Bronx, NY The Doe Fund announced its Webster Green residence took home the Gold for Best Infill Community at the 2020 Best in American Living Awards (BALA).
Started by the National Association of Home Builders 37 years ago, the BALA recognizes outstanding achievement by builders and design professionals in all sectors of the residential housing industry. BALA is built on the principle that all great homes start with great design, regardless of cost or size.
Webster Green, located at 3100 Webster Ave. in the Bedford Park neighborhood, is home to over 100 residents. Originally opened in 2019 and designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, the $30 million joint venture with Robert Sanborn Development consists of a single, eight-story structure with a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.
Located on a former greyfield site, the 77,000 s/f building consists of 41 supportive units and 41 affordable units. Residents qualifying for supportive services receive assistance from The Doe Fund, including comprehensive case management, assistance with daily living skills, and referrals for medical, psychiatric and substance abuse treatment, as well as vocational services.
On the ground floor, there are several administrative and program management offices for The Doe Fund, two community spaces facing onto Webster Avenue (one that also faces a rear yard), and the laundry room. Additionally, the 7th floor lounge looks out onto a landscaped roof and the Bronx Botanical Gardens. The ground floor courtyard, also landscaped, features native and drought-resistant/tolerant plants and shrubs, seating areas, permeable pavers, and a drip irrigation system.
Fernando Vila, the project’s lead architect commented, “The development’s green design is thematically tied to the park down the block, lightens the environmental impact on the neighborhood, and helps highlight the value of nature within this urban context.”
Webster Green also won a building award from the Queens Bronx Building Association in 2019.
George McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund, said, “We are honored to give the members of this community the opportunity to remain in their neighborhood after experiencing economic hardship. In this unprecedented time when millions of Americans—disproportionately Black and brown Americans—are at risk of sliding into poverty, we need to build more state-of-the-art residences like Webster Green that boldly reimagine what affordable and supportive housing can be.”
Tenants of Webster Green agree. “I moved in here with nothing, so it means a lot to me,” Terria Smith said of the residence.
After experiencing over a year of homelessness in the neighborhood before moving in, Terria is thankful not just for a roof over her head that she can afford, but also the full suite of supportive services the residence offers. “We all came in here with different problems. Mental issues. And they [The Doe Fund] try to give whatever support they can give,” she said.
Another resident, Carmen Cavallero, said, “[Webster Green] is my lovely world. Thank God. I love this place.”