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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You're Invited To Historic Preservation On Roosevelt Island Free Public Lecture Presented By Roosevelt Island Historical Society Thursday January 17 At RI Public Library

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) is hosting a free public lecture titled Historic Preservation On Roosevelt Island And Beyond Thursday, January 17 (6:30 PM) at the NY Public Library Roosevelt Island Branch (524 Main Street)

According to RIHS:


Historic preservation combines multiple disciplines: architecture, design, knowledge of period materials and construction techniques, plus communication to manage the process of building owners, regulators and the masons and builders who perform the work.

Architect Thomas A. Fenniman, AIA, has completed work on the Visitors Center Kiosk


and the slate roof and narthex restoration of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, as well as a Condition Study of the Renwick Lighthouse. With over 35 years experience working in NYC and the metropolitan area, Fenniman has developed a special expertise in working with non-profit institutions and in the creative use of cost-effective designs and solutions with a commitment to quality. His firm has been recognized for excellence in historic restoration by numerous State and local agencies including The New York State Parks Department, The New York Landmarks Conservancy, Friends of the Upper Eastside, The Victorian Society of New York, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Fenniman will speak on these projects and others completed in Manhattan and Brooklyn at a lecture presented by the Roosevelt Island Historical Society at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

The event is FREE and open to the public. It is the third in the Society’s annual series of fall lectures, which is supported by funds provided by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s Public Purpose Fund and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, with funding from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

Developer Hudson Related Begins Construction On Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 8 Affordable Housing With 341 Units - Will Roosevelt Island Residents Receive Preference For Housing Lottery?

As reported last November, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors agreed to enter into a ground lease with Hudson Related to develop Riverwalk Building 8 as a 341 unit affordable housing development in Southtown:

... BUILDING 8 GROUND LEASE TERMS

Under the Building 8 Ground Lease (i) 3% of the 341 units will be reserved as Homeless Units, (ii) 3% of the units will be reserved for very low-income families with household incomes of 40% of AMI, (iii) 14% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 50% of AMI, (iv) 10% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 80% of AMI, (v) 20% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 100% of AMI, and (vi) 50% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 130% of AMI. This breakdown provides an even greater degree of affordability than was set forth in the Fifth Amendment....
Construction on the Riverwalk building 8 began this week.
Some Roosevelt Island residents will lose their unobstructed waterfront views



and Roosevelt Island kids will lose a beloved sledding hill.



According to the RIOC:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has executed a ground lease agreement with the developers – the Hudson Companies Inc. and the Related Companies LLP. - for Southtown Building 8 that will bring 341 units of additional affordable housing to Roosevelt Island by 2021.

At a special session convened November 20, RIOC’s Board of Directors - after reviewing the deal’s proposed structure - voted to allow RIOC President and CEO Susan Rosenthal approval to negotiate and execute a final ground lease with the Hudson Related Companies for Building 8, a planned 21-story building comprised of approximately 240,000 square feet of floor area, on the plot just south of 480 Main Street. The building will be designed by Handel Architects who also designed the Southtown 7 building.

In a negotiation during the special session, Hudson Related also agreed to construct a comfort station at the Island’s Firefighters Field and make modifications to the field up to a cost of $1 million.

Sixty percent of the units in Southtown 8 will be permanently affordable. The other 40 percent of the units will be income restricted and or affordable for at least 40 years from permanent loan conversion.

“The Southtown 8 ground lease will allow RIOC to continue honoring its mission, as laid out in the Island’s General Development Plan; to promote, develop and maintain an affordable mixed-use residential community,” here on the Island, said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal. Of the current 5,226 units already built on Roosevelt Island, 2,200 remain affordable, according to RIOC’s 2018 Performance Measure Report.

The Southtown 8 building will be financed under M2 Mixed Income programs through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development of the City of New York (HPD) and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

Other provisions in the deal include:
  1. On the date of closing, December 26, 2018, the developer paid RIOC $288,000, the first annual payment of ground rent.
  2. At the beginning of the Rent Commencement Date, (or the end of construction), the developer’s annual ground rent will be $576,000 and increase three percent each year.
  3. A one-time rental payment of $16,800,000 is also due at the beginning of the rental period, but can be deferred up to 36 months at a four percent interest rate.
 The apartment quantity by size in Southtown Building 8 is broken down as follows:
  • 81 - studio
  • 158 - 1BR
  • 51 - 2 BR
  • 50 - 3 BR
Depending on family and apartment size, income-level based rents (calculated based on the AMI) will vary from a minimum of $505 a month for a studio; to $3,431 for a three-bedroom.

