PASSIVE HOUSE PROJECT SETS RECORD IN THE BRONX - Commercial Property Executive
At first glance, you might not guess that Park Avenue Green is a record-setter. But the 15-story, 154-unit mixed-income community in the South Bronx nevertheless represents a major contribution to the sustainability movement: It is the largest building in North America so far to meet the exacting standards required to earn Passive House certification for energy efficiency. Developed by Omni New York LLC, Park Avenue Green completes a two-phase development that started with Morris Avenue Apartments, a neighboring LEED Gold-certified community….
Besides its stature as the continent’s largest Passive House building, at least two other feature make Park Avenue Green noteworthy. It is a rare example of a New York City property that is both new and affordable, “because across New York City and elsewhere, more and more new construction is not affordable,” said Eugene Schneur, Omni New York’s co-managing director and co-founder.
A GREEN AFFORDABLE HOUSING LESSON FROM THE BRONX - Multi-Housing News
Building affordable housing projects in New York City is definitely a challenging task. And if developers want to add a sustainability component, it’s even more problematic due to exorbitant land prices, rising construction costs and strict green standards that need to be met. However, it’s certainly not impossible. Omni New York, a company that has owned and managed more than 14,000 units of affordable housing in 11 states, has recently completed Park Avenue Green, a 154-unit mixed-income community at 2980 Park Ave. in the South Bronx, dubbed North America’s largest building to earn Passive House certification for energy efficiency. Eugene Schneur, CEO & co-founder of the real estate development company that focuses on affordable housing, shared some insights on the record-setting project as well as his views on the market and the current state of the energy sector in NYC.
IN THE BIG LEAGUES - Affordable Housing Finance
"Vaughn, 46, is part of a trio leading Manhattan-based Omni. His partners are attorney Eugene Schneur and Rob Bennett, who has 25 years of affordable housing experience. Specializing in acquiring and rehabilitating neglected properties, the company has grown to become a major player in affordable housing. Going into its 10th year, it’s one of the industry’s largest owners, with about 7,800 units. Omni’s 34 properties are in New York City, upstate New York, Boston, and one in Wyoming."
40-YEAR ANNIVERSARY FOR HARLEM RIVER PARK TOWERS - BronxTimes
"It is a milestone year for the tallest buildings in the Bronx. It was 40 years ago this year that construction on the Harlem River Park Towers, located at 10, 20, 30 and 40 Richman Plaza, was completed. Four decades later, the two Bronx skyscrapers are still standing tall. The Harlem River Park Towers complex, which consists of two 44-story buildings, was completed in 1975."
MO HEART, LESS HYPE - Real Estate New York
"Founded in 2004 by former Mets and Red Sox slugger Maurice “Mo” Vaughn and his attorney, Eugene Schneur, Omni New York has quickly made an impact in the arena of affordable housing. The company’s strategy? Purchase properties with some of the worst reputations in New York City, generously upgrade units and amenities, and still keep the projects 100% affordable, while providing a valuable service to long-suffering residents."
OMNI BREAKS GROUND ON $68M AFFORDABLE BRONX COMMUNITY - Multi-Housing News
"Omni New York broke ground on Morris II Apartments, an affordable housing community being constructed in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. The $67.7 million developement was financed under the New York City Housing Development Corp. (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Developement's (HPD) Extremely Low and Low-Income Affordability Program (ELLA) and Our Space Initiative."
CITY TAPS DEVELOPER TO TRANSFORM NYPD GARAGE IN JAMAICA INTO LARGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT - Crains New York
"The city selected a developer to turn a former NYPD parking garage in Jamaica, Queens, into a large, mixed use complez with more than 350 affordable apartments, officials announced Thursday. The building, which will be developed by Omni New York, is a key component of the de Blasio administration's 2015 economic development initiative called the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, which aims to spur job growth and retail development in the neighborhood."
