Casa Celina Bronx Affordable Senior Housing, NY apartments, New York residential high-rise images

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in the Bronx

NYCHA’s Sotomayor Houses, Soundview, NYC design by Magnusson Architecture + Planning, USA

post updated June 29, 2024

We post news of the ribbon cutting at Casa Celina, New York City.

JASA and Xenolith Partners Celebrate New 100% Affordable Housing Building for Seniors in the Bronx

Alongside ELH Mgmt. LLC, The Kretchmer Companies, HPD, HDC, NYCHA and residents, the development team hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Casa Celina, the $113 million, deeply affordable, 205-unit building on NYCHA’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor campus in the Bronx

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

Photos by Imagen Sublimina – Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero Architectural photography + film

Casa Celina, Sotomayor Houses in Soundview, the Bronx

Architect: Magnusson Architecture + Planning

Location: The Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses and Community Center, Soundview, The Bronx, New York City, NY, USA

Magnusson Architecture + Planning

JASA will provide Casa Celina residents and older adults living in the neighboring campus with supportive services and onsite staff

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

Bronx, New York (June, 2024) – the development team led by Xenolith Partners LLC, a NYC-SBS certified Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE); The Kretchmer Companies; ELH Mgmt. LLC; and JASA, the go-to agency serving older New Yorkers; along with NYC Aging; HPD; HDC; and NYCHA; celebrated the official opening of the new older adult  housing building, Casa Celina, alongside residents and elected officials in the Bronx with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Casa Celina ribbon cutting, Affordable Senior Housing Bronx

The ribbon cutting at Casa Celina, photos Courtesy of Xenolith Partners and JASA

The new 16-story building has a total of 204 apartments: 62 apartments have been reserved for older residents  who formerly experienced homelessness; 142 apartments are available to older adult households earning 50 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI); and one apartment is designated for a live-in superintendent. NYCHA residents will be given preference for 35 of the apartments. The building is comprised of 46 one-bedroom apartments and 158 studios.

JASA, the largest nonprofit manager of older adult housing in New York City, is the property manager and will provide supportive services such as health and wellness programming on-site to encourage neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and reduce social isolation, in addition to organizing medical transportation, help with obtaining SNAP EBT cards, referral to local food pantries and more.

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

“As the housing crisis persists, older adults are more in need of affordable housing than ever. And for hundreds of older New Yorkers, Casa Celina will be a safe, stable home with the resources and community that will enable them to age with dignity and purpose,” said Kathryn Haslanger, CEO of JASA. “We are grateful to all the incredible development and government partners that made today possible, and we’ll continue to work alongside tenants to ensure Casa Celina is a home where all can be proud to be a part of the community.”

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

“Another fruitful collaboration among HPD, HDC and NYCHA brings us to this exciting moment, cutting the ribbon at Casa Celina,” said Andrea Kretchmer, Principal of Xenolith Partners LLC. “Named in memory of Celina Baez, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s mother, Casa Celina is meant to foster the “soul, heart and magic” that the Justice shared with her mother on this very campus. This elegant building strives to reflect that heart and soul. Xenolith is also grateful to Hudson Housing Capital, Blue Hub Capital and Citibank for their financial support of the project.”

“We are proud to officially open Casa Celina and in doing so, provide seniors with access to high-quality affordable housing that prioritizes comfort, safety and well-being,” said Larry Hirshfield, Founder & CEO of ELH Mgmt. “By coupling best-in-class design with services and support, this project will help older adults remain active, stay connected and ultimately lead fuller lives.”

Casa Celina Bronx ribbon cutting, Affordable Senior Housing

The building offers a range of amenities, including a 1,725 square-foot community space staffed by JASA with support from the New York City Department for the Aging (NYC Aging), a fitness room, laundry room, lounge spaces on each floor for residents, and a landscaped roof terrace where yoga classes and gardening will be available. The development is located in close proximity to important resources for older adults living independently – including a Western Beef grocery store and a shopping center that includes a ShopRite and a TJ Maxx.

