BY JASON COHEN
As millions of New Yorkers are shuttered at home during the COVID-19 crisis, access to the internet for socialization, school and work is crucial.
But for many people, that is not an option. Realizing this is a reality for far too many, Camber Property Group has worked to provide support to its residents during the pandemic, both through technology and direct outreach.
Recently, it distributed hundreds of personal Wi-Fi hot spots, known as a “MiFi,” to its tenants at their affordable housing developments in the Bronx, in order to help keep them connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The developer hosted several events over the past few weeks, where residents were encouraged to visit their lobby to receive a MiFi. The company made more than 600 MiFis available to residents of their Bronx Park and Highbridge House portfolios.
“It is important not only that the children of our residents have the necessary equipment to learn remotely, but that their families have the ability to remain connected during this pandemic, as well,” said Rick Gropper, co-principal of Camber Property Group. “As the COVID-19 crisis continues we at Camber will do all we can to ensure the comfort, safety and security of those who call our properties home as we get through this together.”
Camber Property Group is currently spending $3 million to renovate Highbridge House at 1131 Ogden Ave. and return all 400 units to rent stabilization. This includes affordable apartments previously lost to vacancy decontrol.
Camber also acquired the Bronx Park portfolio in January. The purchase included eight buildings: 2111 Southern Boulevard at 800–820 E. 180th St., 1880 Valentine Ave., 2000 Valentine Ave., 1985 Webster Ave., 2100 Tiebout Ave., 355–365 E. 184th St. and 333 E. 181st St., totaling 1,275 affordable units in the Mitchell-Lama program. Camber has pledged to invest in the rehabilitation of the buildings while also maintaining their rent regulated status.
Camber Property Group’s Work in The Bronx
Camber has a strong track record of responsible development and affordable housing preservation in the Bronx totaling nearly 4,500 residential units.
In December 2018, Camber Property Group, Belveron Partners and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) closed on the $75 million acquisition of an 11-building, 343-unit portfolio in the Bronx. This restored long-term affordability to the properties, which had seen its restrictions terminated by prior ownership. The former project-based Section 8 buildings were converted into deregulated buildings over time, losing 100 affordable units.
Through a public-private partnership between Camber, Belveron, and HPD, the 100 lost units will be returned to regulation as well as the remainder of the portfolio for 40 more years. Per the terms of the new agreement, all of the portfolio’s units will be rented to individuals and families at varying affordability bands to foster a mixed-income community.
The new owners have also embarked on a $4 million capital improvement program to upgrade the buildings’ mechanical systems, roofs, common areas and security and access control systems.
This story first appeared on bxtimes.com.