THE BRONX - The city is trying to lure and keep top teaching talent in the Bronx with the construction of affordable housing.

City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. is purchasing more than $28 million in bonds on behalf of the Teachers' Retirement System. The money will go toward the finance of housing for teachers.

"If we are to attract and retain teachers ... then we must be able to create an environment where young members of that profession have reason to hope that they can succeed and ... raise a family in our city," Thompson said.

United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten backs the project, which builds on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempts. Last year, the mayor started a program that gives housing subsidies to teachers.

The city plans to build more than 200 units in an abandoned building at 163rd Street and 3rd Avenue. Construction is slated to begin in a month and is expected to be completed in two years.