“Casa Celina brings affordable homes to the Soundview community, thoughtfully designed with older adults in mind,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “With an array of gathering spaces, a beautiful roof terrace, a library, and services provided on-site by JASA, Casa Celina is ready to welcome hundreds to their new homes. With 30% of units specifically for our neighbors exiting shelters, this development will provide much needed support, community, and care for over 200 older adults in New York City.”

“Affordable housing in our city is a fundamental necessity, especially for our older adults,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Casa Celina is designed to foster a vibrant, supportive, and inclusive environment with holistic services that care for its tenants’ emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It will be a place where our seniors, especially those who have experienced housing insecurity, can find stability, independence, and a true sense of belonging. I want to thank my colleagues in government, the New York Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Authority, the Housing Development Corporation, the New York City Department for the Aging, Xenolith Partners LLC, and JASA for bringing this important project to our Soundview neighborhood.”

“Soundview is an intergenerational community. We have families who want to keep their grandparents close and seniors who want to age with dignity in the same community they have spent decades building. With the ongoing affordability and housing crisis in New York City, Casa Celina is critical for the health and wellness of our Bronx seniors. I am incredibly proud to have this building in our community and thank our public and private partners for their dedication to prioritizing seniors,” said Majority Leader Amanda Farías.

“I’m thrilled to see Casa Celina in the Soundview neighborhood ready to welcome 204 households, headed by seniors, to their new homes,” said Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg. “This beautiful new development with spectacular amenities, programming and services designed specifically for older adults would not be possible without the public-private-partnership between NYC Housing Preservation and Development, Housing Development Corporation (HDC), elected officials, Xenolith Partners LLC, and JASA. A big thank you and congrats to all!”

“Creating new affordable housing in New York City is an incredible privilege, and we are ecstatic to have worked to develop over 200 new affordable units on NYCHA property for New Yorkers in need at Casa Celina,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We are so thankful to our city partners in this venture for their help in establishing the new 16-story building that will serve as an amazing new home to many, including formerly unhoused members of the community that are beginning an incredible new chapter in their lives.”

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

“We are so proud to celebrate the opening of Casa Celina with our partners,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. “The construction of this new building on underutilized NYCHA land is a great example of how we as a City can use our resources to provide existing NYCHA residents with great community spaces along with safe, and affordable housing.”

“I grew up and raised a family in the Bronx. This work is deeply personal to me because I know how transformative these investments are,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Casa Celina provides deeply affordable housing for over 200 households, including 62 formerly homeless older adults, right here in beautiful Soundview. Congratulations to all the partners who collaborated on this fantastic project.”

“Casa Celina delivers over 200 new affordable homes for older New Yorkers, coupled with services and amenities that will allow every resident to age with dignity,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “HDC is proud to be a part of this critical project and commends all our partners for helping meet the housing needs of our city’s seniors.”

“With over 200 affordable units reserved for older New Yorkers along with on-site supportive services that will help residents stay safe, healthy, and socially engaged, Casa Celina exemplifies the type of development necessary to ensure that seniors, especially those who have previously experienced homelessness, have the opportunity to find stability, access critical resources, and age with dignity,” said HRA Administrator Scott French. “This project is a testament to the power of public-private partnership, and we thank all those involved in creating these incredible new homes and supporting seniors in the Bronx.”

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx

“With New York’s older adult population continuing to grow, Casa Celina is the type of age-inclusive development needed for our city’s future,” said NYC Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “The wrap-around services, the opportunity to get to know your neighbors, and access services that help residents age-in-place demonstrate what is possible when we work together. This building, named after Celina Sotomayor, nurse, community advocate, and mother of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, honors her legacy of service and advocacy.”

“Casa Celina is a next generation 100% affordable senior housing community that will provide a safe, healthy and vibrant living environment in a beautifully designed, amenity rich, sustainable building where seniors can thrive and have the support they need to continue to live long and fulfilling lives,” said Aileen Gribbin, President of Forsyth Street Affordable Housing. “Forsyth Street Affordable Housing is proud to have been part of the development team.”

Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP), Casa Celina is built to support strong mental health with expansive windows throughout the apartments and common areas to offer abundant natural light. The individual apartments are designed for older adults– with features such as walk-in showers– and there are specific wheelchair accessible units as well as handicap and visual-handicap accessible units available. Additionally, bright resident lounges on each floor– including communal game spaces on every fourth floor– create a vertical network of community areas, conducive for social interaction and helping to prevent isolation for residents living alone.

