Lottery Opens for Deeply Affordable, Including Free, Senior Housing on Former Church Site

A lottery has launched for 57 truly affordable apartments for seniors in an under-construction development at 6309 4th Avenue in Sunset Park, the site of the former Zion Lutheran Church.

The Sunset Ridge Senior Apartments will include a new nine-story building on the former church site and two adjacent townhouses on 63rd street, which will be rehabilitated into eight of the complex’s 84 apartments.

The development will include studios and one-bedroom apartments for households of between one and three people who earn anywhere from zero to 50 percent of the Area Median Income, or up to $46,700 for a single person, $53,400 for two people, and $60,050 for three .

Included in the lottery are 36 studios available for those earning between zero and 50 percent of the area median income or $46,700 for a single household and $53,400 for two people. There are also 21 one bedroom apartments with an income limit of $46,700 for a single person, $53,400 for two people, and $60,050 for families of three. Each household must include at least one senior who is at least 62 years of age.

Of the 84 apartments, 26 are set aside for formerly homeless seniors.

Sunset Ridge Senior Apartments interior

Image via NYC Housing Connect

Sunset Ridge Senior Apartments interior

Image via NYC Housing Connect

Although the apartments are being listed as rent free on the NYC Housing Connect website, the site says households applying for the lottery must be eligible for Section 8 and must pay 30 percent of their household income in rent. Households must also include one member who is 62 years old or above, as well as meeting the other income criteria.

Rent will include heat and hot water, but tenants are responsible for paying for electricity, including for the electric stove, the listing says.

The new development will include a shared laundry room, energy-efficient appliances, outdoor areas and a rooftop terrace, according to the Housing Connect site. It will also host community events and classes.

On the lower level, there will be five new universal pre-kindergarten classrooms.

The building is being constructed through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments Program, the state’s Homes and Community Renewal’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Community development nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee is listed as the building’s owner in the Department of Building permits, and Jay Marcus as the treasurer. According to the nonprofit’s website, Bruno Frustaci Contracting is the general contractor, and MAP is the project designer.

“The project will include a variety of spaces to promote socialization and healthy living among the senior residents including a community room, roof deck and laundry/television rooms on each residential floor. On-site social services for the formerly homeless and other seniors will be provided by the Bay Ridge Senior Center,” the website reads.

The site adds that to “promote environmental sustainability, all the building systems will be electric (not gas) and there will be rooftop solar panels.”

zion lutheran church exterior 2018

The Zion Lutheran Church was demolished to make way for the development. Image via Google Maps

The corner site at 4th Avenue and 63rd Street was previously home to the Zion Norwegian Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1908 and demolished sometime between late 2019 and early 2021, Google Maps shows.

At the time the church’s demolition was made public, along with the plans for the housing development, a number of local residents raised concerns, Brooklyn Paper reported.

Local resident and founder of Friends of Sunset Park Maria Roca told the paper at the time that institutions such as churches and the government had a responsibility in preserving land for future needs, saying, “when we destroy these buildings, we can never get them back . It is a historical building. You have altered the sense of place of that block when you take it down.”

6309 4th ave

The development rising in June 2022. Image via Google Maps

Roca did say at the time the development sounded like it would be very beneficial to seniors, but was skeptical it would go through as affordable as planned. Aside from the 50 percent area median income threshold jumping from $33,400 for an individual in 2017 to $46,700 today, the affordability metrics have remained the same as the initial plans.

Brooklyn Paper also reported that developers said they would save at least three stained glass windows and install them in the development’s hallways, as well as include some of the church’s decorative stone, woodwork, and light fixtures in common areas. They also said an interactive display on the church’s history would be on show, along with a plaque recognizing the former congregation’s World War I veterans.

The lottery for the apartments closes March 17, 2023. To apply, visit the listing on Housing Connect.

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