Common Ground Hegeman Residence

Project Description

This 5-story, 80,000 sq. ft. residential structure creates transitional housing for low-income individuals and formerly homeless single adults. The building design and construction incorporates many “green” elements throughout, including environmentally responsible materials and technology to reduce operating and maintenance costs for long-term sustainability.


Common Ground’s Hegeman Residence provides a beautiful calm spot in a crowded city environment and serves the neediest of the community with 161 apartments of essential housing. Amenities of this project, atypical for affordable housing, include a 24/7 attended lobby, a computer room, an exercise room and broad glass façades that deliver natural daylight to interior spaces.

Designed for LEED Silver rating, the project emphasizes sustainability. The outdoor spaces of this project include a “green” roof that cools the building, slows storm water run-off and employs solar panels, a landscaped courtyard and a community garden. Building operation is facilitated with a complete building management system. Environmentally responsible lighting and motion sensors installed throughout the building reduce operating costs and improve security, and condensing boilers boost energy efficiency while lowering energy costs.

Challenges and Solutions

Mountco supported the development team and served as general contractor for this neighborhood revitalization project. The building was constructed on a very tight site in a congested urban area, requiring significant coordination for material staging and trades. The site of a former parking lot, the subsurface conditions necessitated environmental remediation of soil contamination, and foundation work required extensive shoring.

Common Ground Brook Avenue Residence

Project Description

This 6-story 91,670 sq. ft. residential structure with ground floor retail space creates permanent housing for low-income working adults and formerly homeless individuals. The building incorporates “green design” through the use of environmentally responsible materials and technology to reduce long-term operating and maintenance costs by emphasizing sustainability throughout.


Reclaiming a vacant site to create an oasis in a congested urban area for the most needy of the community, Common Ground offers 190 units of housing, a backyard area and a “green” roof garden for residents to enjoy. The ground floor features community and retail spaces. A building management system controls lights, fans and temperature at optimum levels for energy conservation. Low toxicity materials, indoor bike stands, and high efficiency appliances contribute to an improved quality of life for tenants.

Challenges and Solutions

Mountco served as general contractor for this community revitalization project. Site conditions presented several design and construction challenges, which Mountco coordinated expertly to keep construction on budget and on schedule. In addition to the dense urban setting, the site’s subsurface environment presented a significant obstacle. Soil contamination resulting from historical site use necessitated the installation of a gravel and piping subsurface depressurization system to dissipate any potential accumulation of fumes from within the building, and major foundation work required 100 piles to support the L-shaped building.

Mountco worked with multiple project stakeholders and complex administrative requirements throughout the process. Through well-established relationships with its own subcontractor trades and integration of qualified local subcontractors into the effort, Mountco was able to quickly respond to design and field changes to stay within budget.

Carmelo Acosta Plaza

Project Description

This multi-family residential project offers 63 affordable housing apartments in an attractive 8-story building. Located in a dense urban residential neighborhood, the project’s many amenities and proximity to shopping and transportation make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.


Throughout the building, Mountco incorporated many features to assist visually impaired and handicapped residents. The project site features at-grade parking, an outdoor terrace area and a playground. The building is block with a brick veneer façade, making it particularly appealing and elegant. Stylized buildings are a signature of Mountco’s work.


Mountco’s commitment to assisting economically challenged areas was evident throughout the construction process. Eager to bring value to the local community, Mountco partnered with the local non-profit organization, Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs, to employ many local workers during construction.

The project site itself posed construction obstacles. The very tight building lot and multiple adjacent structures made equipment and material handling difficult. Extensive coordination was required to allow pre-fabricated concrete floor planking to be maneuvered into place with great precision. The steeply sloping site grade added to the construction and staging challenges, but Mountco’s expert crews skillfully overcame these issues to deliver a successful project.


“When you have such an honest collaboration with project partners as we had with Mountco, everything goes well. Mountco was totally committed to creating housing that residents would be proud to live in.”

Eduardo LaGuerre, Executive Director, Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs (NAICA)

Grace Towers

Project Description

This new construction project continues the renewal of a blighted urban neighborhood by providing 133 affordable housing units in a mid-rise multi-family building. Part of an overall redevelopment plan for Mount Vernon, Grace Towers is convenient to transportation, shopping, schools and parks, making it ideal for young families.


A beautiful 13-story building with two-tone masonry façade, Grace Towers offers 133 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments with purchase options for lower income residents. The building features many conveniences and amenities including on-site covered parking, a spacious lobby with controlled access security system, two community rooms, ample laundry facilities, and an outdoor patio area. Oversized windows bring abundant daylight to each apartment.

Challenges and Solutions

In order to fully develop the large Grace Towers project site, Mountco had to acquire several smaller privately and publicly owned parcels. To clear the site, Mountco removed and disposed of asbestos and lead-based paint as well as existing subsurface oil tanks in the site’s existing dilapidated buildings prior to their demolition. The extremely tight construction site necessitated extensive shoring for excavation, and tower cranes to maneuver the block and plank components into place.

Mountco partnered with two architectural firms, including a well-qualified minority owned architectural firm, to participate in this affordable housing development and paired the firm with Mountco’s more experienced architect to design the project. Financing was complex, nearly two years in the making. Mountco’s excellent track record brought equity investment, tax-exempt bonds, construction loans, and other local and state housing funds to complete the financing. Mountco’s reputation with previous successful development projects in the City of Mount Vernon assured this project would be well received by the community.

Sugar Hill Residences

Project Description

This new 13-story 172,665 sq. ft. structure contains 124 residential units, a daycare center, a museum, offices, rentable commercial space and one level of below-grade parking. The affordable multi-family residences are a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The building incorporates green design principles emphasizing environmentally responsible materials and energy saving technologies to minimize operating and long term costs. The building is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification.


The diverse mix of uses includes outdoor courtyards, terraces and a green roof garden with each of these areas dedicated for use by either the residents or one of the building’s other tenants. The building’s saw-tooth plan is constructed utilizing a reinforced concrete superstructure clad with architectural precast façade panels. The unusually shaped building is located on the ridge of Sugar Hill in Harlem and offers dramatic skyline views from a majority of its residences.

Challenges and Solutions

Mountco was selected as the general contractor for this complex structure following an extended analysis of the project’s design, pricing and scheduling requirements. The site is constrained by being on the corner of a dense urban neighborhood and by having a four level, below grade, NYC subway tunnel bordering one edge of the property. Extensive rock excavation, shoring and underpinning of adjacent existing buildings was also required to accommodate subsurface areas of the new building.

The vetting and selection of experienced and well-established subcontractors and careful planning of the sequences of work by the many different trades were crucial to the efficient integration and steady flow of the construction process. Mountco’s extensive relationships in the industry and their experienced staff of construction professionals were able to move this project from the bidding and contract award phase into the construction phase in a timely and effective manner.