FAMOUS PROPERTIES / SPOTLIGHT
With culture and history around every corner, you can find
pretty much anything you’re looking for in New York City.
But one thing is hard to find: affordable housing.
In fact, the city is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis
in each of its five boroughs. The current mayor, Bill de Blasio,
and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, both made affordable housing a top priority for their administrations.
Enter Arbor House, a 120,000-square-foot residential
building located in the city’s South Bronx neighborhood.
“Demand for housing here is huge,” said Les Bluestone,
RAISING THE BAR
principal of Blue Sea Development, which built and now
manages Arbor House. “This particular area of the city is
also one of the poorer congressional districts in the city.”
Built through Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace
Plan, Arbor House provides 124 units of affordable housing
to families who earn 60 percent of the area’s median income.
The building has helped provide more affordable housing
while also breaking its mold.
Arbor House is a LEED Platinum-certified building. It utilizes energy-efficient systems, including Energy Star appliances and high efficiency boilers. It also has water conservation features, such as a rainwater harvesting system and dual
flush, extra-low-flow bathroom fixtures.
Arbor House also sets itself apart from conventional affordable housing by offering high-level finishes—including
wood features and wallpaper—throughout the common
spaces and the units themselves.
“We used these finishes with the belief that if you give
people a nice place to live, they treat it as such—and that has
proven to be the case here,” Bluestone observed.
Additionally, Arbor House has a full-sized gym, a beautifully landscaped outdoor plaza and a fitness path. It boasts
ornamental ironwork throughout its interior and exterior,
designed by a local artist. The artist designed the building’s
iron fence by hosting workshops with neighborhood kids
during the after-school program at a New York City Housing
Authority (NYCHA) building. She then incorporated their
designs into the fence.
“The kids can now look at the fence and say, ‘I helped do
this,’” noted Bluestone. “It’s great for them, and it’s really
added to the building and the community.”
At Arbor House, Bluestone and his team recognized an
opportunity to integrate green building and principles of
healthy living into its design. Residents in this neighborhood
disproportionately suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and asthma.