Via Verde—The Green Way • Bronx, New York City
Developer: Jonathan Rose Companies/Phipps Houses
Designer: Dattner Architects;
Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture
Size: 69,260 square feet (6,434 sq m)
The underlying goal of Via Verde was to serve as a model for the next generation of green affordable housing development. The building, a capstone in New York City’s effort to revitalize the South Bronx, offers an innovative, high-quality, sustainable design, as well as affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, combined with a ground-floor community facility and retail space.
Built on a former brownfield site, Via Verde is composed of three distinct building types: a 20-story tower, a six- to 13-story mid-rise duplex apartment building, and two- to four-story townhouses organized around a central courtyard that begins at ground level and spirals up through a series of south-facing roof gardens.
The development has 222 apartments, including 71 workforce housing co-op units and 151 low-income rental units, and a 5,500-square-foot (511 sq m) medical center and pharmacy on the ground floor.
Via Verde goes beyond traditional green design by focusing on improving residents’ health. Nontoxic low-/no-volatile-organic-compound (VOC) paints, sealants, and adhesives were used in the apartments; natural cross-ventilation and ceiling fans are also provided. Rated Gold under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system, the building is more than 30 percent more energy efficient than a baseline building.
Recycled and locally manufactured materials were used in construction, and more than 80 percent of construction waste was recycled. Green roofs provide amenity spaces while dissipating heat and absorbing rainwater; a stormwater reclamation system recycles water for irrigation; and motion sensors on lights in stairways and corridors conserve electricity. Photovoltaic panels on the south-facing facades produce 66 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power all common areas, and super-sealed insulation conserves heat and eases air conditioning demand.
The name “Via Verde” refers to a green way of life as well as to a literal green way of interconnected gardens that enable residents to experience nature. In a neighborhood with high asthma rates and little access to open space, the gardens provide residents with opportunities to play, relax, grow food, and exercise. People can walk from the courtyard, up the amphitheater seating to a series of green roofs as the building steps up from the south to the north. The programmed roof spaces include evergreen trees on the third floor, dwarf fruit trees on the fourth floor, vegetable gardening beds on the fifth floor, an extensive green roof and fitness center on the seventh floor, and a series of extensive green roofs as the building continues to step up to the 20th-floor community room and terrace.
Case Study Development Cost Information
|DEVELOPMENT COST INFORMATION|
|Total co-op unit costs||$31,963,096|
|Total rental unit costs||$66,852,987|
|HDC first mortgage*||$7,440,000||$1,210,000|
|HDC second mortgage||4,615,000||4,615,000|
|HPD capital subsidy||9,093,470||9,093,470|
|NYC Resolution A Bronx borough president/city council||1,500,000||1,500,000|
|NYS Affordable Housing Corp.||2,117,500||2,117,500|
|Bridge financing (Calvert Foundation)||3,122,165||—|
|Co-op sales proceeds—equity||—||10,852,165|
|Deferred developer fee||1,500,000||—|
|*Taxable bonds, floated during construction with a JP Morgan Chase line of credit, at 7.7 percent interest rate, permanent fixed rate.|
|HDC first mortgage*||$33,690,000||$4,370,000|
|HDC second mortgage||12,835,000||12,835,000|
|HPD capital subsidy||9,767,756||9,767,756|
|FHLBNY Affordable Housing Program (HSBC member)||1,900,000||1,900,000|
|Federal/state LIHTC equity**||—||32,083,651|
|Deferred developer fee||4,763,651||2,000,000|
|* Taxable bonds, floated during construction with a JP Morgan Chase line of credit, at 7.7 percent interest rate, permanent fixed rate.|
|**Federal LIHTC at $0.82, state LIHTC at $0.49. Equity investment from Chase.|