Contact Information:
Press Office: (800) 260-7313
pressoffice@esd.ny.gov

Rufus King Court Apartments Breaks Ground to Expand Affordable Housing Opportunities in Queens

$1.7 million NYC Regional Economic Development Council award will generate over $22 million in local economic activity
(August 07, 2012)

Rufus King Court Apartments Breaks Ground to Expand Affordable Housing Opportunities in Queens

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council (NYCREDC) today announced Rufus King Court Apartments broke ground to kick-off the official start of construction of its affordable housing development in Jamaica, Queens. The affordable, Green, Transit-Oriented development is moving forward with the support of $1.7 million in awards from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The project will generate more than $22.2 million in local economic activity while leveraging additional public and private resources.

“The Council is eager to identify and support programs that spur economic growth and strengthen communities,” said NYCREDC Co-Chair and CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “This important project will help accomplish both objectives and substantially benefit the people of Jamaica in Southeastern Queens.”

“Providing access to safe, affordable, high quality housing is one of our region's and the state’s most pressing priorities. Developments like Rufus King Court make neighborhoods stable and vibrant,” said Marcia Keizs, NYCREDC Member and President of York College/City University of New York. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the New York City Regional Economic Development Council recognized the enormous potential of this project that ensures New Yorkers can live comfortably and affordably in this growing community for years to come.”

“Affordable housing is a key to vibrant communities like Jamaica, Queens. Rufus King Court will go a long way toward providing much-needed affordable homes for families and seniors, all in close proximity to the bustling Jamaica Center hub,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils are paving the way for projects like this that will grow the economy, create jobs, and improve quality of life for New Yorkers. This innovative development will be a shining example of the power of state and local partnerships to address some of our communities’ most pressing needs.”

The new 65-unit development will provide affordable homes for low-income families. Rufus King Court is being developed in a strong residential and commercial area near the Jamaica commercial core and few blocks from one of the nation’s busiest transportation hubs. The development will include photovoltaic solar panels to provide power to common areas, an outdoor recreation area, a common laundry facility, bulk storage space, and indoor bicycle storage.

“Our company strives to build safe, clean and energy efficient affordable housing for New Yorkers,” said Alex Arker, Principal of The Arker Companies. “We thank Governor Cuomo, as well as HCR, the Bank of New York, and our local elected officials for their support in bringing new affordable homes to Jamaica, Queens.”

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through councils in regions throughout the state for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. The state resources for Rufus King Court will leverage a $4.2 million loan from the Bank of America and $127,265 from New York State Energy Research and Development, and additional financing includes state and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by HCR and supported by the NYCREDC. The property will be exempt from real estate taxes for 50 years under Section 420-c of the New York Real Property Tax Law, provided it continues to be operated as a not-for-profit facility for low-income residents.

“Bank of America is thrilled to provide $16 million in construction financing for Rufus King Court, as well as a direct equity investment of more than $18 million,” said Sindy Spivak, National Credit Products Manager in Community Development Banking at Bank of America. “This follows nearly $12.6 billion in community development lending and investing that Bank of America has provided in the New York City region in the past three years. Through projects such as Rufus King Court, we are proud to be recognized by the industry as one of the nation’s largest, most active affordable housing lenders.”

Rufus King Court will be the first Inclusionary Housing project developed in the Special Downtown Jamaica District and the first Inclusionary Housing project in Queens. Through the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Inclusionary Housing Program is designed to preserve and promote affordable housing within neighborhoods where zoning has been modified to encourage new development. In areas where the Inclusionary Housing Program is applicable, a zoning bonus allows increased floor area for multiple dwelling developments in return for the new construction, substantial rehabilitation, or preservation of permanently affordable housing. Thirteen units of the total development will be affordable through the Inclusionary Housing Program.

Senator Shirley L. Huntley said, “Affordable housing is always scarce in New York City and this project will help address this crucial issue. It will provide low-income families and people with special needs an affordable place to live while at the same time protecting the environment and generating local economic activity. I commend Governor Cuomo and the NYC Regional Development Council for this smart investment. Maintaining and creating more affordable housing in Queens, and throughout the other four boroughs, will ensure families are not priced out of their homes and neighborhoods.”

Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook said, “Affordable housing put roofs over the heads of hard-working families and strengthens our growing communities. Through their investment in the Rufus King Court Apartments, the New York City Regional Economic Development Council is ensuring a brighter future and improving the quality of life for residents of the Jamaica community. I look forward to watching this project build a safer, better place to live for New Yorkers.”

Council Member Leroy Comrie said, “As this exciting time of economic growth in downtown Jamaica continues, these apartments will allow families in the community to enjoy these new amenities. These apartments will be available for the neediest families while also preserving the environment. I would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, Council Member James Gennaro and my colleagues in city government for all their work and contributions to this project.”

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit www.thenewny.com.

###