A Proper Perspective on the Community Preservation Corporation’s History

In the Real Deal’s February 1,  2022  interview – “The Closing” — with my successor at the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a link was made to an ill-informed 2012 New York Times article critical of CPC, but failed to note my response to it as found in the Times online edition, and further elaborated in my article in Crain’s. The condo loans mentioned in the interview were originated as part of an ongoing effort to create workforce housing at a time of severe shortages of moderately priced housing. They, like every investment including Parkchester and the purchase of the Domino Sugar site, were approved by CPC’s board and its investment committees.  The board and investment committees were composed of representatives from CPC’s then sponsoring banks and insurance companies.

Like many developments that started construction during the pre-2008 period, several condo construction loans fell prey to the recession. It was the first serious defaults that the company experienced since its founding in 1974. The finger pointing and gratuitous questioning of motives which ensued, obscured the incredible record CPC had amassed during its then 37-year history, 31 years of which I served as CEO. That record provided the financial ballast to absorb the losses CPC experienced, about $60 million, and get through that difficult recessionary period.

More recently, CPC’s sale of its one-third interest in Parkchester, a legacy project involving the seven-year (1998-2005) restoration of the 12,271-unit housing complex, netted a profit of over $150 million. This infusion of capital provides a spring board for the company to expand its efforts both in NYC – where much needs to be done –and in its upstate New York and regional lending areas.

Let’s provide a proper perspective on CPC’s history. From1974 through 2011, CPC worked with communities in the City and State of New York and some surrounding areas to meet their varied affordable housing needs. During that period, over $7 billion was invested to restore and build over 145,000 affordable homes, including over 93,000 in New York City. Like many financial institutions at that time, it got rocked by the recession. However, CPC’s accumulated resources provided a solid foundation for the company to recover and carry its mission forward.

Michael Lappin, former CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation (1980-2011), and currently head of M. Lappin & Associates, a provider of advisory services for affordable housing.

Filling in the Gaps

See original article here: https://cooper.edu/about/news/filling-gaps

Prospect Gardens, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Photos courtesy Carmi Bee

Affordable housing—a perennial problem in New York City that has proven even more urgent with the COVID-19 emergency—raises tough questions: how do we define “affordable”? What form should it take? And frequently the most contentious of all—where should it be located? Last October, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to build 800 new units in the New York neighborhood of SoHo, a highly unusual move considering the wealth of the proposed location. Besides signaling an attempt at spreading affordable housing equitably across the city, it’s also a response to growing homelessness, which according to a study conducted by the city, rose by 7% from January 2019 to January 2020. The numbers have almost certainly grown since then, but as CityLab has reported, the COVID crisis has posed multiple obstacles to getting an accurate count of just how many people have lost their homes in the past year.

Continue reading Filling in the Gaps

MLappin & Associates Closes on 42-unit Affordable New Construction in East New York Brooklyn

MLappin & Associates LLC is pleased and proud to announce the closing on the acquisition and construction financing for three New York City-owned properties in East New York, Brooklyn.  This is the first phase of  a project that will create 75 newly-constructed rental units in five buildings. The first three sites were awarded to the team by HPD through a Request for Proposals.  Units will be affordable to families with incomes between 30% and 70% of area median income, with rents ranging from $283/month for a one-bedroom unit to $1592 for a two-bedroom unit.

The development team includes managing members East Brooklyn Congregations, MLappin & Associates, The Marcal Group and DA Widerkehr LLC.  Marcal Contracting Co LLC will be the general contractor and the architect is DeLaCour Ferrara & Church Architects, PC.  Enterprise Green Community consulting was provided by Sparhawk Group.  Langsam Property Services will be our property manager upon completion.    

Our financing partners are Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, providing equity through the purchase of 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and a subsidy also provided by HPD.  TD Bank provided construction financing, and a permanent loan commitment was offered through Walker and Dunlop for a 30-year, forward rate-locked Freddie Mac loan.

Construction has begun on Phase 1 and completion is expected in July 2022. 

View from the Inside: A Storied Lender’s Journey to Hell and Back

by Michael D. Lappin, Crains NY Business:  The former head of CPC recounts its near-death experience, February 15, 2016

It is good that the Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) is poised to increase its lending activities and hopefully renew its role as an important community lender (“After being on the brink of collapse, major affordable-housing lender is back in business“). However, let’s not overstate CPC’s past problems, nor undervalue or misunderstand its past accomplishments.

CPC consistently pursued its mission to support the varied and changing affordable housing needs of the communities it served. In building and preserving more than 147,000 housing units from its founding in 1974 during its first 37 years, CPC was one of the most creative and productive affordable-housing organizations in the city and state.

