|West Farms Square|
West Farms Square is a 526-unit affordable housing development located near the intersection of East Tremont and Bryant Avenues in the Bronx. This project involves the renovation of eight occupied buildings that were originally constructed in the early 1970’s. Although the development had been maintained on an as-needed basis and had consistently high occupancy rates, few substantial improvements were made in its first 40 years of existence.
In May 2011, Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) teamed up with University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP) to begin a much needed overhaul, addressing deferred maintenance items and renovating the buildings inside and out.
This renovation aims to restore affordable homes, improve energy efficiency, and reduce operational costs. All apartment bathrooms and kitchens have been renovated and equipped with Energy Star rated appliances and low-flow faucets. The electrical upgrades include sub-metering to track energy consumption on the unit level, new hallway lighting, and infrared occupancy sensors in utility rooms. The site’s original boiler was replaced with six high-efficiency boilers, and the steam heat system will soon be replaced with hydronic baseboards. Each unit is now equipped with a thermostat to control temperature and prevent wasted energy. The addition of three micro turbine co-generators will supplement electricity needs and the heat by-product will produce hot water.
The grounds are being transformed from largely chained off, unusable spaces into secure recreational areas for residents. The landscape plan includes benches, walkways, planted areas and three playgrounds. All of the playground surfaces are made from recycled materials and are permeable to help prevent pollution caused by sewer overflow. One of the playgrounds is adjacent to a new community room that will be used for children and senior programming. The roofs of three buildings have been coated with highly reflective paint as part of the NYC Cool Roofs program to help cut cooling costs.
West Farms Square was financed using equity raised from 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-exempt bonds. The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development renewed its Housing Assistance Section 8 Contract extending affordability in the form of rental subsidy to 438 low-income families for the next 20 years.
FBHC and UNHP, along with all of their partners, are restoring West Farms Square, preserving 526 homes for low- and middle-income families and securing another 40 years of affordability for West Farms residents.