Author Archives Trinity Financial

Randolph Houses receives 27th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

By Thomas Brown – Development Manager, NYC

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This year, Phase 1 of Randolph Houses will receive the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project Award, an award that recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in the restoration, preservation or adaptive reuse of historic buildings. The awards are named for Lucy G. Moses, a New Yorker whose generosity benefited the city for more than 50 years. The Lucy G. Moses Awards are the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation honoring projects that “provide jobs, promote tourism, maintain beloved institutions, and protect the character of the City.”

The first phase of the Randolph Houses project successfully rehabilitated 22 of the 36 five story Old Law tenement buildings that make up the development. Once slated for demolition due to its deteriorating state, Trinity took on the Randolph Houses project, along with partners West Harlem Group Assistance and NYCHA, to execute on the historic rehabilitation of the existing structures into two sets of interconnected and fully handicap-accessible buildings. The building facades have been restored and now feature repaired brownstone, limestone and brick, as well as new cast-iron window surrounds, new windows and doors. The interiors of the buildings have been completely demolished and rehabilitated into 168 units of affordable and public housing, along with community spaces. The reconfigured 168 units are a mix of studio, one-, two-, three- and four bedroom apartments designed to accommodate family living. The rehabilitated buildings contain community space, computer lab, fitness room and storage for residents. There are also site improvements which include two children’s play areas for different age groups and active and passive outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.

We strongly believe in preserving the architectural integrity of the neighborhoods we work in while creating a positive change for all residents. Trinity, along with our partners from West Harlem Group Assistance and NYCHA, is honored to receive this award. Thank you, New York Landmarks Conservancy, for including Randolph Houses among your 2017 winners!

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May 09, 2017
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A Recap of ABX 2016 – Mixed Income Housing In Smart Locations: Making It Work

By Kenan Bigby, Managing Director

 

Mixed-income housing has been a growing trend in real estate over the past decade, spurred both by community needs and by developers looking to distinguish their projects from the field. But the process of building mixed-income developments is not as straight forward as sprinkling affordable units into a new market-rate development. These types of projects are complicated requiring complex financial structuring, careful planning and strategic location selection. So why do it?  Last winter, I spoke on a panel at ABX 2016 where I was joined by Angie Liou, Executive Director of Asian Community Development Corporation and Andre Leroux Executive Director – Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance.

During the panel, I shared insights about our Enterprise Center development in Brockton, MA, discussing the challenges and importance of building mixed-income housing in smart locations.

When Trinity Financial first looked at Brockton, MA as a location to invest in, the city was at the beginning of its renaissance. While market conditions were not yet strong enough to support a fully market-rate development downtown, elected officials and stakeholders expressed a need for more market-rate housing, fearing that exclusively developing affordable units would prevent the type of economic development necessary to spur Brockton’s emerging downtown.

 

 

EnterpriseCenter_Ext_13So what made us decide that Brockton would be a smart site to develop mixed-income housing? Brockton had two of the most important ingredients – the right physical location, and dedicated and involved stakeholders. First, the Enterprise Center is transit-oriented, located within close proximity to the MBTA Commuter Rail system as well as the Brockton Area Transit bus system, ensuring residents will be well-connected to the surrounding community. Because of the existing infrastructure in downtown Brockton, we were confident that the city would be able to accommodate the new development, physically and economically. But ensuring that the project would come to fruition required a strong coalition, including Brockton stakeholders such as: local elected officials, municipal employees, members of the downtown business community and of course, the Trinity team , aligning with a shared mission to benefit the Brockton community at large. With the right location and team, we were able to transform a parcel of land that generated no revenue into a fully taxable property, providing an economic stimulus through development that will help revitalize Brockton. A rising tide floats all boats and as downtown Brockton strengthens, it will continue to encourage more development, making Brockton a smart city for future mixed-income and mixed-use developments.

In 2015, we completed Phase 1 of the Enterprise Center, creating 113 total housing units, including 42 market rate, 29 affordable and 42 artist preference units. Along with 52,000 square feet of commercial/office space, 10,000 square feet of retail and artist exhibition space, 95 residential parking garage spaces and 185 surface parking lot spaces, the Enterprise Center is now a successful development that Trinity Financial is proud to have as a part of our portfolio. But that’s not all – we are looking forward to beginning Phase 2 later this year!

