Bronx Pro Group is a neighborhood based firm dedicated to community development through affordable housing investments since 1988. Bronx Pro’s mission is to develop quality housing that is both affordable and sustainable with an increasing focus towards community building. The company and affiliates employs 98 full time professionals and support staff engaged in Real Estate Development, Construction, Building Management, and Residential Services. Since 1998, Bronx Pro completed the development of over 1,900 affordable housing units along with 35 commercial and community spaces. These projects have a total development cost of $286 million. Currently, the company has $95 million of development under construction and approximately $107 million in predevelopment. The Bronx Pro portfolio is primarily owned by the Magistro family who is proud to build quality housing as well as permanent jobs through their participation in New York City affordable housing programs.
In 1998, HPD selected Bronx Pro for its Neighborhood Entrepreneur Program (NEP). The program transferred City-owned buildings to private, neighborhood-based property managers for development into low and moderate income housing. Bronx Pro was fortunate to participate in two rounds of NEP - renovating more than 300 apartments under the program. In 2004, Bronx Pro was selected by HPD and NYCHA to launch the agencies’ brand new collaboration to transfer under-utilized, NYCHA-owned properties to private developers for the creation of low-income housing.
As the first developer under the HPD/NYCHA Development Collaboration, Bronx Pro completed University Macombs Apartments which consisted of four vacant multi-family buildings containing 180 apartments and a vacant lot. The existing buildings underwent moderate renovation and a new 30 unit building was constructed on the vacant lot, creating a total of 210 apartments and 15,076 SF of commercial space. Based on the success of the University Macombs Project, Bronx Pro was awarded a second 111-unit project (University Macombs Apartments II completed in 2008) and a third 173-unit project (University Avenue Consolidated 3 completed in 2011) from NYCHA.
Bronx Pro also takes pride in working with innovative housing financing structures to build new construction projects. In 2009, the company began construction on it first LEED Gold Certified, moderate income residence at 850 Jennings Street, utilizing HDC’s New HOP bond program. In April 2012, Bronx Pro successfully structured the first mixed finance tax credit project utilizing NYCHA Replacement Housing Capital in over 30 years. 1070 Washington Avenue is LEED Gold Certified and serve some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations by providing 21 public housing units along with 17 low income community units and 10 supportive housing units. The development team is currently leasing a supportive project financed by Medicaid Reform Team (MRT) capital using prefabricated housing modulars. Bronx Pro has completed 417 units of new construction.
Preservation of occupied distressed properties is a critical component of Bronx Pro’s affordable housing mission. To meet this mission Bronx Pro has developed its own in house construction affiliate, Homebuilders 1 LP to offer renovation and relocation services to distressed properties. Typical project scopes include all units receiving new kitchens and baths, plumbing, roofs, upgraded electrical, energy efficient windows, intercom, electronic key card access systems and new elevators where applicable. In an effort to save energy, interior of all exterior walls are insulated and highly efficient boilers and hot water heating distribution systems are installed. All exterior facades are repaired, pointed and cleaned and existing lobbies, public hallways and courtyards are upgraded. To date, Homebuilders renovated 23 buildings for affordable housing both through HPD’s Third Party Transfer Program and Participating Loan Program.
Property & Asset Managment
The key to Bronx Pro’s continued success is the company’s strong property and asset management team who ensures long terms sustainability through strict financial and physical controls over the portfolio, which includes properties operating for over fifteen years. The management discipline results in performing assets with extremely low vacancies rates, minimized arrears, and nominal eviction rates.
In addition to traditional property management personnel, Bronx Pro created an in-house Residential Services, Quality Control and Asset Management team. The goals of Residential Services are: tracking and facilitating the transition of homeless families from shelters to permanent housing, preventing homelessness, promoting self-sufficiency and improving the quality of life of Bronx Pro residents. The group is staffed by a team of four full-time professionals with backgrounds in home-ownership, public housing, finance, planning, marketing & leasing, case management, job training, tax credit compliance and homeless prevention. Bronx Pro’s Quality Control and Asset management team collects and analyzes key forward and lagging indicators for volume, timeliness and quality. The team monitors electric, gas, oil and water consumption by comparing buildings on per unit and per square foot basis. Ownership then focuses energy initiatives on the out of class performers and develops strategies for improving the property. This has led to a wide range of initiatives to be implemented from no cost solutions like the lowering of hot water temperatures and free DEP water surveys, to low cost solutions like the installation of weather stripping on exterior and apartment doors, water saving devices, and pipe insulation. Other retrofits include the installation of LED s, CFLs, energy management systems and motion sensors. Quality Control and Asset Management also ensures the physical quality of the portfolio through frequent onsite inspections prepared for capital planning.
While Bronx Pro’s focus is developing and managing self-owned properties, the company also fulfills its mission by engaging in third party management. In March of 2006, concerned partners and community members asked Bronx Pro to help reverse the decline of a complex of 30 buildings and 500 apartments. The properties suffered from deterioration, violations, vacancies, and government compliance issues. Absorbing and embracing this challenge, Bronx Pro proceeded to build processes, systems and staff capacities and successfully stabilized conditions so that the portfolio could be returned back to the not-for-profit. As a result of this almost two year effort, Bronx Pro substantially grew its administrative and property management capacity. Since that time, Bronx Pro has worked with other not for profits to stabilize their portfolios and based on their continued success in these endeavors, HPD awarded the company net leases for 185 units of occupied housing which began rehabilitation in the July 2012.