A Green Roof Provides Residents of a Senior Housing Complex with an Improved View

The Findlay Teller Apartments provides affordable housing for low-income seniors in the Bronx, N.Y. The complex includes 32 one-bedroom and 131 efficiency units. Its 9,925-square-foot green roof is its most prominent green-building element and gives residents a welcomed view of green space.

Built in 1906, the dilapidated building was revitalized by three local Bronx organizations.

Built in 1906, the dilapidated building was revitalized by three local Bronx organizations.

“Many green roofs are on top of buildings where no one can see and enjoy them. The Findlay Teller green roof, particularly the sections installed on the terrace level and second-floor roofs, has many windows that look out on the [green roof sections],” says Antonio Freda, owner of Bronx-based Freda Design Associates Ltd., the architect for the apartment building’s renovation. “In fact, 90 percent of the apartments have a view of the green roof.”


Located at 1201 Findlay Avenue in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx, the community landmark has a long history. The building was constructed in 1906. The Daughters of Jacob, a non-profit service organization, originally used the building as a hospital and nursery facility. It was renovated in 1920. The east and west wings were added in 1952.

Converted to subsidized senior housing under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 program in 1978, and known as Findlay Plaza, the building deteriorated over the years. By December 2007, the apartments had a lowly score of 34 out of 100 on HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. Buildings must score at least 86 for their conditions to be rated healthy and safe. Eventually, HUD foreclosed on the property.

In 2009, three local organizations, the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, the Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Belmont-Arthur Avenue Local Development Corp. (BAALDC), worked together to win the support of the building’s tenants and neighborhood leaders to acquire and rehabilitate the property.

Roofing workers spread the growing media on the roof.

Roofing workers spread the growing media on the roof.

BAALDC, which strives to prevent the deterioration, blight and abandonment of at-risk housing in the Bronx, established the Findlay Teller Housing Development Fund Corp. (Findlay Teller HDFC) to take on the challenge of assembling financing and renovating the building.

“The building was in a very sad state of disrepair,” notes Joe Cicciu, executive director of BAALDC and president of Findlay Teller HDFC. “We put together $20 million in funds from many different sources, including a major grant from JPMorgan Chase, to save and rehabilitate the building.”


Notias Construction Inc., Flushing, N.Y., was the general contractor for the project. The firm managed the renovation according to Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, a program of Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit dedicated to creating opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. Required by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the criteria define standards for green-building practices applicable to affordable housing. Thus, the renovation included a new structural roof with two layers of insulation, high-efficiency boilers, replacement windows and new energy-efficient lighting. In addition to the green roof, permeable pavement in the parking area reduces stormwater runoff.


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