SKA Marin, Inc. is a well-known real estate development and consulting firm, specializing in affordable housing, senior living, and community development in the New York metropolitan area. The firm has had a presence in New York affordable housing development since 1985 and was selected to develop this site through a competitive process.
Sydelle Knepper, founder of SKA Marin, has more than 25 years of experience in community-based development, public policy consulting, and construction management. In addition to the comprehensive services and amenities, Sydelle’s attention to detail is evident in several other aspects of the development she takes pride in, from the cascading waterfall in the ground-floor garden to the comfortable benches stationed on every floor so tenants can rest while waiting for the elevators. “You can go the extra mile in affordable housing, have that extra feature, so people can be proud to live here.”
“I want to make this a home where seniors can age in place,” Sydelle continues, revealing a commitment that is personal as well as professional. “I grew up with both my grandparents living in our house. It was a family, and this building is very much a family.”
It’s a sentiment that clearly resonates with the building staff as well. Francisco Lazaro, Riverway’s property manager, points to the many communal activities he observes, from early morning tai chi in the garden to monthly birthday parties hosted by management and tenant meetings that have turned into “international potluck dinners” where residents bring dishes to share with one another that are reflective of Riverway’s cultural diversity. Observing and participating in that community makes his position at Riverway more than a job, as Francisco will readily admit. “I love all my residents here at Riverway,” he says. “We are a family, so we work like that.”
The Calvary Church of God, a joint partner in Riverway Apartments, has been very active in the Brownsville community for approximately four decades facilitating lunch programs, medical care visits and other support for local seniors among a wide array of other community services such as youth programs. These other services now include after-school care for children in the community aged 6–14, which is one of the programs operated out of Riverway’s Senior Center and creates an interesting, intergenerational platform that has not gone unnoticed by Calvary’s dedicated staff. “The interaction between the generations is delightful,” says Steven Hutchinson, the organization’s youth director.