“We are so proud of Casa Celina and grateful to have development partners who care so much about good design in support of a mission,” said Fernando Villa, Principal, Magnusson Architecture and Planning. “This building is a statement of our values – affordable senior housing should be beautiful and inclusive; it should foster community for its residents and offer the security, well-being, and joy that we all deserve as we age. At Casa Celina, the sunny shared spaces with views of the city are inspired places for people to connect, and the glassy, well-lit ground floor welcomes residents and visitors alike. This is an evolution of the public housing typology, one whose health, sustainability, and aesthetic elements underscore the importance of this housing.”

The 62 units set aside for formerly homeless older adults come equipped with basic furniture such as bed frames and seating. The individuals occupying these units are also provided with a stipend to purchase additional appliances and items from a catalog, allowing for the personalization of each home and promoting a sense of dignity and independence.

Located on NYCHA’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor campus in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, the 100% affordable project is named after Justice Sotomayor’s mother, Celina Báez. Justice Sotomayor toured the development in April 2024 alongside friends and family, during which she met with residents of the building and the development team. Justice Sotomayor also donated a library to the development that will be open for all tenants.

Residents have already begun moving into the building, which is expected to be fully leased by the end of 2024.

Permanent financing for the $113 million project includes $43 million in HDC bonds; a $7 million subsidy from HDC’s Extremely Low & Low-Income Affordability (ELLA) and HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) programs; roughly $53 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity.

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx


JASA is the go-to agency serving older adults in New York City, providing critical services to over 40,000 people annually. Founded 50+ years ago, JASA is a leading expert and innovator in aging services that recognizes the diversity among the aging population and honors older adults as vital members of society. JASA’s life-changing support services, interventions and partnerships promote aging with a purpose and provide autonomy for older adults to remain in their homes and communities.

JASA operates eleven affordable housing properties, is a licensed home care agency and offers a breadth of integrative services citywide spanning free legal services, health and mental health services, home-delivered meals, social programming at senior centers and community trainings on elder abuse, peer health support, caregiver assistance and more. For more information, please visit or follow @JASAseniors on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Xenolith Partners

Xenolith Partners LLC is a woman-owned affordable housing development company. Formed in 2016 by founding principals Andrea Kretchmer and Terri Belkas-Mitchell, Xenolith prides itself on its strong relationships, breadth and depth of expertise, and ability to execute. Xenolith has experience in the development of affordable, mixed-income, and mixed-use projects in Connecticut and New York that will revitalize communities and provide quality housing opportunities for all.

Since Xenolith’s launch, the firm has focused on developing unique partnerships that amplify the impactful works of its non-profit partners in their communities, including revitalization initiatives and the expansion of affordable housing and services for seniors, survivors of domestic violence, the chronically homeless and other supportive housing populations. Xenolith prioritizes community engagement throughout the development process and pursues projects that promote social, economic, and health equity.

ELH Mgmt. LLC and The Kretchmer Companies

The principals of ELH Mgmt. LLC and The Kretchmer Companies joined together 10 years ago to combine their skills to address affordable housing needs in NYC. Since then Larry Hirschfield and Jerome Kretchmer have completed three large-scale HPD-sponsored housing developments together totaling 1,000 units that have won numerous awards for design and community impact.

Integral to these projects are full-size, full-service community facilities upwards of 50,000 sf, including two YWCA’s. Larry Hirschfield, owner of ELH Mgmt. LLC, a leading developer of affordable housing in the City of New York, active in Brooklyn and Manhattan has been managing low income housing HPD sponsored projects since 1995. ELH has an impeccable reputation of developing and managing over 1,100 units of affordable housing throughout NYC. Jerome Kretchmer, principal of The Kretchmer Companies, has been developing housing since 1979  and has built more than 2,000 more apartments at every level of affordability. Jerome is particularly proud of his contributions to his home borough of the Bronx.

Photographs: Imagen Sublimina – Miguel de Guzmán + Rocío Romero Architectural photography + film.