The City requires that the new building provide a 50 percent preference for residents of Community Board 8’s jurisdiction which includes Roosevelt Island.

When marketing and leasing starts, residential applications will be submitted to a “housing lottery” via the NYC Housing Connect website which is administered by the city’s HPD.
Will Roosevelt Island residents get preference for the Riverwalk Building 8 housing lottery.

During the November 7 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting, Hudson Related developer David Kramer said he would love to give Roosevelt Island residents a preference  for the affordable units but the NYC Housing Preservation Department, which is providing project financing said the preference is for entire Community Board 8 and not limited to Roosevelt Island residents.



But I asked RIOC Board Directors and President Susan Rosenthal:
As you know, during the November 7 RIOC Real Estate Development Advisory Committee meeting (see post here), RIOC President Susan Rosenthal asked Hudson Related developer David Kramer about providing  Roosevelt Island residents with preference for obtaining housing in the new Riverwalk 8 Affordable Housing building soon to start construction. Susan asked David if it would help for RIOC to insist that such a provision be in the agreement.

David replied that he was told by the NYC Financing Authorities that the preference applied to Community Board 8 residents, which included Roosevelt Island, but could not be restricted to Roosevelt Island residents.

However, according to the NYC Housing Connect web site (HPD & HDC) FAQ about Affordable Housing Preferences:
The City is committed to widening opportunities for affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Please note that all applicants, regardless of preference, must meet the income, employment, and other eligibility criteria set for each property for which they are applying.
Preference is given to applicants that meet one or more of the following criteria:
  1. Persons with Mobility, Hearing, and/or Vision Disabilities

    Federal disability statutes give preference to five percent (5%) of units for households applicants with a household member who has a mobility disability. Another two percent (2%) of units receive preference for households with a household member who has a hearing or visual disability.
  2. Current Community Board Residents (CB)

    Current residents of the community board in which the property is located receive a preference for fifty percent (50%) of the units. The community preference was established to provide greater housing opportunities for long-time residents of New York City neighborhoods where HPD/HDC have made a significant investment in housing. To find what CB you live in, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb.shtml.
  3. Municipal Employees

    The City recognizes that many New York City municipal employees are required to live within the five boroughs and can often find it very difficult to obtain affordable housing. The municipal preference makes five percent (5%) of the units in HPD- or HDC-financed developments available to current municipal employees. Down Payment Assistance for homeownership applicants is also available. HPD/HDC will also work with its partners to provide homeownership counseling and education to municipal employees interested in becoming homeowners.

    Nearly all New York City employees are eligible for the preference. For a list of eligible Agencies, visit:http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/faqs-municipal-employees.shtml#agencies. Employees will be screened to ensure that no conflict of interest exists. If you are unsure whether you may have a conflict of interest, check with your agency.
  4. Project-specific Preferences

    As part of the agreements set forth for a specific development, additional preferences may apply. Such preferences may include, but are not limited to, preferences for Senior Citizens or Veterans. Any such preference would be specified in the advertisement for the project
Paragraph 4 allows Project Specific Preferences and is not limited to community board residents, Senior Citizens, Veterans, municipal employees etc. This may allow for a Roosevelt Island resident preference for Riverwalk Building 8.

Here is an example of a NYC affordable housing development in Chelsea that has a preference for NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents. If NYCHA residents are permitted a preference for the Chelsea building under NYC affordable housing program, why not a Roosevelt Island residents preference for Riverwalk Building 8?

Will RIOC revisit this issue of preferences for Roosevelt Island residents with Hudson Related and inquire with appropriate authorities if it is possible?
The Real Deal reports on the Hudson Related Rivewalk affordable housing building financing today:
... The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development provided a $20.29 million permanent subsidy loan, while the New York City Housing Development Corporation gave $12.9 million in tax-exempt bonds. The New York State HCR through its Homes for Working Families program loaned $12.5 million.

Meanwhile, Citi provided a $74.6 million construction loan and letter of credit for the tax-exempt bonds as well as a $3 million subsidy loan. The bank also committed to buying the tax credits from the project’s tax credit syndicator, WNC.

In a statement, Citi’s Tricia Yarger called the financing structure for the project “complex.”...
Will update when more info available on Riverwalk Building 8 preferences for Roosevelt Island residents. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Roosevelt Island Gunpoint Robbery Sunday Afternoon On Seawall Behind Island House - 120 Oxycontin Pills Taken

A Roosevelt Island tipster asked today:

Have you heard of the 550 robbery or attempted robbery at gunpoint?
According to a NYPD spokesperson, on Sunday afternoon at approximately 2 PM, the victim, a 35 year old male was approached on Main Street by a man known to him. The assailant displayed a gun and robbed the victim.

Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Deputy Director Kevin Brown reports:
There was a gunpoint robbery rear of 579 Main Street west seawall on 1/13/19 at 1359 hours

Perp M/40

Property taken 120 OxyContin pills.

No injuries reported and no arrests yet. Matter is under investigation.

UPDATE 1/16 - RIOC Public Safety Department Deputy Director Kevin Brown adds:
The victim was picking up the pills for his parent

The victim was picking up the pills which were obtained with a prescription from Gristedes pharmacy for his parent who came into PSD with the son when report was filed.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Executive Staff Changes, Hires New Chief Financial Officer and Announces General Counsel Leaving Post

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) announced today, Monday, January 14, that General Counsel Jacqueline Flug will be leaving RIOC on February 8, 2019 to join the private sector.

“RIOC has had the privilege and pleasure of Jaci’s good counsel for more than two years; I will miss her intelligence, skill, commitment and calming temperament,” said RIOC President Susan G. Rosenthal.

“I could always count on Jaci to speak the truth and every executive needs that from her advisor. We wish her well and sincerely thank her for her service,” she said.

Also, RIOC announced John O’Reilly as its new chief financial officer and vice president for financial affairs. His appointment was approved at the RIOC Board of Directors meeting December 13.

O’Reilly is a certified public accountant with experience in strategic planning, tax, risk management and construction. He previously was the chief financial officer for DCK Worldwide Holdings, Inc. and Leech, Tishman, Fuscaldo & Lampl, LLC.

“With more than a dozen major capital projects on-going – in addition to our aggressive capital improvement plan – we are fortunate and thrilled to have John join our executive team and help lead us with expertise and acumen,” Rosenthal said.
In the last several months, the RIOC Chief Financial Officer, VP of Capital Planning and now General Counsel have all left after relatively short stays in their positions - approximately 2 years or less.

Community speculation was that Ms. Flug was being groomed to succeed current RIOC President Susan Rosenthal when she retires.

Roosevelt Island NYC Ferry Service Adds Brooklyn Navy Yard Stop To Astoria Route Starting May 2019

Roosevelt Island Ferry service will add another stop this spring with the addition of the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the Astoria Route.



Here's more on the Brooklyn Navy Yard:


BrooklynNavyYard_About from Brooklyn Navy Yard on Vimeo.



And a massive 75,000 Wegmans supermarket will open at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this fall.

UPDATE 1:45 PM - According to press release today from Mayor de Blassio's office:
Following his State of the City address last week, Mayor de Blasio today released additional details about the expansion of the NYC Ferry system, which will begin serving all five boroughs in 2020....

... “In less than two years, NYC Ferry has become one of the most reliable, affordable, and beloved transit systems in the city,” said James Patchett, New York City Economic Development President and CEO. “Expansion of the system means getting even more New Yorkers where they need to go, increasing access to good-paying jobs, schools, and other neighborhoods, all for the price of a subway ride. We are proud to have delivered an invaluable asset to the city that makes all five boroughs fairer and stronger.”...

... “This new ferry service, particularly for Roosevelt Island, the East Side of Manhattan, Western Queens and North Brooklyn will provide important new transit options for New Yorkers, better connect our neighborhoods, and strengthen our local economy. I applaud the Mayor and the City for their continued dedication to this project,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney....

... "The NYC Ferry has fundamentally improved Roosevelt Islanders' commutes, and the new connection to the Brooklyn Navy Yard will open up even more opportunities," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "By connecting Cornell Tech to the Navy Yard, we are further cementing Roosevelt Island's role as an innovation hub. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett for continuing to expand this great service."...

... NYC ferry has created over 325 jobs such as captains, deckhands, customer service agents, ticketing, operations and more and is currently accepting applications. Hiring in advance of the system’s expansion in 2020 and 2021 will commence next spring. New Yorkers of all backgrounds and skill levels are encouraged to apply. Jobseekers can apply directly at https://www.ferry.nyc/careers/....

Friday, January 11, 2019

You're Invited To Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Ben Kallos State Of The District Address Sunday January 13 - Kallos At RI Tram Today Petitioning For Public Advocate Candidate Jumaane Williams And Speaks To The To Code And Beyond Conference At Cornell Tech

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos invites you to his annual State of the District address on Sunday January 13, 1 PM, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Auditorium (430 East 67th Street).

Click here to reserve a free reusable bag with your RSVP or call (212) 860 -1950.

Earlier today, Council Member Kallos was on Roosevelt Island petitioning for  NYC Public Advocate candidate Jummane Williams
and speaking to the To Code and Beyond Conference at Cornell Tech.