Press | August 13, 2013

City Fields 4 Teams to Rebuild Sandy-torn Homes

Crain’s New York Business

By Matt Chaban


For the hundreds of homeowners in the five boroughs who are still without a home after Superstorm Sandy, the Bloomberg administration has just assembled a crack team to help design and build them new ones.


The city announced late Monday creation of four development groups responsible for helping to rebuild single-family homes and small apartment buildings in six areas of the city. The teams will create a set of homes that property owners can choose from, and then contractors with the teams will build them. The program is designed to streamline the reconstruction process and save time and money as homeowners continue to grapple with getting money from their insurers and the government.


“We’ve worked quickly to put development teams together and organize forums to provide an option to help simplify and walk people through the rebuilding process,” Housing Commissioner Mathew Wambua said in a release. “The storm may have destroyed homes, but it did not destroy the pride of the community or our resolve to rebuild it stronger and more resilient.”


The city first began seeking teams in May as part of the Build It Back program. The developers will now begin hosting information sessions in the targeted areas in the coming weeks.


Arverne by the Sea, developers of the affordable Rockaways housing project of the same name that survived the storm surprisingly well, have been given responsibility for the Rockaways and Broad Channel, with a special focus on Breezy Point, which was not only flooded but devastated by a six-block fire. Arverne is working with Rockaway Beach Boulevard Construction as its contractor and Margaret Community Corp. as its community partner. For the Rockaways and Broad Channel, Consentino Architecture will design the new houses while CMC Design is responsible for crafting properties in Breezy Point.


Affordable housing developer the Bluestone Group is responsible for homes on Staten Island, with Banta Homes as its general contractor and well-known apartment architects Curtis + Ginsberg designing the new homes.


Galaxy General Contracting, a developer-builder from the Bronx, is taking over the balance of neighborhoods, including the inundated areas of south Brooklyn and a handful of sites scattered across the city, in places like Soundview and City Island in the Bronx and Red Hook in Brooklyn. Magnusson Architecture and Planning, with a wide array of affordable housing and multi-family housing projects under its belt, are the architects. The Mutual Housing Association of New York is serving as community partner.


The idea is not only to replace homes expeditiously, but also to protect them from future storms while helping homeowners navigate the thicket of new regulations put in place since Sandy, such as new building codes and updated FEMA flood maps.


“The goal of NYC Build It Back is to make that task as easy as possible, by managing all aspects of construction from planning and permitting to completion,” Housing Recovery Officer Brad Gair said. “That starts with these developers working with the eligible families to assess and meet their individual housing needs, and engaging the community to create home designs that fit the character of the neighborhoods.”


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