Residence  |  Features & Amenities  |  Apartments  |  Residents  |  Financing  |  Developers

Arbor House 1071 Tinton Avenue, Morrisania–The Bronx

Arbor House, an eight-story, 120,000-square-foot, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified, green building was constructed on underused land formerly owned by NYCHA and is surrounded by NYCHA’s Forest House complex. Located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Arbor House is designated for low-income households earning no more than 60% AMI, which translated to no more than $49,800 for a family of four during the development’s initial rental process. There were preferences for some units for NYCHA residents, and others for formerly homeless households. Residents have first priority for renting the 43 sub-level parking spots.


Features & Amenities

ABS Architects, which designed Arbor House, incorporated elements into the building that meet the City’s Active Design Guidelines to promote physical health and reduce obesity through indoor and outdoor fitness areas and by encouraging stair use. Arbor House is also the first residential building in the country to have a hydroponic farm on its roof.



The building features artwork by local children and accomplished artist Béatrice Coron, whose work has been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. For Arbor House, Coron designed the decorative metal screens titled ‘Growing Strong’ that were incorporated into the fencing and window guards. Coron also designed the ornamental iron work for other Blue Sea Development projects with HDC in the South Bronx including The Eltona, The General Colin Powell Apartments, and The Melody. Her art can be seen in the City’s subway system, the North Carolina Airport, and a number of other public spaces around the country.

The American Cancer Society “Healthy High-Rise” Recognition

Arbor House and its developer, Blue Sea Development, received recognition from the American Cancer Society as a “Healthy High-Rise” in honor of the building’s 100% smoke-free policy. Air quality is further maintained with the use of low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, adhesives, finishes, and sealants. Air ventilation and filtration are carefully monitored, and recycled materials are used throughout the building. The beautiful living green wall extending the length of the lobby helps to remove carbon dioxide and provide fresh oxygen. Mount Sinai Medical Center is currently conducting a study of residents’ health, tracking any changes and looking at the effects of active architecture on their lifestyle and habits.


The Rooftop Hydroponic Farm

The 10,000-square-foot, pesticide-free hydroponic farm sitting on the roof of Arbor House’s eight-story building and operated by Boston-based Sky Vegetables, is the first of its kind on a residential building in the United States // READ MORE


The Apartments

The building has 123 rental units of affordable and energy-efficient housing, including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. An additional apartment houses a superintendent who lives on-site. Energy Star LED fixtures are used throughout the building and low energy fans ventilate each apartment. Energy Star kitchen appliances, dual flush extra low-flow toilets and low-flow sink faucets and showerheads help keep energy costs down.

Another unique design element is that “learning thermostats” have been built into the walls of every apartment. This self-programming device tracks and “learns” tenant preferences for turning the heat or air conditioning on and off and creates a program based on those patterns. It senses when people are home and quickly learns to turn the heat or air down or off when the apartment is vacated. Tenants can use a smartphone, tablet, or computer to remotely adjust the temperature or, when home, change it manually. When used properly, the learning thermostat can lower heating and cooling bills by up to 20%. In addition, home energy use monitors in each apartment allow residents to monitor and control their electricity costs and consumption.


The Mount Sinai School of Medicine On‑site Physical Activity Research Study

The effects of living in a building that actively promotes exercise and good health and follows the Active Design Guidelines // READ MORE


The Residents of Arbor House

Ronald White

Ronald White, who served in the Marines and saw action in Vietnam, lived two blocks away on Jackson Avenue before coming here to Arbor House. “I know this neighborhood,” he said. “It’s good. They put the building in the perfect spot.” Ronald has been in the building since it opened and proudly declares, “I know just about everybody in it.” Unlike his former home, he is secure in the fact that his rent will stay affordable, and is still delighted that the amenities feel luxurious: “It’s a good building. Has good amenities,” says Ronald, adding “There’s a washer and dryer on every floor, a gym downstairs. A garage. You can’t beat it.”


Alicia Silvers

Alicia Silvers, her husband, five-year-old daughter and 19-month-old son live in a spacious two-bedroom apartment with a large living room and well laid out kitchen. An intercom equipped with a video screen lets them see who’s downstairs ringing their bell. “I love the kitchen,” Alicia said. “I love the building. It’s the nicest one I’ve been in in the Bronx.” Alicia is studying for her nursing degree, and her husband works for Google. They are hoping that their affordable rent at Arbor House will help advance their long-term plan to save money to buy a house for their growing family. But until then Alicia is enjoying her life at Arbor House. “I’m loving it. I use the fitness center. I take the stairs. Everything works great. Everything’s awesome.”


Luis Giurias

One resident at Arbor House, Luis Giurias, was even profiled in TIME Magazine, discussing how the development’s amenities and facilities have assisted his efforts to achieve a healthier life for himself and his family. Acknowledging in his interview with the magazine that he had never learned the importance of exercise when he was younger, Luis emphasized how Arbor House will give his own children a different life experience:  “This will make it second nature to them to be healthy,” he told TIME. “It won’t be foreign to them like it was for me.”

Read more about Luis and healthy living in Arbor House in TIME Magazine »


The Financing Structure

Blue Sea Development was selected as the developer for Arbor House through a competitive process and purchased the land at a below-market rate from NYCHA. The total development costs for Arbor House were approximately $37.7 million. HDC provided both a loan from tax exempt bond proceeds as well a subsidy loan that together funded roughly 73% of the total construction costs. HPD provided subsidies as well. The project also generated low income housing tax credits that provided significant equity towards the total project cost. HDC worked in active partnership with the developer as well as HUD, The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, HPD, the Bronx Borough President’s Office, the Bank of New York Mellon, JP Morgan Chase, and local community leaders to coordinate and finance this development.


The Developers

Blue Sea Development Company, a sustainable property owner, development, general contracting and management firm, has developed thousands of affordable housing units over the past 30 years. Committed to high quality, healthy and sustainable homes, the company has built many other remarkable buildings also in partnership with HDC. Three of them, all in the Bronx—The Eltona, The Colin Powell Apartments, and The Melody—were, respectively, the first, second, and third LEED Platinum affordable housing developments in New York State.

Co-owner Les Bluestone is a pioneer and a visionary in building green for affordable housing. Together with his partner, Avery Seavey, Les has been on the leading edge of the green building industry for decades. He says that when Blue Sea first started building green there wasn’t a lot of knowledge about it or materials with which to do it. “Now there’s both. Green is happening.”

Most of all, Les cares about his tenants. He cares about their physical condition, how much they exercise, what foods they eat, how much they spend on electricity. He wants to build great quality homes that will make people happy and keep them healthy. “We’re happy with the results here at Arbor House,” Les added. “Whenever we do a building, we plan things carefully. And every now and then we hit the mark. Certainly in terms of energy efficiency we’ve hit the mark here. We’re also happy with the finishing touches we’ve been able to put in: The softer, more energy-efficient LED lighting, the wallpaper in all the corridors, the carpeting and wood and marble touches, the art work. The people like it. If you treat people with respect and show that you care about them, it comes back to you, sometimes in spades.”

Building Staff

Blue Sea’s staff clearly takes similar pride in the development. Superintendent Ivan Crespo proudly walks through the entire development, pointing out every feature, from the automatic watering system in the backyard, to the security cameras that ensure safety in all common areas, and even to smaller details like the filtered water fountain in the fitness center. “I know everybody in Arbor House, I was here when they did the ribbon cutting.” Says Ivan, adding proudly “I take care of the whole building, front and back.”