Acacia Network & Phipps Houses Celebrate Ribbon-Cutting at Santaella Gardens, Named in Honor of Justice Irma Vidal Santaella

Bronx, NY (March 8, 2022) — Acacia Network and Phipps Houses –two NYC-based nonprofit housing developers– gathered today with State and City officials, partners, and community members to cut the ceremonial ribbon on Santaella Gardens, a mixed-use affordable housing development with 249 units with rents affordable to households earning between 30 and 90% of Area Median Income (AMI), including 25 units for formerly homeless individuals and families, as well as retail and community facility space on the ground floor, among other amenities.


The event was held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 to coincide with International Women’s Day, as the housing development was named in honor of Justice Irma Vidal Santaella, the first Puerto Rican female to serve as a Justice of the New York Supreme Court. Among other guests, the ribbon-cutting ceremony featured the participation of Justice Santaella’s family members, including her daughter Ivette Santaella, Esq.


“Santaella Gardens serves not only as a testament to Justice Santaella’s many contributions to women and human rights, but also to Acacia Network’s longstanding commitment to honoring and preserving the legacy of our Puerto Rican pioneers in The Bronx, who made possible incredible advances in the fields of social services, housing, addiction treatment, and more. With this building, we celebrate the past, while looking toward the future,” says Raul Russi, President of Acacia Network.


“The path to a truly affordable city requires us to build high-quality affordable housing that serves all communities,” said Adam Weinstein, President & CEO of Phipps Houses. “Our partnership with the Acacia Network at Santaella Gardens has created much needed affordable housing in The Bronx, including units for the formerly homeless. Santaella Gardens honors a legal trailblazer, Justice Irma Vidal Santaella, and we are honored to join her family today as we cut the ribbon on this wonderful monument to her considerable impact on both local and legal history.”


“We are proud to continue working with our partners –including the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Phipps Houses– to address the housing affordability crisis in the city, ensuring that vulnerable and formerly homeless New Yorkers are able to secure permanent, environmentally sustainable housing with access to community resources,” says Lymaris Albors, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Acacia Network.


“Today’s ribbon-cutting for Santaella Gardens marks an important milestone for residents and a much-deserved honor to Justice Santaella’s legacy,” said Andre White, Executive Director & CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods. “Phipps Neighborhoods is proud to offer critically needed community resources to the residents of Santaella Gardens to ensure that the children and adults have access to the opportunities that will help them thrive in every aspect of their lives.”


Designed by Dattner Architects, the project has been pre-certified by Passive House Institute US + 2015 (PHIUS), soon to receive Passive House certification. The super‐insulated, virtually air‐tight building envelope offers residents enhanced thermal comfort and a continuous supply of fresh, filtered air, while lowering heating and cooling costs. Rooftop solar photovoltaic panels generate onsite renewable energy. Other energy‐efficient features include ENERGY STAR appliances, LED lighting with control sensors, and Energy Recovery Ventilation. The development also boasts a colorful façade that is reminiscent of the architectural details of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico.


Santaella Gardens was made possible through the Mix and Match Program of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program of HPD.


“Today we celebrate the completion of 249 affordable homes for individuals and families from a range of household incomes, including much-needed housing and supportive services for 25 formerly homeless New Yorkers,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “Thanks to all of our partners for their ongoing efforts to ensure our city remains affordable for all New Yorkers through projects like Santaella Gardens.”


“Affordable housing is a human right, something that Justice Irma Vidal Santaella, a trailblazing woman, fought for her entire career,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “On this International Women’s Day, I was proud to honor her legacy to cut the ribbon at Santaella Gardens. This 100% Affordable Housing Development will bring 249 much needed units for low and moderate income households, along with 25 units for the formerly homeless to the Soundview section of The Bronx. This affordable housing project represents important investments that should be a model for our Borough and City. I want to thank Phipps Houses, Acacia Network, HPD and HDC for making this project a reality.”


About Acacia Network

Acacia Network is one of the leading human services organizations in New York City and one of the largest Hispanic-led nonprofit in the State, serving over 150,000 individuals every year through integrated, culturally-competent, and trauma-informed programs in the areas of health, housing, social services, economic development, and cultural revitalization. As of January 2022, Acacia Network manages 1,860 units of affordable and supportive housing, with 100 units currently under construction as sole developer and an additional 2,434 units under development as part of joint ventures. For more info, visit:

About Phipps Houses

Phipps Houses is the oldest and largest not-for-profit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in New York City. Its social services affiliate, Phipps Neighborhoods, provides children, youth and families in low-income neighborhoods the opportunities they need to thrive through comprehensive workforce and education programs, and access to community and economic empowerment services. Together they are changing lives in New York City. For more info, visit:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email