A vacant lot in the Highbridge area of the Bronx heralds the latest installment of what some say is the future of low-income housing. XX Avenue* is to be the neighborhood's first affordable rental project built to conform to environmental and sustainable specifications, according to the site's developers, a trend already well under way.
The Bronx is going green from the bottom up, as low-income housing gets an environmental makeover. New Destiny Housing Corporation, a non-profit providing housing assistance to victims of domestic abuse, will be building XX Avenue green. It bought the property in April for $1.3 million, and will spend $14 million more over two years creating the 41 unit multiple income housing project. Though Highbridge's first building of this type, the larger surrounding area already hosts dozens of environmentally friendly housing projects.
They've cropped up over the past few years, says Luke Falk, a project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), because their construction reduces utility bills. NYSERDA is the publicly funded body charged with reducing the state's energy consumption that financially supports and awards "Energy Star" ratings to buildings saving 20 percent more energy than is standard.
*By law the location of domestic abuse victims' housing may not be publicized for the tenants' safety.