Dorothy McGowan Apartments


Completed July 2009
New Construction, Affordable, Supportive
Community League of the Heights
J. Pilla Group
Supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals with pyschiatric disabilities and youth aging out of the foster care system
Community League of the Heights
$23 million
Anthony Shitemi, Urban Architectural Initiatives


Founded in 1952, The Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) is a multi-service, community development organization dedicated to supporting and empowering the economically disadvantaged residents of Washington Heights. Throughout its 59-year history, CLOTH has been dedicated to finding solutions to the problems of poverty and disinvestment that confront the neighborhood.

Scope of Work

The Dorothy McGowan Apartments consists of three separate buildings, one a 38-unit new construction apartment building on the south side of West 159th Street, the other two both 7-unit rehabilitated row houses on the north side of the block. Alembic Community Development helped CLOTH to acquire the four sites, one at auction, three through a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) disposition program. Alembic assisted CLOTH in assembling the development team, including the project attorney and architect. Alembic structured the financing with combination of funding commitments for forgivable loans from HUD and New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity and construction and permanent bank debt.


The project succeeded in rehabilitating properties that had stood abandoned for over 20 years, thus eliminating a major source of blight. In addition, the project provides affordable housing and on-site case management and social services to formerly homeless individuals with chronic mental illness, low-income community residents and youth aging out of the foster care system.