When CS Melrose Site B commenced building La Terraza in the Melrose Commons area of the Bronx in 2003, the developer was immediately hit with site issues ranging from financial to programmatic difficulties. The problems started with the complex financing for the project, which closed in June 2009—a time that Tell Metzger, senior project manager for CS Melrose Site B, describes as dark economic days.
“Lenders were hard to come by, investors were hard to come by,” he says looking back. “[Then] we had 10 different [finance] sources. Assembling 10 different sources into a project where they sometimes had some contradictory programmatic requirements is a challenge.”
With the site being in the flight path of LaGuardia Airport, the developer had to maintain a highly specific level of sound absorption within the apartments. The requirement also meant the firm had to utilize a different HVAC system to ensure proper ventilation—but the grant funds from one state agency didn’t permit packaged terminal air-conditioner window treatments. CS Melrose eventually provided extensive documentation to waive the requirement in an effort to install a system that complied with multiple state agency regulations and satisfied sound-attenuation requirements. Despite the hurdles, CS Melrose still managed to comply with green requirements for tax credits, with the state’s help.
“The fact that the state stepped up and provided technical support was helpful,” Metzger says of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, adding that its and other agencies’ environmental requirements put the affordable housing industry ahead of the market-rate industry as far as green technology.
With a green consultant in tow, CS Melrose brought the energy-efficiency rating of the eight-story La Terraza to 27.8 percent, well above the standard 20 percent requirement. The units include bamboo floors, high-albedo roofing, and high-efficiency appliances and ventilation, rounded out by a green grocer downstairs providing fresh produce for residents.
The building provides affordable housing in an area of high demand and little supply. It comes as no surprise, then, that the building is fully leased.