FAMOUS PROPERTIES / SPOTLIGHT
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would not penetrate the roof within the greenhouse. They
also designed a ventilation system in which each unit has
its own exhaust fan that goes directly outside, with no common ducts in the building. “This design also makes it a safer
building, with less fire risk,” said Bluestone. “Additionally,
it’s a quieter building because you can’t hear your neighbors
through common ducts, and you can’t smell what your neighbors are cooking for dinner.”
With affordable housing in such high demand, filling the
units was a more complex process than first-come, first-served. Rather, it was done through a combination of predetermined preferences and a lottery.
Through a deal with N YCHA, Blue Sea Development set
aside 25 percent of the units for NYCHA’s tenants, many of
whom are on long waiting lists. They then set aside another 50 percent of the units for people within the community,
allowing those in the neighborhood first access. Additional
preferences (in smaller percentages) included units for those
with disabilities and municipal employees. The remaining
units were then assigned through the lottery system. (They
received 4,500 applications.)
To address the day-to-day issues, the building has its own
property manager and an onsite superintendent. The super
completed a training course for sustainability, and he knows
the building inside and out.
MAKING ITS MARK
Blue Sea Development continues to expand and grow its innovative affordable housing vision into new developments
throughout the city.
“Every developer has their own thing,” Bluestone said.
“There is additional expense to doing a nicer building. We
make the effort to find ways to finance those expenses within
our cost structure.”
These efforts have resulted in Arbor House helping to re-
define affordable housing. “Quality and affordability are not
mutually exclusive terms,” said Bluestone. “If you took this
building and moved it a few miles southwest into Manhattan,
it would be called a luxury building … It is a beautiful build-
ing, and the community appreciates it.”