The official opening of The Overture, the second new apartment building to be built on Brookfield Commons, which was better known as the Winbrook Public Housing Complex in downtown White Plains, took place on July 21 with an inauguration ceremony.
The Overture is located at 141 S. Lexington Ave. It was built at a cost of $64 million, has nine stories and offers 129 affordable apartments along with approximately 2,000 square feet of community space and outdoor parking for 77 vehicles. Construction of The Overture was the second phase of a project to replace Winbrook’s five public housing structures dating from 1949.
The first of Brookfield Commons’ new buildings, The Prelude, opened in 2016. The White Plains Housing Authority, a co-developer with Trinity Financial, set the policy for booking apartments in the new buildings for all residents of Winbrook and 90 of the apartments in L’Ouverture were reserved for them.
The Business Journal has learned that Winbrook’s redevelopment is set to continue with the demolition of the third Winbrook Building in the fall. The White Plains Housing Authority, co-developer with Trinity Financial, has established the policy for booking apartments in new buildings for all Winbrook residents.
The cost of replacing the Winbrook Buildings with the new Brookfield Commons development was estimated at $350 million when the plan was launched.
Amenities at The Overture include a fitness room, children’s playroom, tenant lounge with patio, high-speed internet, laundry rooms on each floor, and bicycle and parcel storage. All apartments include a dishwasher, microwave and storage cupboard. The building has 40 one-bedroom, 63 two-bedroom, 23 three-bedroom and two four-bedroom units. There is a unit reserved for the concierge of the building.
The project is supported by funds from federal, state, county, municipal and private sources. State funding for the development included $15.3 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal and state low-income housing tax credits that generated $26.3 million in equity and an additional $16.6 million in grant funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will provide support of $97,400. The City of White Plains provided $1 million in funding from its Affordable Housing Assistance Fund.
Fabian Ramirez, senior director of community finance at Capital One, one of the private organizations involved in the financing, said: “Building and preserving affordable housing is key to addressing housing shortages across the country, c That’s why Capital One is committed to financing a diverse range of affordable housing developments.
Mark Migliacci, vice president of Chase Community Development Banking, which is also involved in the funding, said: ‘It’s exciting to be part of a neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment of existing affordable housing that prioritizes to current residents, while creating new affordable and workforce housing that provides community settlement space for tenants. At Chase, we’re committed to supporting projects like this that create safe, stable homes that are a fundamental part of healthy, thriving neighborhoods.
Thomas Brown, vice president of design and construction at Trinity Financial in New York, said the entire redevelopment will create “more than 700 units of affordable, much-needed workforce and replacement housing, all completed without displacing any Winbrook residents”.
Brown pointed out that the Winbrook campus is over 70 years old and in need of significant reinvention and overhaul.
“This new master plan will not only create high quality housing with sustainable design, it will also provide non-residential spaces for services, health and activities, play areas and more for residents and the community,” Brown said. “The campus redesign will also reintroduce Brookfield and Winchester Street with a design that will break up old superblock housing structures making the whole site more harmonious in the neighborhood.”
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, “In this city, we pride ourselves on working as hard as we can to get as much affordable housing as possible in the city and it’s very difficult. It’s hard to build a building, but when you have to build affordable, no matter what affordable type you build, you have to jump through hoops and the hoops move and they set it on fire. It is not easy.”
Denise Brooks-Jones, acting executive director of the White Plains Housing Authority, said: ‘We are delivering on our promise to the families who now live in newly constructed state-of-the-art buildings.
RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of Homes and Community Renewal for the state, said, “As we emerge from the pandemic, we are thinking about the intersection of health and housing; we think of the importance of housing as jobs, housing and community facilities, housing and services.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer noted that he drives near the new building, The Overture, most days, with the county office building a few blocks away.
“It will be a symbol of what can be done in the future in housing,” Latimer said. “There is even a larger issue here and that is what the role of government is. It is a debatable topic in society now. There are people who say, “Government is an oppressive entity and must be reduced and eliminated. How can you get services to the people who need them if you don’t have a vibrant government that’s effective, and that’s the key word, effective. Because, what is proven here is that different levels of government can work together to undertake a complicated project; that government entities can work in cooperation with the private sector both on the finance side and on the construction side and that we show the ability to govern together, to solve the problems of a society, not to ignore them, not to not ignore them, but in cooperative effort, in democracy, to solve these problems, and that is more than housing; that’s all.”