40 UNDER 40 CLASS OF 2010 / EUGENE SCHNEUR - Crains New York
"When Eugene Schneur emigrated from the former Soviet Union at age 7, he moved into an affordable-housing complex in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where Section 8 vouchers helped his family handle the rent. He couldn't have known then that he was doing career research. But the co-founder of Omni New York now makes a living buying and rehabilitating affordable-housing units in the tri-state area—a majority of which are Section 8 buildings."
MEET LANDLORD EUGENE SCHNEUR, CO-FOUNDER OF OMNI NEW YORK AND PARTNER OF FORMER MAJOR LEAGUER MO VAUGHN - The Real Deal New York
"We’re in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, as well as Westchester County, Nassau County, Ithaca, Massachusetts — and we have one property in Wyoming. But about 50 percent of the portfolio is in the Bronx."
How did you meet your business partner, baseball All Star Mo Vaughn?
I was a mergers and acquisitions attorney in my previous life and worked at Olshan Law. We were representing Mo when he was investing in some restaurants and lounges. One day, he called me and asked if I knew anything about affordable housing and lowincome tax credits. We didn’t do that kind of work, so I referred him to another firm. He called back — he was very persistent — and said, “This is a very interesting business.” Very quickly, he convinced me to leave the law firm and enter the lowincomehousing world
MO BETTER BUILDINGS - Sports Illustrated
"As Mo Vaughn zips along the Deegan Expressway in his black Range Rover, he sneaks a peek at Yankee Stadium. "I did some great things there," says the three-time Red Sox All-Stair and 1995 AL MVP, who was forced to retire in 2003 due to chronic knee pain. "Though my career didn't end the way I wanted, seeing it reminds me that I'm still able to do great things in other ways."
POWER PLAYER - The New York Times
There are times when Maurice Vaughn, the former major league baseball player universally called Mo, is treated like a businessman — usually when he is deep in talks to buy ratty apartment buildings and make them habitable again. Then there are times when he is treated like catnip — usually by women, like the ones who spotted him strolling through the cleaned-up courtyard of one such apartment complex in Brownsville, Brooklyn, called the Plaza, that Mr. Vaughn and his partners bought in 2007."
This is where Mr. Vaughn, a star slugger for the Boston Red Sox who quit baseball in 2003 after a lackluster run with the Mets, decided to build what he called his “afterlife” from the ashes of his baseball career. His six-year-old company, Omni New York LLC, is on its way to becoming a major player in the low-income housing world. It has acquired 4,000 apartments, most of them in New York State’s scrappiest neighborhoods, housing the poorest of tenants (98 percent of them qualify for Section 8 rent subsidies).
MO VAUGHN’S OMNI NEW YORK IS BETTING ON THE BRONX - Commercial Observer
"He may have once been known to swing for the fences and run the bases as a Major League Baseball player, but nowadays Maurice “Mo” Vaughn swings past his properties to check on the projects developed by his 500-employee real estate company. Mr. Vaughn’s firm, Omni New York, has nearly 12,000 housing units in various states around the country, about half of which are in New York City. And of the properties in New York, more than 4,250 units are in the Bronx."
Mr. Vaughn’s firm, Omni New York, has nearly 12,000 housing units in various states around the country, about half of which are in New York City. And of the properties in New York, more than 4,250 units are in the Bronx.
It’s sort of ironic, since the Bronx is synonymous with the New York Yankees, which Mr. Vaughn twice called his rival when he began his career in 1991 with the Boston Red Sox and when he ended it with the New York Mets in 2003. But today there is no animosity.
“The baseball relationship is something totally different,” Mr. Vaughn, 47, told Commercial Observer during an interview by phone. “People know us in the boroughs that we are in because we provide a solid service.”…
Together, Messrs. Schneur and Vaughn bought the massive, two-building, crime-plagued River Park Towers in the Bronx for $137 million in 2012 and are coming off a renovation of the property that nearly cost the same as the sale price.
Mr. Schneur joined Mr. Vaughn for the interview to talk about how their relationship started, their rise to success, the lack of affordable housing in the city and the transformation of the Bronx. But first, how it all started for the man called Mo: