The New York City Housing Authority is considering a plan to build private apartment towers on land inside public housing projects. Some of the new developments are slated for the Douglass Houses, a project made up of 18 buildings housing nearly 5,000 residents that stretches from 100th to 104th street.
Nick Prigo, who co-chairs the community board’s housing committee, found out some details about the plan for the Douglass Houses:
“NYCHA has proposed a new plan to construct approximately 4,000 apartments in 16 new buildings across Manhattan. Four of these 16 buildings are slated to be built at Douglass Houses; two on 102nd Street and Columbus Avenue, and two on 104th Street between Columbus Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue.
In total, these four buildings would include approximately 700 new residential units. All 16 of these proposed buildings would be 80% market-rate and 20% affordable. NYCHA would lease the land to private developers for 99 years and use the revenues to help close budget gaps.”
Prigo tells us he is not sure where exactly the new buildings would be built, but a Daily News story based on a draft of the plan indicated that one building will be placed on top of a parking lot. NYCHA is also apparently considering building on playgrounds and community centers at housing projects (although not necessarily at Douglass). We first wrote about the plans a few weeks ago.
NYCHA would not release any details to us and simply said “we are in the process of engaging residents at each designated site, and we will release the information, shortly. We cannot specify a specific date right now.”
On the Lower East Side, where five housing projects could get new luxury buildings, an opposition movement is already building up steam: “In a community with one of the largest concentrations of NYCHA apartments in the city, the plan that Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls a ‘creative idea’ has ignited the next big battle in the Lower East Side’s long-running war over gentrification,” hyperlocal news site The Lo-Down reported.
On the Upper West Side, there hasn’t been as much of a protest movement yet. But it could be starting.
Madelyn Innocent, a resident at the Douglass Houses, is calling for residents there to get more involved, posting the following note on a message board today:
“Ok you Douglass Residents (not forgetting All NYCHA Residents) it’s time to STAND UP Be apart of what goes on in our Community (Notice the word UNITY in that word) don’t depend on anyone else to do the work for you. We All LIVE HERE. We the Caring Residents of Public Housing have no problem working together. KNOWLEDGE is POWER And there is POWER IN NUMBERS.”
At a Community Board meeting on Tuesday night, activist Batya Lewton said “It is outrageous that they want to take away what little open space that people have in public housing.”
It’s clear that city officials are trying to step gingerly around some of the hot-button issues this plan raises: privatization of public space, crowding out poor people to make room for the rich, adding density to already crowded neighborhoods. NYCHA is focusing on the benefits, including the money the plan could raise for underfunded projects: “This innovative plan to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of value will allow us to re-invest in NYCHA, where we badly need to make up for the devastating decline in Congressional funding. Strategies like this are vital to improving the circumstances of NYCHA’s residents and buildings and ensuring that quality public housing is available to New Yorkers who need it.”
NYCHA had said last year that it would release a request for proposals from developers “early in 2013.” It’s our understanding that no request has been released yet.
Prigo and co-chair Louis Holden-Brown are holding a meeting next Monday at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the plan. It’s at Community Board 7 headquarters on the second floor of 250 West 87th Street. Victor Bach of the Community Service Society is expected to speak.
Photo via danxoneil.
In his entd of term orgy of give aways to developers, Bloomberg has now gotten another partner that plans to destroy green spaces and housing for the working poor to create more luxury projects. Is there no place in NY that is out of the couches of billionaire developers.
thinking like Pedestrians is what makes this lifetime west sider want to move.
As if, Billionares are moving into units next to the projects…
The miniscule rents at the projects don’t come close to the upkeep of the buildings – and they dont even have to pay property taxes.
at the VERY least why not charge more for the parking – they get a spot for around $20 a year.
There is an orgy of giveaways, but it is not for billionaires. The truth is there are special interest groups with a huge sense of entitlement , that is paid for by you and I , the New York taxpayer
who’s kidding whom here? Are people going to pay top dollar to be jammed in to open space that was part of a plan to provide decent housing and park area at below market rate? This is rubbing the noses of low income people in the better grade of housing available to the privileged who can pay market price? Will Lincoln Towers host additional residential buildings? Fair is fair – don’t penalize just one group of NYCHA residents and ignore other developments remain untouched.
the folks in Lincoln towers pay their own way for the upkeep of the place (maybe not the rent controlled folks) , the same cannot be said for NYCHA.
How should the projects be cared for, with what money?
tenants there mostly pay less then $400 a month for 2 and 3 bedrooms plus parking is an extra $20 a year – in Manhattan , no joke – Every other city in the US is tearing down these failures, but one: New York.
They should be torn down, the street grid restored , and replaced by new construction that mixes the incomes and yes include those with subsidies and mixes highrise, midrise, lowrises , parks and NO open air PARKING .
Yes, and the folks at Lincoln towers also get to write off part of their maintenance costs. Nice subsidy.
“All 16 of these proposed buildings would be 80% market-rate and 20% affordable.”
Although I understand the politically-correct processes through which we adopt specific code words to appease sensitive communities, I find it remarkable that a responsible community spokesperson can, with a straight face, draw a clean, clear distinction between “market rate” and “affordable”.
If I remember my fundamental economics, shouldn’t “market rate” by definition *mean* “affordable”??
What the heck is going on here??
Yes. These proposals for building luxury housing on open spaces, etc. in NYCHA houses and the proposal to demolish PS 199 and PS191 to make way for luxury towers (the schools would be part of the condos) are Bloomberg’s parting gifts to his developer friends.
Thanks to the Westsiderag.com for keeping the community informed.
Please, please – if you care about our community, please attend the CB7 meeting on March 11th.
