This summer, construction commenced on another low-income housing initiative in Queens, the likes of which have been in high demand in many parts of the New York City Metropolitan area. Unlike other affordable housing ventures, such as those CISLeads has covered like the Empire State Dairy and Archer Towers projects, Bishop Valero is one of the first to emerge since the start of the pandemic to focus chiefly on affordable housing for seniors.
Bishop Valero is helmed by Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation and designed by Dattner Architects. The property located at 23-11 31st Road in Astoria, Queens, on the former site of the Catholic Charities Catherine Sheridan Senior Housing parking lot was meant to close in March of 2020. The COVID-19 shutdown delayed these plans in the earlier part of the year. Should another occur, its status should protect its continued progress as an affordable housing project.
Citing affordable housing as one of NYC’s enduring crises, Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens stressed that the project would “provide much-needed housing to low-income seniors and a supportive environment for formerly homeless,” as “there are thousands of individuals in need of affordable housing in New York City, and we cannot build fast enough.”
What Are the Specifics of the Project?
The $62 million project has secured its funding from Bank of America, Barings, and Richman Housing Resources but also tax credits through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Renderings show a six-story building with a plain tan masonry facade on the ground floor and brick-red cement on every floor above. The windows are asymmetrical on all the upper floors, giving it a slick, modern vibe.
- The residences will make up 102 units within the building, with one superintendent unit, comprising about 84,900 square feet in total, all on the upper floors.
- The ground floor will house a 200-seat senior center, run by Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services.
- There will be daily, on-site prepared hot meals, referral services, educational seminars, fitness classes, and case management services in the senior center.
- 100 percent of all units will go to seniors making up to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), with 30 percent of the units reserved for formerly homeless seniors with severe mental illnesses.
Rent subsidization will come through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 voucher program.
What Kind of Work Is the Bishop Valero Project Creating?
Tradespersons and firms involved with the project can expect steady work through the next year, at the very least. Construction and ground breaking reportedly took place in early July. No demo has taken place or been scheduled. Along with the necessary wiring, plumbing, and structural work that goes into a building of this size, there will also likely be alterations to the area around, from sidewalks to any landscaping. The apartments themselves will likely include more than the standard residence by their need for accessibility.
Currently, no timeline for completion is on record.