016, tenants that qualify for affordable housing will be able to enjoy many of the same amenities found in high-end apartment buildings. This means families and individuals that earn no more than 60 percent of the median income for the area will live in classy apartments.
When complete, the new apartment building will have cost $60 million to build. This development features 159 units, complete with large floor plans, oak floors, wraparound picture windows with incredible views, washers and dryers, stone countertops, and others that are never associated with affordable housing. In addition, the apartment tower will boast a cinema room, rooftop terrace, gym, and children’s playroom.
As stated by Maya Brennan, VP for the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing Washington DC, the amenities offered in the new building are not what anyone would expect for workforce housing. However, there is an increase in the number of city gtuovernments that are pushing developers to meet higher standards of living.
For the new Mount Vernon apartment building, this is exactly what is happening. This city has a population of 67,000 people, most at or below poverty level. The building is located at 203 Gramatan and will be the first of several new developments in the city. Both the city of Mount Vernon and developers hope constructing a visually appealing building in a poor area will encourage other developers to follow suit.
Peter Fine, chief executive of Atlantic Development said that this project will be an economic catalyst that will hopefully be the first of many new and improvement developments for the city. In fact, Fine is so confident in the strategy that a market rate apartment building is already being planned. If that plan gets approved, it will be positioned adjacent to the first building.
Adding high-end amenities to workforce housing has many benefits. As explained by Fine, for the affordable apartment building owned in upper Westchester, which is a wealthier area, there has never been a vacancy in more than two and half years because of high demand. Therefore, he expects the same from the new apartment building in Mount Vernon.
For Kenwood and Atlantic to offer luxury affordable living, incentives were provided by the city. For instance, there was a $3 million subsidized loan used to pay for public improvements and enhanced streetscapes. In addition, funds were awarded from the state and federal government in the form of low-income tax credits.
For the people of Mount Vernon who only earn between $50,000 and $70,000 annually compared to the median income of $104,000 for Westchester County, workforce housing with luxury amenities also provides a sense of pride in living in a beautiful home, something many people in the area have never experienced.