Previously on e-architect:

Mar 19, 2019

Architect: Magnusson Architecture + Planning

Magnusson Architecture + Planning Selected to Design Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in the Bronx

New 16-story building will add 200 senior units and over 3,000 sq ft of community space at Justice Sonia Sotomayor Housing Development:

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in the Bronx, NY
rendering courtesy of Magnusson Architecture + Planning

100% affordable senior housing at NYCHA’s Sotomayor Houses in Soundview, the Bronx

New York, NY — (March 18, 2019) Magnusson Architecture + Planning (MAP) will bring to fruition its exciting concept for 100% affordable senior housing at NYCHA’s Sotomayor Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx. MAP worked with Xenolith Partners, The Kretchmer Companies, ELH Mgmt., and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) whose joint proposal was selected through an RFP process.

Part of the NYC Housing New York 2.0 “Seniors First” program, Casa Celina is the latest of MAP’s projects located in the Bronx, a borough where the firm has designed over 40 buildings and continues to advance the quality of affordable housing design.

Named in honor of the Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s mother, Celina Baez, Casa Celina will be a 16-story building comprising 200 senior units (studio and one-bedrooms). Amenities will include an exercise/fitness room, laundry room, lounge areas throughout the building, a ground floor community space, and a landscaped rooftop terrace.

Approximately 3,350 square feet of community space will be accessible to NYCHA residents and the surrounding community. The development will also provide on-site social support, health services and cultural programming for seniors and the community.

Committed to the health of the residents, Casa Celina incorporates active design principles, particularly in the connection between the stairs and lounges. The stairs are given prominent placement in high traffic areas and will have clear wayfinding, large windows and doors with glass panels so that residents see ample light rather than a dark or closed-off area.

As an additional enticement to walk up and down, the lounges are located next to the stairs throughout the building, creating a vertical network of social spaces, which helps to prevent isolation.

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing at Justice Sonia Sotomayor Housing Development, Bronx:
Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing at Justice Sonia Sotomayor Housing Development, Bronx
rendering courtesy of Magnusson Architecture + Planning

The north/south orientation of the site and building provides an opportunity for energy generation through a large solar array. The angled recesses of the windows and articulation of the façade were then added to shade the east/west facing units and mitigate heat gain. The building includes sustainability and resiliency measures intended to achieve LEED Gold Certification among other high standards.

Overall, the design is an evolution of the public housing typology, one that creates a much stronger relationship to the neighborhood particularly through the ground floor plan. The fully-glazed, double-height spaces will provide views through to the side garden and playground; and will ensure visual connections to all other parts of the community as well.

“Urban acupuncture was a theme of the design,” said Fernando Villa, Principal, Magnusson Architect and Planning. “There was an idea that this one point, this building, could radiate benefits throughout the neighborhood in the form of services and community programming, neighborhood investment, and architectural innovation, or more everyday impacts like improvements in open space and street illumination.”

NYCHA’s Sotomayor Houses was built in 1955 and consists of 28, 7-story buildings located across 30 acres. Originally Bronxdale Houses, the development was renamed after Justice Sonia Sotomayor in 2010. Casa Celina will be located at the corner of Watson and Thieriot Avenues on an underused NYCHA site.


For over three decades, Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP) has worked with non-profit groups, municipalities, and for-profit developers to improve the lives of those who live and work in their communities. MAP’s award-winning buildings and urban revitalization projects serve as the foundation for vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods. Since our founding in 1986, we have been at the forefront of quality housing, green building and urban design.

MAP offers comprehensive architectural and planning services that blend design excellence with technical and planning expertise. The firm specializes in mixed-use developments including: affordable, supportive, senior, mixed-income, and market-rate housing; schools; community facilities; urban design projects; and, community planning.

In 2015 MAP established a Volunteer Program. Every month a team of staff, friends, and family donate personal time to projects that serve residents of the buildings the firm has designed, improve features in those buildings or support the clients of MAP’s nonprofit partners.

Casa Celina, Affordable Senior Housing in Bronx property images / information received 080319

Website: MAP

Location: The Bronx, NY, USA

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