The Real Deal New York

Developers buy Bronx apartment portfolio for $75M in rare affordable play

Firms will make 100 market-rate units affordable again
By Eddie Small | January 02, 2019 12:00PM

Clockwise from top left: 1892 Arthur Avenue, 1908 Belmont Avenue, and 2095 Honeywell Avenue, and 2090 Mohegan Avenue in the Bronx (Credit: Camber Property Group)

UPDATED, 2:54 p.m., Jan. 2: Camber Property Group, Belveron Partners and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development have spent $75 million to buy an 11-building, 343-unit property portfolio in the Bronx.

As part of the deal, 100 market-rate apartments will be converted back into affordable units, and the rest of the units will stay affordable for 40 more years. The firms described this as a rare move, noting that buildings do not often go back to being affordable after they have already been converted to market-rate.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a property that was previously subject to rent regulation and affordability restrictions and use tools that the city makes available to put the units back into affordability,” said Rick Gropper, principal of Camber Property Group.

The developers secured an affordable housing tax abatement from the city for the project, which Bronx Council Member Rafael Salamanca was instrumental in helping to secure, according to Gropper.

Salamanca praised the deal in a statement as “responsible development that builds and preserves affordable housing.”

Restrictions on the former Section 8 buildings expired in 2010, at which point the owner began converting units into market-rate housing. Units continued to automatically come out of rent stabilization after Josh Gotlib’s Black Spruce Management bought the portfolio in 2015 for $51.5 million.

The new owners will spend $4 million to renovate mechanical systems, roofs, common areas and security at the buildings.

The buildings are all clustered in West Farms at 1892-94 Arthur Avenue, 1898, 1899, 1900 and 1908 Belmont Avenue, 2082, 2083, 2088 and 2090 Mohegan Avenue, and 2095 Honeywell Avenue. Aaron Jungreis of Rosewood Realty brokered the deal for both sides.

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said in a statement that she was thrilled to return the Bronx properties back to rent regulation and that the agency was “leaving no stone unturned in our effort to keep New Yorkers in their homes and communities.”

Camber and Belveron bought a trio of buildings in northern Manhattan earlier this year for $60 million and also agreed to extend their affordability for 40 years. The two companies teamed up last year to buy properties at 820 and 880 Thieriot Avenue from Starrett Corporation for $19 million.

This story has been updated to clarify how the affordable units in the portfolio became market-rate units.