JPMorgan Chase finances $1 billion for affordable housing in NYC

Crains, Tim Karp, February 5, 2024

The firm’s historic partnership has rehabilitated over 6500 units and counting

There are a few things every single New Yorker has an opinion on: Times Square. The fate of the $1 pizza slice. Housing in NYC. 

Regardless of your feelings on the cost and availability of housing in the city, there’s no denying the importance and scale of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a vital institution in the city’s fabric. The largest public housing authority in North America has operated for over 88 years, housing one in 17 New Yorkers or approximately 400,000 people. If NYCHA were a city, it would be the thirty-fifth largest in the country — larger than the populations of Atlanta, Miami or Sacramento.  

But right now, the agency is at a pivotal point. More than 66% of its properties were built over 50 years ago.

You transform these NYCHA properties, you’re transforming lives. We’re using the power of the firm to drive real change. Stakeholders for these projects range from individual tenants all the way up to the federal government, a testament to the power of public-private partnership.” – Tim Karp, Head of Historic Tax Credits at JPMorgan Chase    

Buildings this old need to be updated to stay functional for tenants. After decades of insufficient funding and deferred maintenance, NYCHA now needs approximately $78 billion to modernize its property portfolio. An undertaking this large needs partners.

A “historic” way of funding

One of NYCHA’s efforts to modernize and make the buildings sustainable for the long term is the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program. Through PACT, properties are gut-renovated and equipped with improved property management and on-site social services.

The PACT program involves partnerships with private developers who need financing, and JPMorgan Chase is one of the largest providers. The firm has financed $1.3 billion to modernize over 6,500 units through PACT since 2021. This financing is provided through Historic Tax Credit (HTC) equity combined with bridge and construction financing.

New York City’s public housing units might not initially appear eligible for HTCs, as they are not highly ornate buildings. However, as long as a public housing structure is over 50 years old and historically or culturally significant, it’s eligible to use HTC equity for updates. This significant financing vehicle is allowing JPMorgan Chase to show up for the city and NYCHA in a new way where it’s most needed.

“Modernizing NYCHA’s portfolio is no small task, but it is considerably less daunting when working in tandem with partner institutions like JPMorgan Chase,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “We are extremely grateful to Chase for their generous investment in the PACT program since 2021, and their ongoing commitment to New Yorkers and enhancing the quality of life for NYCHA residents.”

Total transformation

After modernization, many of the properties’ interiors are nearly unrecognizable. For example, when construction is complete on the Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn, residents will have: 

  • Upgraded units with brand-new bathrooms and kitchens
  • Upgraded elevators and common areas
  • Upgraded security and heating/cooling systems
  • Enhanced open spaces with new basketball courts, playgrounds and a community garden

In addition to the construction upgrades, PACT program developments receive enhanced property management services — meaning shorter wait times for repairs, and more timely and proactive maintenance — and on-site social services for residents.

“I’m excited for the renovations at Audubon Houses,” said Audubon resident Anna J. “I’ve been a tenant for 18 years and I value this community, but our homes need upgrades. The tenants have been part of this process from the very beginning. These updates are going to mean a safer, cleaner building, daily residential activities and modernized elevators that work! I’m grateful for this program and all of the partners coming together to improve our community.”

Audubon Houses and Bethune Gardens                       
Borough: Harlem                       
575 apartments

These two buildings, located just a few blocks from each other in Upper Manhattan, serve a mix of families and seniors. Both buildings were put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2022, paving the way for HTC equity use. The development team is comprised entirely of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and led by Dantes Partners, a JPMorgan Chase client.

Harlem River Houses                      
Borough: Harlem                      
691 units

Harlem River Houses was one of the first federally financed public housing developments in the country. The construction project included John Wilson Jr., the first Black graduate of Columbia University’s School of Architecture and one of the few licensed Black architects in New York City in the 1930s.

Williamsburg Houses                      
Borough: Brooklyn                      
1,621 apartments

Built in 1936, Williamsburg Houses was the first NYCHA property in Brooklyn and is a designated Historic Landmark. When completed, on-site social services will be provided by nonprofits St. Nicks Alliance and Grand Street Settlement, both with a long history of serving residents in the neighborhood.

The right people, the right approvals and lots of time 

While this is a creative way to finance public housing updates, it’s not easy. These projects require coordinated effort between the city, state, private lenders and investors, the federal government, the National Park Service, Government-Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and more. 

Not to mention the work done before a project even closes: For development to undergo the PACT program, resident approval is needed. Developers connect with tenants to make sure they’re comfortable before funding is allowed to move forward. 

“Our collaboration with NYCHA and financial partners like JPMorgan Chase has been pivotal in empowering us to deliver a vision that resonates deeply with the community,” said Buwa Binitie, founder and CEO of Dantes Partners, the development division of Dumas Collective and developer for the PACT Modernization Project at Audubon Houses, Marshall Plaza and Bethune Gardens. “We are deeply embedded in the neighborhoods we serve, and our journey has been marked by the unwavering commitment of our team and the invaluable support of JPMorgan Chase. Their understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities in minority-led development has been crucial in revitalizing communities. This partnership transcends mere business; it’s a shared commitment to enact lasting, positive change for the residents we serve.” 

With over $1.3 billion financed, there aren’t many institutions stepping up like JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America, with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.9 trillion in assets and $328 billion in stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2023. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S., and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at 

Source: Crains