City Planning Hears Application for Affordable Housing for Seniors and New Venue for Church in Soundview

Rendering of 1810 Randall Avenue. Image Credit: CPC.

The new building will enable the church to provide more services to the local community. On June 8, 2022, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing for an application for a mixed use residential and community facility building at 1810 Randall Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx. The building, Casa de la Fe, will also hold a church. The applicants are the church, the Second Pentecostal Church of God La Hermosa, and Vertical Community Development Group LLC. The proposed zoning site consists of three tax lots on the northern portion of the block with Randall Avenue to the north, Beach Avenue to the west, Taylor Avenue to the east, and the southern border 100 feet into the block. The proposed zoning site consists of unused one-story commercial buildings, the existing church, and a parking lot. 

The eight-story building will have approximately 166 units of affordable housing for seniors and one unit for a building super. The units will be a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments, with 131 studios and 35 one-bedroom units.

Twenty-five to thirty percent of the units will be permanently affordable under mandatory inclusionary housing. While a specific option for mandatory inclusionary housing was not selected, all units are set to be up to 50 percent area median income (AMI), under the required average 60 percent AMI for Option 1 and 80 percent for Option 2. The remaining units will be subject to a regulatory agreement for income restriction with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). It is anticipated that the project will be financed through HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, which includes federal funding to help cover rent to prevent displacement if seniors’ incomes cannot keep up with rents. 

The building will also include a worship and community center for Casa de la Fe Church, with approximately 12,800 square feet set aside for the church’s use. The space will include a community hall with a soup kitchen, recreation space, administrative office, an audio visual room  and four classrooms. The church’s existing building is a former theater that lacks the accessory classroom space, office, kitchen and meeting spaces to serve the community. 

The building will also hold 16 accessory parking spots accessible from Taylor Avenue. 

The current zoning limits building heights to between 35 to 40 feet; rezoning will remove that restriction to allow for a taller, eight-story building with setbacks. The commercial overlay will remain unchanged. 

On April 29, 2022, Bronx Community Board 9 voted to conditionally approve the application with a vote of 29 for, and zero against. The conditions included commitments to add exterior lighting and security cameras for safety and to commit to collaborate with unions and non-profits to ensure construction work force draws from local zip codes and create quality building services jobs. In the applicant’s presentation, the team recognized Bronx Community District 9’s stated needs, including senior housing, community building and youth enrichment programs, and avoiding displacement of community members. According to the applicant, they have been engaged with the community board for the past three years. 

On May 17, 2022, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson approved the application, stating, “Affordable housing accommodations for our seniors is a top priority for my administration. Only by providing such housing can the people whose ties to the Bronx go back decades, are able to remain and continue to be a part of their familiar community.”

At the city level Soundview is represented by Council Member Amanda Farías. The Council Member is and has been working closely with both the developer, the church, and the greater community to ensure the members of the church have a leading role in the process. Prior to this hearing, there have been several info sessions and town halls to ensure the real needs of the senior community is met. Council Member Amanda Farías stated that, “After many meetings with the developer, church, and community I felt comfortable moving this forward through the city planning approval process because of how hands on my office has been in the stages leading up and how collaborative we’ve been. With that confidence, my office wrote a letter of support for its affordability application to HPD and I have allocated $1.5 million in my capital budget for FY 2023 to ensure the completion of this project. I look forward to continued work with the community and developer to see that we can break ground on this important project this fiscal year.”

At the public hearing, Commissioner Leah Goodridge asked about what protections were built in as a part of being in a flood zone such as the Soundview neighborhood. The applicant team responded that in addition to the regular requirements for building within a flood zone, the SARA program requires an onsite generator given the building’s more vulnerable population. 

No members of the public testified at the public hearing. 

The City Planning Commission will vote on this application on a later date. 

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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