First Project Under City's New Affordable Housing Plan Breaks Ground Part of the ‘Open Door’ Project

An artist's rendering of Sydney House (Habit for Humanity NYC).

In December of last year, The Cooperator  reported on the Open Door initiative, a part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's 'Housing New York 2.0' plan to promote affordable housing. Open Door aims to fund construction of co-ops and condos for first-time purchasers with income from $69,000 to $112,000 annually.

Last March, the first building to be constructed under the auspice of the initiative officially broke ground.  The project represents a collaboration between real estate developer Almat Group and Habitat for Humanity. As reported by Curbed, Sydney House, a 56-unit co-op at 839-841 Tilden Street in the Williamsbridge neighborhood in the Bronx, will offer (26) one-, (24) two-, and (6) three-bedroom units, with the smallest starting out at $188,823, and the largest spaces topping out at $326,000. Among the building’s amenities will be a green roof, parking, and an on-site laundry.

According to a press release from the co-developers, Sydney House will represent “one of the largest multifamily developments ever built by a Habitat for Humanity affiliate,” with building amenities including laundry, storage spaces, parking for both vehicles and bikes, and a green roof. The units will remain under the affordable classification for up to 40 years.

“Today’s [March 16] groundbreaking marks the beginning of the largest multi-family building ever undertaken by Habitat for Humanity anywhere in the world,” said Habitat for Humanity New York City CEO Karen Haycox.

“Owning your own home can be life changing, which is why we are committed to making sure this dream is within the reach of more New Yorkers,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, in a news statement. “Through projects like Sydney House, and our new Open Door program, we will finance the construction of 1,300 new affordable homes as part of Housing New York 2.0, the Mayor’s expanded and accelerated plan to create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.”


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  • On the surface this appears to be an idea worthy of review. However, I caution the Mayor, City of New York Council Members and HPD that unless you put in place the type of training and Education for First Time Home Owners in about 6 Years you will have the making of a disaster. These two form of housing requires a board of Directors who are responsible for ensuring that a mgmt company is doing it’s job. Making sure rules are being followed. Ensuring that cost is kept down without sacrificing services. Ensuring that bills are paid and home owners receive responsive answers. When to do Assessments? How to deal with Alteration agreements? Arrears? Yes some owners will try to not pay Common Charges and Maintenance fees. A Coop has an easier time gettiing the rid of nonpayers than Condominiums. What about the warranties? One yr, two years and perhaps the most important one six years to the day the first owner closed. The learning curve is real. Education is a must Mr. Mayor and elected Officials. HPD will not assist you. Just look at Waters Edge At Arverne in Far Rockaway. No one held the developer accountable to date. We were forced to file a defect claim for Shoddy work not because we wanted too but because we had to preserve our right to remediation. Who is heping from the city, no one. This is the reality of Affordable housing. Educate before the dream quickly turns into a nightmare.