For more information on Enterprise Center click here. For more information on Trinity Financial visit our website or follow us on Twitter at @Trinity_RE.

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Apr 15, 2017
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425 Grand Concourse Sets the Bar for Energy Efficiency with Passive House

By Christoph Stump – Assistant VP, Design & Construction, NYC

At Trinity, our goal is always to deliver high quality and cutting-edge mixed-use urban projects, regardless of the challenges stemming from politics, infrastructure, environment or market profile. So when we responded to the City of New York’s Request for Proposals for 425 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, which sought a mixed-use building with 100 percent subsidized affordable rental units, it was time to get creative and include as many community benefits as feasible. Currently, 425 Grand Concourse is in the midst of a major revitalization. Under the ownership of the City of New York, the parcel is intended to support the creation of long-term affordable housing in a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. We put together a plan to help bring the building, and the substantial changes requested by the City, to fruition.

We proposed a 28-story mixed-use building with 289 apartments, an urgent care center, cultural space, an educational facility of more than 35,000 square feet, and a retail space of about 12,000 square feet, totaling approximately 322,000 square feet. Even though it wasn’t required by the RFP, we integrated Passive House, a design concept for energy efficiency in a building, helping to greatly reduce the building’s carbon footprint while simultaneously addressing a host of challenges facing multi-family buildings, particularly affordable housing, including:

Savings. In affordable housing, since rents are comparably lower than market-rate apartments, a tenant’s utility bill takes up a much larger share of the family’s housing cost than it would for market-rate housing. With a total energy demand of only 25 percent compared to a code-compliant “standard” building, the savings on utility costs have major cost savings for both tenants and landlords.

Maximizing heat- and energy-recovery systems. A “standard” new building includes a thermal building envelope and stale air exhaust system, typically via a toilet and kitchen exhaust. Passive House works by combining increased thermal and air tightness performance of the building envelope and heat- or energy-recovery. With energy-recovery systems, 80 to 90 percent of the energy contained in the exhaust air is recovered and used for the pre-conditioning of the incoming fresh air, greatly reducing the actual heating and cooling loads.

Fresh air supply. The mechanical fresh air supply through heat- or energy-recovery units into apartments has additional benefits to tenants, including significantly increased comfort from a constant, tempered, low-velocity fresh air supply with filtered, fresh outside air. For tenants, this means minimal exposure to asthma triggering dust and other environmental particles commonly found in outside air.

Building quality. With increased thermal and air barrier requirements for the facade, foundations, and roof, quality control during design and construction is critical to achieving the Passive House standard. The result? A better performing building envelope as well as mechanical system that keep pests, air pollutants, water, and noise outside the building.

But still, teams considering Passive House need to look at the challenges of implementation. Typically, the consequent continuity of the exterior air barrier and the superior thermal envelope with minimized thermal bridging are challenges of any Passive House, and new techniques for air sealing and the elimination of thermal bridges need to be learned, developed and applied. Specialty consultants for Passive House certification and air tightness testing are necessary in addition to standard consultants, but both standard consultants and the development and construction team also have to undergo Passive House training. Without the entire project team committed, Passive House certification will be hard to achieve.

With all these obstacles, why would a developer voluntarily choose to achieve the Passive House standard in a multi-family building?

Passive House benefits are easier to achieve in multi-family than in single family buildings as the ratio between envelope size and enclosed building volume is much more favorable in multi-family projects. The main source of added cost to construction of a Passive House is the energy-recovery ventilation, as well as the added design and construction work to ensure a continuous thermal and air barrier. But with HVAC systems much smaller than in standard buildings, it can be argued that the increase in construction cost is minor. When you look at the benefit of reduced utility bills, increased tenant comfort and building quality, the advantages are undeniable.

Public policy is also boosting the push for Passive House. The City of New York is among one of the first major American cities to have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent of the 2005 levels by 2050, in order to stem the effects of human-induced climate change. In New York, the vast majority of carbon emissions stem from buildings, so Passive House is an important building concept monitored by City Hall with great interest.

As the benefits of Passive House continue to grow more apparent, we’re excited to see how it becomes integrated into multi-family buildings across the rest of the United States. With our experience at the forefront of the Passive House movement as one of the first developers in the country to implement the Passive House standard in a multi-family building, we look forward to being involved in additional Passive House implementation in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feb 22, 2017
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