Two quick things. They plan to build these on unsed parts of land such as parking lots. If you qualify for NYHCA housing how can you afford car payments? Shouldn’t that fact cause your rent to be reclac’ed by NYHCA?
Second, by building thses in and around projects the new residents would demand that NYHCA clean up and fix up their properties. This would greatly increase the number of “eyes” on how badly NYCHA runs its buildings and their grounds, not mention what the residents have to put up with just to get simple repairs done.
I am with Robert on this one. When is the city going to wake-up and take a stroll through any one of their NYCHA lots and run the plates on all of the tricked-out SUV’s and pimped-out luxury rides that occupy their lots and have me paying for their housing, education, food and medical costs? 99% of all of this nonsense would stop if a real door-to-door audit were done on these units. All of the loafers would loose their subsidy lifestyles, which, by the way, is taught generation after generation that this is an acceptable way of life by the offenders to their numerous one-parent offsprings. Pay-up or shut-up! NYC should not be looked upon as a way for people to live off the public dole while being afforded everything I work very hard for to provide for my family. I work in NYC but live in NW NJ because housing is too expensive for me in the city. Maybe I should quit my 100,000 a-year job and get in line with all of the loafers in public housing, buy me a nice ride, collect food stamps, medical care, next to nothing in rent and any other stipend I can get away with, and bitch up a storm when an affluent person wants to live near me… how DARE they!
It’s called MIDDLE CLASS you ignorant bastard!! how dare you think that EVERYONE who lives in NYCHA are on welfare and living off your scrub ass taxes. I’ve never been on welfare or section 8 in my life, worked hard for a decent paycheck for 20 damn years to raise my kids. The ONLY reason why I live in NYCHA is because it’s AFFORDABLE!! I make too little to live in a nice home like your selfish ass and make too much to receive welfare (to help with this $900.00 rent!) DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE MAKING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE PRIVELEDGE JACKASS!!
I agree with Geoffrey and Robert – look at the cars in any NYCHA lot, none are old or inexpensive. IF you can afford a new car than you should be living somewhere else. Middle income people cant afford a car how can low income people do it?
lets go over this again…every nyc nycha project HAS parking lots – how do you extremists justify that?
In Manhattan, no where else do you get almost free parking, almost free rent, medical and other govt goodies.
Why do they get a different set of rules then the rest of us? We are busting our ass to work, by no means rich, got rid of the car and street parking, don’t have private park on our buildings land, etc etc.
You could have applied to live there yourself, but you chose not to.
It may be hard to imagine this now but
‘the projects’ were NOT built to warehouse the poor and homeless. They were intended to replace the slums with decent housing for working people. This is why they were built with parking lots, because the PJs were intended to be the entry to the American Dream, and that dream used to include car ownership.
As to auditing the PJs and throwing out the working ones who can afford cars, that has never been the point. The point has always been, especially after the PJs became more and more about the non-working poor, that those non-working folx, especially the children, would benefit by seeing people going to work every day, as an example to be followed.
Think about what would happen if the working families would be ejected from the PJs. They’d be replaced with non-working families, who would be more likely than those they replaced to commit crimes in your nabe.
Did I miss something, or do the tenants of the projects not have access to the same public parks the rest of us market-raters have access to? Why is it a right to have green space in your front/back/side yard when the government is subsidizing where you live and when that is not the norm for the rest of the city? Furthermore, you do not NEED a car to be a functioning member of the NYC working class, so please, do something more useful with the parking lot! Most people I know cannot afford a car in NYC, yet most people I know make too much money to qualify for public housing. There should not be a parking lot on NYCHA property.
@Cato: “market rate” does not mean “affordable”. “Affordable” is usually a relative term. What is affordable to a banker is not affordable to me, and what is affordable to me is not to someone else. The city’s definition of “affordable” is anything but relative, however (strict monetary guidelines are assigned to determine the definition of “affordable”), and at this point it is decidedly below market rate, no matter where in Manhattan the property is located, because the market is crazy. Someone will always pay more to have a piece of Manhattan than what would be considered at all reasonable anywhere else. Market rate means whatever a landlord can get for his property, with no limits. That’s not to say I don’t agree that the market is untenable for the have-nots and have-normal-amounts of the city; I wish that market rate did mean affordable in that someone who would be considered middle class in other parts of the country could actually live in a big enough apartment to raise a family or just live comfortably.
Thanks, Kate. You’ve proved my point. The only way that the words “market rate” and “affordable” *cannot* mean the same thing is through lengthy and convoluted semantical back-bending.
The fact of the matter is that “affordable”, a simple word with an obvious meaning, no longer means “affordable”. Rather, the word has been hijacked as an unfortunate stand-in for “low income” because people with low incomes resent being referred to as “low income”.
market rate does not mean luxury – it means without subsidies.
Affordable DOES mean subsidized by others – taxpayers or the other tenants.
You want to live in Manhattan? great. so do i and many others. Do not expect me or other taxpayers to subsidize you. I want a Ferrari too, I am not asking anyone to help me buy one.
I HAVE ALSO HEARD THAT THERE WILL BE SEPARATE ENTRANCES WITHIN ONE STRUCTURE –ONE INTO MARKET VALUE (TRANSLATE AS RICH) APARTMENTS AND ONE FOR THE AFFORDABLE (TRANSLATE PEOPLE OF COLOR) APARTMENTS. APARTHEID ANYONE?
you an an idiot KD spreading lies.
have you been to an 80/20 building?
BTW…2 entrances means 2 sets of elevators , common area and stairs, if you knew anything you know that you cannot waste additional space …