Joint Venture Completes Second Mixed Income Housing Development at Transit Hub
STAMFORD, Conn., June 4, 2012 — Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Stamford Mayor Mike Pavia and Congressman Jim Himes joined co-developers Jonathan F. P. Rose, president of the Jonathan Rose Companies LLC; Peter and Anthony Malkin, chairman and president, respectively, of Malkin Properties; HUD and DECD officials, financing partners, community leaders and residents at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 30 marking the opening of Metro Green Residences, a 50-unit mixed-income green housing development located one block from the Stamford Metro North Railroad Station at the corner of Henry and Atlantic streets in Stamford, CT.
Metro Green Residences is the second green housing development by the team at Metro Green, designed to provide housing opportunities to people of many income levels and lifestyles, including working families, young professionals and retirees. Metro Green Residences is a seven-story block-and-plank new construction building, including a diverse mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Forty of the units are designated for reduced income households with incomes ranging from 25% to 60% of Area Median Income, while 10 units are available at market rate. With a rapid and successful lease-up, only three market rate apartment units remain available. Over 1,600 square feet of green retail space is available at the ground floor adjacent to the plaza and rain garden through Westport, CT-based Saugatuck Commercial Real Estate (http://saugatuckcommercial.com/property075.html).
Metro Green Apartments, the first phase of the Metro Green master plan, achieved the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) New Construction Gold certification and is fully leased. Upon completion, Metro Green, a mixed-use Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), will consist of 238 mixed-income residential units and a 17-story, 350,000 square-foot sustainable Class-A office tower. The overall Metro Green Residential project has received LEED ND Gold Certification for Neighborhood Development.
“This is a great opportunity to celebrate what success looks like in the State of Connecticut and particularly here in Stamford, and what it should look like throughout the rest of state,” said Governor Malloy, who as former mayor of Stamford was instrumental in paving the way for the development. “We have restored the state’s commitment to affordable housing, whether it’s the $330 million that we have committed over next 10 years to rebuild state sponsored housing or the over $150 million we have outlined for projects like these and others throughout the state. But first and foremost, what we also need are communities like Stamford that are willing to move forward for ALL of their people. In far too many places, we still measure success by how the very wealthiest amongst us do, yet in Stamford a very clear decision was made, and sustained over a period of time and through several administrations, to measure our success by how well all of our citizens are doing. And that really is what affordable housing is all about.”
Metro Green Residences is a leading model for transit-oriented, LEED certified, mixed income housing development in the State of Connecticut, developed in a smart-growth location. Designed by the Stamford office of Perkins Eastman Architects, the new building is seeking to receive LEED Gold Certification for New Construction. The project is creating a vibrant 24-hour community providing mixed-income housing for both local residents and commuters, and it represents the future of green design and transit-oriented development in the heart of Stamford’s South End.
Public amenities, already completed, include a public plaza featuring a rain garden, streetscape with custom light fixtures and curbside plantings. The Metro Green Residential development in its entirety offers residents an ample courtyard landscaped with sitting areas, active gardening spaces, a meditation labyrinth, convenient parking and a pedestrian link to the Stamford Metro North Train Station. The project accommodates the burgeoning housing demand for a range of income levels in lower Fairfield County and will supply new office space demanded by economic growth with the lowest possible environmental impact. The development site at the Stamford Transportation Center is located within the City of Stamford’s Enterprise Zone.
“It is occasions like this, where being mayor and working hard trying to do the right things for your city manifests itself in the production of something that is so valuably needed in our community, something that adds value to the overall general society of Stamford. I want to thank all of those involved in this project for the imagination, insight, fortitude and determination to make this happen. And I’m looking forward to Building A,” said Mayor Pavia, referring to the third planned residential component of the Metro Green project, a 50/50 affordable rental and market rate building proposal for which designs could be unveiled as early as September.
“What’s behind the walls is more than bricks and mortar. It is a place where people are proud to live, where it is convenient and comfortable and provides them with the basic component of their lives that makes them secure and allows them to go about their business without worrying whether the roof is going to leak or the heat will be on. It’s all here for them,” added Mayor Pavia. “What these residents do is go out and buy groceries and go to local drug stores and spend money in the community. This project lends itself to create what I call ‘One Great City’ — Stamford is one great city. And why? Because Stamford continues to facilitate prosperity by creating projects of this kind.”