In its early years, CPC, together with the city and state, worked with building owners to rehabilitate and preserve their buildings in neighborhoods threatened with abandonment. As the city’s economy rebounded, CPC worked closely with the Koch and Dinkins administration to rebuild the abandoned buildings and restore communities. CPC and the city comptroller brought the enormous resources of the city and later state pension funds to support these efforts. Tens of thousands of apartments were built and restored through these efforts, breathing new life into New York’s neighborhoods.

In the early 1990s the city’s economy went into recession, threatening the viability of many affordable rental buildings, as well as recently converted moderate and middle-income cooperative and condominium housing. CPC, working with the State of New York Mortgage Agency, stepped up to restore the financial and physical health of these properties.

CPC’s signature achievement in this area was the restoration of the 12,271-unit condominium complex at Parkchester in the Bronx. It led a partnership that bought the unsold residential and commercial units and organized a $250 million six-year renovation program. The result: the predominantly moderate-income apartment owners saw the collective value of their renovated homes grow by almost $300 million!

In the 1990s, New York City’s population grew by more than 600,000, but the city’s housing production failed to keep pace, with only about 85,000 new homes built during that period. The severe shortage of housing for households earning between $90,000 and $130,000, became a priority for the city to support its work force for its growing economy. CPC joined that effort. Working with small builders in the outer boroughs, CPC provided debt averaging about $240,000 per apartment to successfully finance thousands of condo units whose projected price was affordable to the aforementioned income range. The only public subsidy provided for city projects was 421-a real estate tax benefits. Many of these properties catalyzed the growth of new communities throughout the city.

CPC’s purchase of the Domino Sugar site in Brooklyn in 2004 was viewed as a major opportunity to leverage the strength of real estate market to create a large new site for affordable housing, cross-subsidized by its market rate sales and rentals. The company made a commitment to have 30% of the housing units affordable, skewed to align with the income ranges of local residents.

Domino and work-force housing were additive to CPC’s continual efforts to build and restore low and moderate-income housing.

The precipitous decline in the economy in 2008-2009 hit particularly hard on CPC’s investments in work-force housing.

In early 2008 CPC halted new lending for moderate-income condominiums. However, many projects had already been committed or placed into construction. As these properties neared completion and began marketing, loans for purchasers virtually disappeared. Without sales, the added carrying costs (interest payments, insurance, security, etc.) strained the budgets of both developers and contractors of these mostly small projects in the outer boroughs. Several of these projects defaulted. CPC’s New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate projects, although a small percentage of its lending, suffered more severe defaults as moderate-income areas declined. Many have yet to recover.

CPC, like all residential lenders, was affected by the depth and length of the recession. For the first time in its then 33-year history it experienced significant losses. Prior to that time, its losses, from about $5 billion of loans, were less than one tenth of one percent (0.1%).

In 2009, CPC had outstanding loans of around $900 million on for-sale projects. While we were watchful of these loans—not all were considered “bad”—various strategies were employed to get the projects completed. Some completed their sales program, some became rentals, some were sold and/or foreclosed with losses, etc. At the end of 2011 these loans were paid down to about $350 million. We estimated our losses, principally on for-sale loans, to be about $60 million. CPC had accumulated sufficient liquid assets to cover these losses, not to mention its significant property assets.

There is no doubt that CPC has gone through a difficult period over the last several years, particularly as its sponsoring banks virtually eliminated its line of credit for construction loans despite CPC never having missed or made a late payment in its history.

Nonetheless, the “rebranded” CPC has been bequeathed with a substantial net worth as evidenced by its latest balance sheet: income from its servicing portfolio, income from Parkchester, and income from sales and monetization of its other property assets. With this financial strength and its new and renewed credit agreements, CPC can once again become a significant partner with the city and state to meet the affordable-housing needs of the communities it serves.

Michael Lappin, principal of MLappin & Associates LLC, was CEO of the Community Preservation Corp. from 1980 to December 2011.

Read article at:  http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160215/OPINION/160219932http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160215/OPINION/160219932

CPC: Michael Lappin, Key Force in Creating Affordable Housing for More Than Three Decades, to Retire from CPC

After leading the company for 31 years, Michael Lappin will be retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) to pursue other opportunities.  He has agreed to stay on in his current role and work with CPC’s Board in the selection process for a successor and to assure a smooth transition. Mr. Lappin will also continue to shepherd the New Domino project forward so it can fulfill its promised benefits for the community and the city…

Read at http://www.communityp.com/news/Michael-Lappin%2C-Key-Force-in-Creating-Affordable-Housing-for-More-Than-Three-Decades%2C-to-Retire-from-CPC