S:US Acquires Neglected Hell’s Kitchen Tenements, Plans Renovation for Affordable Housing

S:US Acquires Neglected Hell’s Kitchen Tenements, Plans Renovation for Affordable Housing

Photo credit: Phil O’Brien.

June 27, 2024

Jack Lynch, [email protected]

NEW YORK, NY – Services for the UnderServed (S:US), a leading nonprofit social services provider, has successfully closed on the acquisition of four pre-war tenements in Hell’s Kitchen. The buildings, located at 351-357 West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, will be renovated and repurposed to provide affordable housing for families in need.

The acquisition marks a significant step in addressing housing and quality-of-life concerns in the Manhattan neighborhood. The buildings have long been owned and managed by notorious New York landlord Steve Croman, who has allowed conditions in and around the building to deteriorate — a situation that has placed tenants and the surrounding community at risk of harm.

S:US and its partners SMJ Development and High Point Property Group plan to fully update and renovate the building, preserving homes for the 11 existing rent-stabilized tenants while converting the remaining 69 units into affordable housing for homeless families under a CityFHEPS rental assistance contract. The organization brings over four decades of experience in operating supportive and affordable housing, behavioral health clinics, and homeless shelters across New York City.

“We’re thrilled to finalize this acquisition and begin the process of transforming these long-neglected buildings into safe, affordable homes,” said Arlo Chase, Senior Vice President of Real Estate at S:US. “As an organization, we are deeply committed to being a good neighbor to the residents of Hell’s Kitchen. We value the importance of building strong relationships within the community and strive to be responsive to the needs and concerns of our neighbors.”

“This project is a great example of how the public, private, and non-profit sectors can team up to take our City’s housing stock to its highest and best use – providing opportunity and quality housing to the New Yorkers who need it most,” said Juan Barahona, Principal of SMJ Development. “I am so happy to be partnered with High Point Property Group and S:US on this important development.”

“These four buildings contain 80 classic New York City apartments where people should be thriving and taking advantage of all that Hell’s Kitchen has to offer.  High Point looks forward to restoring them, modernizing them and creating opportunity for neighbors new and old,” said Drew Popkin, Principal of High Point Property Group.

Urgent repairs and clean-up to the building are already underway, alongside new and enhanced security. The full renovation will begin in late fall.

The team anticipates that the renovation will be funded by a $27 million subsidized construction loan from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and an $18 million private loan this fall. Improvements will include converting the heating system from gas to electric and renovating the garden level for offices and resident amenities such as a gym, computer lab, and landscaped patio garden. All renovations will be internal — the historic facades of each building will remain.

S:US takes a holistic approach to housing and is determined not only to bring individuals and families into stable housing but also to provide the support necessary to keep them in their homes. At 351-357 W45th Street, S:US will provide “light touch” services such as budgeting assistance and job training resources to residents.

This acquisition represents S:US’ first project in Hell’s Kitchen. The organization looks forward to becoming an integral part of the Hell’s Kitchen community and contributing to the neighborhood’s vitality and diversity.


About Services for the UnderServed:

S:US envisions a city where everyone has a roof over their head, is healthy, productive, and can enjoy the social connections that create a life of purpose. S:US has a staff of 1,800 that provides $273 million in services. Their efforts are supported by various local, state, and federal government entities, foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Most importantly, S:US’ vision allows the organization to deliver the same quality of services to one individual or to thousands.

About SMJ Development:

SMJ Development (SMJ) is a Latino-led development company founded in 2014 by Juan Barahona. SMJ’s approach is to apply a broad set of technical skills toward development and seek out opportunities that are overlooked because they are perceived as too time-consuming or having too many complexities. SMJ has the temperament and tenacity necessary to undertake these projects and provide leadership that yields a successful outcome.

About Highpoint Property Group:

Billing itself as disciplined but aggressive, scrappy but institutional, Highpoint is a firm that has a unique vision and expertise in every aspect of the development process. Led by Drew Popkin, the Executive Team at Highpoint collectively has over 40 years’ worth of New York City-specific real estate experience, including: sourcing, identifying, acquiring, investing, managing, designing, developing, building, and handling the day-to-day operations of its diverse portfolio.


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