The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, held an official dedication, yesterday, at its New York City affordable housing residence, The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence (475 West 57th Street), located at 57th and 10th Avenue. Originally opened in 1996 as The Aurora, the thirty-story high rise condominium was converted nineteen years ago into 178 shared residential units of supportive housing that has provided a home for special low-income groups including seniors, working professionals in performing arts and entertainment and people living with HIV/AIDS. The dedication mark’s the building’s new name in honor of musician, entertainer and philanthropist Dorothy Ross Friedman thanks to a gift from the Dr. Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation.
In addition to support from The Friedman Foundation, further support was received from Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane, six time Tony Award-winning producers of shows like An American in Paris and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder as well as productions opening this fall on Broadway including China Doll, On Your Feet!, and Sylvia. Mr. Lane is also the author of the book Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way. The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence lobby will be dedicated in their honor.
“The diversity of our residents and New York City’s arts community are a big part of what makes our city great,” said Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell. “Hundreds of working professionals, including those in our entertainment and performing arts community, as well as seniors and those living with HIV/AIDS who might otherwise be priced out, have called The Dorothy Ross Friedman home over the years,” he added.
Shubert Organization President Robert Wankel, who leads The Fund’s housing efforts, added that “Support from the Dr. Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation, and Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane, was invaluable in allowing us to upgrade our infrastructure, ensuring the building remains a safe and comfortable home for our residents.”
On-site medical services at The Dorothy Ross Friedman are available to all residents and to those who work in performing arts and entertainment, through The Fund’s Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, located on the fourth floor. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS sponsored the second floor community center named for the great actress, Colleen Dewhurst, and the Rooftop Garden was made possible by the generosity of the Estate of Jacqueline Brookes. Starbucks recently signed a long-term lease for the ground floor.
The Actors Fund developed the supportive housing project, the first of its kind in the country, in partnership with The Related Companies, L.P. Financed through the sale of low-income housing tax credits and a fundraising campaign led by Hal Prince, director of such shows as The Phantom of the Opera and Show Boat. Related pioneered the concept of converting failed market rate properties, produced as the result of an over-heated real estate market in the late 1980s, into quality supportive housing in the 1990s. The building’s ownership reverted to The Actors Fund in 2011.
Special features of The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence include: four apartments per floor, parquet floors, large sliding windows, a washer and dryer in each apartment, spacious closets, individual room heating, individual air conditioning units, bathrooms in black and white marble, dishwasher, ceramic kitchen tile and white Eurostyle cabinets. Many apartments have spectacular views and terraces. Residents have private bedrooms and share a living room and kitchen with one or two people. Some apartments have a shared bathroom, while others have private baths. In addition to shared apartments, there are 27 one-bedroom units which are prioritized to people with specialized medical needs.
Eligibility for the building is based on federal guidelines under the Internal Revenue Service Federal Tax Credit Program. To be eligible, applicants must have an income of 60% or less of the area's median income. To apply to The Dorothy Ross Friedman Residence, an applicant’s annual income may not exceed $36,300 and should not be less than $17,000.
For more information on The Actors Fund’s housing services, visit www.actorsfund.org/Housing.