Mayor Bloomberg Celebrates Completion of Affordable 'Green' Building in Harlem

120 New Affordable Apartments in LEED Certified Building on 116th Street

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the completion of the Kalahari, a 249-unit mixed-income development on 116th Street in Harlem designed and built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification standards, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance ‘green’ buildings. Twenty-five percent of the building’s energy comes from renewable sources such as solar and wind. The Kalahari offers 120 homes affordable to moderate- and middle-income households. The Kalahari was developed by Full Spectrum of NY and L&M Development Partners through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Cornerstone program which builds multifamily, mixed-income housing on City-owned land. The Mayor was joined by HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan, New York State Affordable Housing Corporation President and CEO Priscilla Almodovar, Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, Housing Partnership Development Corporation President and CEO Dan Martin, Full Spectrum of NY Principal Carlton Brown, L&M Development Partners Principal Ron Moelis and JPMorgan Chase Senior Vice President Charles Gatewood.

“The Kalahari shows that affordable housing can also be sustainable housing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As we work to build housing for the million new people expected to come to New York by 2030, we need to ensure that we are building homes that people can afford and that allow the city to grow in an environmentally responsible way. These new homes are part of our 165,000-unit affordable housing plan, the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history. Over 70,000 housing units have already been financed, keeping us on track to complete the plan on schedule.”

As part of PlaNYC, HPD is working with other agencies to create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers by 2030 while making housing more affordable and environmentally sustainable. The plan recommends that future housing developments be located less than half a mile from public transportation. The Kalahari is located in Central Harlem within walking distance of two major subway lines. As an eco-friendly residence, the Kalahari includes green features such as a fresh-filtered air delivery system that purifies air quality at a constant rate, Energy Star appliances that will help to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent below the New York State Energy Code, green roofs, and landscaped public courtyards featuring native plants. Today, nearly 80 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions come from buildings. During the construction of the Kalahari, the builders used recycled materials in everything from the structural steel and concrete to the gypsum board and carpets. Half of the apartments in the Kalahari will be affordable to households earning middle- and moderate-incomes, ranging between $63,810 to $131,165 for a family of four and $44,640 to $91,760 for a single person.

“Like the vibrant mix of colors on the Kalahari’s façade, here is proof that creative design, affordability and sustainability can be woven together to create a new Harlem landmark,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan. “This type of integration is crucial to creating more affordable housing for almost a million people by 2030. Sustainable design is no longer an exclusive luxury but a resource for improving the quality of life for all of New York City’s residents. Full Spectrum of NY and L&M Development Partners have created a building that successfully showcases the potential of smart building practices for residential use. In addition to Full Spectrum and L&M, I want to thank the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation, the Housing Partnership Development Corporation, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase for making this building possible.”

Using traditional African art work for design inspiration, the Kalahari’s architectural team, comprised of GF55 Partners, LLP and Frederic Schwarz Architects, incorporated bold colors, textures and patterns throughout the building’s façade along 115th and 116th streets, creating a contemporary Harlem landmark. A Harlem-based urban youth enrichment program, called StreetSquash, will occupy ground-floor space along 115th street, and ground-floor retail and a movie theater will occupy the commercial space along 116th Street.

“This multifaceted, mixed-use project was a winning endeavor from the beginning. Kalahari’s development team of L&M Development Partners and Full Spectrum of NY was thoroughly supported in its efforts through construction financing from JP Morgan Chase and an investment from Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and we have them to thank for this incredible product,” said Ron Moelis of L&M Development Partners. “Kalahari represents a new generation of institutional dollars funding affordable housing projects within inner cities, and an example of a public-private partnership that creates a win-win situation. For this reason, we believe Kalahari is groundbreaking and a sign of good things to come in Harlem, New York City and beyond.”

“It is a great honor to be part of Earth Week, and we are excited to unveil Kalahari as part of New York City’s ongoing green revolution. Kalahari utilizes innovative designs to reduce energy and water demand, lowering the homes’ long term costs,” said Carlton Brown of Full Spectrum of NY. “Some of our sustainable features include a fresh-filtered air purification system, Energy-Star appliances, bamboo floors and much more. Our team believes that the future of affordable housing lies in environmentally-sensitive homes that are economically sustainable.”

For the financing of the development, the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation funded a grant of about $2.7 million. The Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group provided $8.2 million in mezzanine financing and JPMorgan Chase, with a bank group syndicate including Washington Mutual, Deutsche Bank, Capital One Bank, Carver Bank, and Commerce Bank, provided $95 million in construction financing. The development was built on city-owned property.

“Combining affordability and sustainability is an important priority for New York State,” said New York State Affordable Housing Corporation President and CEO Priscilla Almodovar. “We’re proud we are part of this innovative and environmentally progressive development that will provide affordable homes to several hundred New Yorkers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the City of New York and the Housing Partnership Development Corporation to bring energy efficient affordable homes to working class families.”

“The Kalahari is a landmark development for Harlem, both in its design and leadership in building affordable units with green, sustainable features,” said Housing Partnership Development Corporation President and CEO Dan Martin. “We are proud to have worked with the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation in providing subsidies for the affordable units in this unique development. We also commend the state legislature for their recent historic increase in funding for the Affordable Housing Corporation, so that many more affordable housing opportunities can be available for New York City’s workforce.”

“The Kalahari is an important example of our firm’s commitment to investing in high quality, affordable and sustainable housing in America’s underserved neighborhoods,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “Our Urban Investment Group's real estate strategy is to partner with local developers to spur construction with the potential to produce both solid financial returns and real benefits for the local community.”

“Chase is delighted to be the lead construction lender for such an exciting green project. Chase is also particularly proud of the many projects it has financed as part of the City redevelopment initiatives in the Harlem area surrounding the Kalahari,” said Charles A. Gatewood, Senior Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Neill Coleman (HPD) (212) 863-8076