Melrose Commons II
Melrose Commons II, a 30-unit multifamily affordable-housing project in New York City, represents a new approach to designing these facilities. The homes feature an all-precast concrete design that the developer agreed to try after meeting with the precaster and being convinced of the benefits.
"We've been using hollowcore plank for floors and ceilings for years in similar units," explains the project's developer, Les Bluestone, a partner in MC II Associates and a veteran of building affordable housing. "Even so, initially it was a little bit of a leap of faith to go with all-precast construction. Ordinarily we would use masonry, but masons are very busy and high priced in New York City today. We also learned we could do some things in design with precast at a more affordable price than with masonry."
Sponsored By Housing Partnership
The 30 all-precast Melrose Commons homes nearing completion are part of an initiative to build affordable housing throughout the five New York City boroughs. The New York City Housing Partnership is the public/private not-for-profit sponsor that helps obtain subsidies from the city and state for the development of low-rise, multifamily homes. Each three-story, three-family home will have one owner, who will rent the other units for income. Containing approximately 3100 square feet, each building typically sells for $291,000. (Prices varied somewhat according to location, backyard size and other amenities.) An income of $43,000 was needed to qualify, according to Megan Black of the NYC Housing Partnership.
Oldcastle Precast Inc. in South Bethlehem, N.Y., fabricated the precast components for the all-precast design, which was created by Mike Smith of Equus Design Group in Belmont, Mass. He worked in conjunction with Danois Associates, which had created the original housing plan. The developer, architect and NYC Housing Partnership also provided input on the final design. But it was the developer who made the decision to use precast construction, according to Black. "His decision was partly based on greater construction speed with precast and the ability to build during the winter," she says. "The ability to provide more design details with precast also was a key factor."