Congressman Jim Himes said, “Metro Green is not just a great little corner of Stamford that’s going to make a difference in this city. This is pointing us in the direction — and by us I mean Norwalk and Bridgeport and Chicago and LA — of what the future of the American City looks like. These are challenging times, and in tough times Stamford is demonstrating to the rest of the country where we need to go — how to make cities that are vibrant, fair and progressive, and economic engines for everybody. Working together with city, state and federal governments, the developers of Metro Green are creating mixed, vibrant communities where firemen and teachers can afford to live, and where seniors can afford to stay in the neighborhoods they helped build.”
It has been a long road to development in the 25 years since Malkin Properties acquired the 5.2-acre former brownfield site, through zoning changes; several city administrations; and a myriad of local, state and federal funding agencies that helped bring the project to fruition. Anthony Malkin noted the Herculean efforts of Malkin Construction, who delivered the project on time and on budget, two factors crucial to preserving government funding. Financing for the $27 million Metro Green Residences project was arranged through low-income housing tax credits from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Stamford, JPMorgan Chase and First Sterling Financial, Inc.
Jonathan Rose thanked local community leaders, city, state and federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Housing and Urban Development, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone and CTE, Inc., the federal and state designated Community Action Agency for the Stamford, among the many others who have contributed to the success of Metro Green.
“I know it sounds cliche to say it takes a community to build a community, but I want to thank you all for helping to make these two projects possible, and hopefully the next one, contributing to the transformation of the South End of Stamford,” said Mr. Rose. “These projects have dramatically improved this community and at same time preserved affordability and enhanced its diversity for the long run, and we think that is a key part of the revitalization of Stamford. None of that could have happened without you, and so we are very grateful.”
Peter Malkin, founder of Malkin Properties and long-time area resident, whose company has been actively involved in Stamford projects and community building efforts since 1958, added “It’s an amazing thing for me to see the difference from when we acquired the property 25 years ago, and patiently waited until now, and frankly if it hadn’t been for Jonathan Rose we might still be waiting on the development of this section here. We’ve seen some wonderful things happen in Stamford and this project is beautiful and such a change from what it was. It indicates the importance of transportation related housing and urban development for people who are commuting as well as local residents. We appreciate all the support we have received from the city, the state and federal government. It takes more than a village to build a project like this and to make it affordable.”
The Malkins had a vision for this site many years ago when they acquired the parcel, and through perseverance, recessions, exultations and ups and down of the market carried out the vision they had for decades. Mr. Rose noted the Malkins’ long-term commitment to the green development field and their recent transformation of the iconic Empire State Building into a modern model of the best of practical green practices as helping raise the visibility of the need for sustainable development, citing their strong vision and direction in knowing where they want to go and the practical steps it takes to get there.
“My dad believed in transit-oriented development before there was such a term, and he also believed in engaging the community and in leaping over the formidable barrier of I-95 and the train tracks to build in the South End before anyone else,” said Anthony Malkin. “Jonathan Rose and I are remarkably similar in that we have had the ability, provided by our good fortune, to have the benefit to think long and hard about what we want to do and how to do it correctly.”
Perhaps most importantly, Metro Green is about changing people’s lives by providing a safe, comfortable, centered place they can move forward from on a daily basis. This was never more evident than in the comments of David Harris, a lifelong Stamford resident who is among the new renters at Metro Green Residences. An employee of Workplace who assists at-risk teenagers and adults prepare for the workforce through occupational training, David’s life was challenged when he found himself without a place to live.
“Someone asked where I was before I got here. I lived in Stamford but when the bottom fell out, I was on my aunt’s couch. Before that I’d stay at the Laundromat or just be walking at 4 a.m., too ashamed to let my co-workers know what I was going through,” said Mr. Harris. “When I got the opportunity to move here what I remember most is the look on my kids’ faces when they asked me for the key fob to open the door, because that is something they hadn’t been able to do for a very long time. We love the place. You read about the need for role models in the community, and that’s what we have here. My kids get to see people come in and out who work every day and have risen to many different places in life. They get to see that this is the way you make it happen. Thank you for giving them that opportunity.”
To that, Jonathan Rose responded, “David, welcome home!”