DEVELOPMENT PLANS REVEALED FOR DOUGLASS HOUSES; FIGHT CONTINUES


The plan, via NYCHA. Click to enlarge.

The New York City Housing Authority has released details of its plan to lease three parcels of land inside the Frederick Douglass housing project to private developers. Local lawmakers and residents are trying to slow the project down, but it’s clear that the mayor is pushing for requests for proposals to go out well before his term ends.

The plan is expected to add 794 units to the project, 80% of them market-rate and 20% affordable (to qualify, a family of 4 would have to make less than $51,540). The lease payments from developers would go to fixing up the buildings, which NYCHA says will need $192 million worth of capital improvements in the next five years. Among the items that the money could buy: a generator to power elevators that constantly break down.

“This plan is about making public housing available for many generations to come,” said Margarita Lopez, a NYCHA board member and former City Council member, according to the Columbia Spectator. “We need one thing for the preservation: revenue.”

The Daily News, however, reported last year that NYCHA is so mismanaged that it has failed to spend almost $1 billion in federal funding. The newspaper reported recently that senators and federal officials are starting to question why they should keep giving NYCHA money.

The buildings would go on top of current parking lots (with 198 spots) and a resident garden. New parking spots would be found elsewhere for NYCHA residents who have parking permits, the agency says.

Details of the plan below, and at this site.

Manhattan Avenue Site

  • Site Area: 19,000 SF (Approximate)
  • New Construction: 340,000 SF of Residential Floor Area (Approximate)

West 104th Street Site

  • Site Area: 16,000 SF (Approximate)
  • New Construction: 175,000 SF of Residential Floor Area (Approximate)

West 100th Street Site

  • Site Area: 18,750 SF (Approximate)
  • New Construction: 220,000 SF of Residential Floor Area (Approximate)

NYCHA met with residents last week, but the meeting devolved into shouting matches. The room where it was held was too small, and dozens of people were left outside.  Some people started banging on the door, causing police to show up.

Lopez went through a Powerpoint presentation that lasted so long that Community Board member Nick Prigo said they appeared to be “filibustering” to limit public comment. “It wasn’t until the 40 minute mark that they even started to introduce the Land Lease proposal. This at a meeting devoted solely to this topic.”

“Douglass residents, this presentation is a ploy to bore you to death, so don’t leave,” one resident yelled out, according to DNAinfo.

The Columbia Spectator reported that one resident questioned whether people would pay top dollar to live in the projects.

Philip Larrier, 40, who has lived in the houses his whole life, said the project didn’t make sense.

“Have you seen the parking lots? They are jammed in,” in between the buildings, he said. “Who wants to pay top dollar to live between the projects?”

An RFP is expected to go out next month to developers, although City Council members and residents are urging the city to delay the process.

Read more of our coverage here.

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. Brent says:

      “Philip Larrier, 40, who has lived in the houses his whole life, said the project didn’t make sense”

      What doesn’t make sense is that someone has lived their entire life in government subsidized housing?? What do these people teach their children?

      • Caitlin says:

        Thank you. Shouldn’t these be temporary until people to support themselves?

        • Paul says:

          You are both bigoted morons.

          How on earth do you suppose someone making minimum wage, with no upward mobility, to ever afford anything but rent subsidized housing in Manhattan?????

          Where did you get in your thick heads that public housing is temporary??? It’s a home for people that otherwise would be homeless, due to rents and housing prices far beyond the reach of even the middle class.

          • rand says:

            Who is forcing people to live in uber-pricey Manhattan? You left-wing fascist idiots are crushing the hardworking, job-creating taxpayers of this city while willfully turning NYC into Greece. If you can’t afford to live here move to the 95% of this country that’s substantially cheaper.

            • westsideMoms says:

              Thank you Rand.

              Just look at the photo.

              A tiny portion of the property is affected.

              It is the parking lots + 1 play area (leaving 4 play areas + all the other open space). A small sacrifice for all those new apts (the market raters will not be rich billionares, just renters without subsidies) + 20% subsidized units.

              FYI, this was done last year at 24th and 10th avenue (nycha land), after some grumblings about the lost parking , no further issue.

            • Paul says:

              Wow, good for you. You learned the word fascist from Glen Beck, and Fox News told you that our Obama is turning us into “Greece.” Congratulations.

              If all the people who could afford to live here (without subsidies) left, NYC would collapse faster than it takes you to turn on Rush Limbaugh every morning. A majority the people living in public housing, or in section 8 apartments, or rent controlled/stabalized apartments, are the ones doing most of what this city thrives off of (working in stores as clerks, janitors, security guards, restaurants, construction, etc., etc., etc.) If they all left to the 95% of the rest of the country as you say, this city would crumble.

              But I don’t expect an Ayn Rand loving douchebag like you to understand basic economics. Keep watching your Fox News, you idiot.

          • gobot says:

            You are both bigoted morons. – WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT RACE
            How on earth do you suppose someone making minimum wage, with no upward mobility, to ever afford anything but rent subsidized housing in Manhattan????? – HOW IS A MANHATTAN HOME A RIGHT, FOR ANYONE?
            Where did you get in your thick heads that public housing is temporary??? – IT WAS WHEN BUILT A TEMPORARY MEASURE, NOT SOMETHING TO PASS DOWN FROM GENERATION, YOU YOURSELF TALK OF UPWARD MOBILITY. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT. It’s a home for people that otherwise would be homeless, due to rents and housing prices far beyond the reach of even the middle class. -REALLY? DO YOU REALLY THINK THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE IS HOMELESSNESS? NYC HAS 4 OTHER MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE BOROS , NOT MENTION NJ AND THE UNITED STATES. THESE FOLKS HAVE CARS, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE HOMELESS IF WE ASK THAT THEIR RENT COVERS THE EXPENSES TO MAINTAIN AND RUN THE PROPERTY.
            LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO.

        • gobot says:

          Yes, the was the original mandate.

          • Paul says:

            Do you have a source for this mandate? Or perhaps refer to the part of the housing statute that states this mandate?
            Bigot.

          • Paul says:

            I didn’t think so, idiot.

            • gobot says:

              again, who is more intolerant then a lefty put into a corner.

              Paul, answer the question – How do you propose to pay for the much needed repairs to the projects?

              while you are at it, how do you justify almost free parking on the upper west side ? instead of additional housing?

          • Paul says:

            By the way, I support the plan. I think it is a good way to help raise money that NYCHA needs so badly.

            But I’m simply pointing out that you are a bogoted Fox News idiot.

            By the way, bigotry does not have to do with race all the same. It was bigoted of you to assume that it does. Years ago, the projects were filled with white people, of Irish and Italian ancestry mostly. you know, the people who BUILT NYC (subways, infastructure, etc.)

            You’re simply a moron.

    2. the government will also subsidize the developerz of theze new bldgz. so whatz wrong with the government subsidizing thoze less 4tunate?

      • Cato says:

        Maybe the government could even provide a zpell checker.

      • Gobot says:

        That is Z the problem…..

        The government needs to get out of the way of real estate development.
        Yes, we need zoning laws and building codes, but in New York they are to such an extreme that the cost to build and maintain here is double and triple the national average. This directly correlates in to higher housing costs for all. and demands for MORE subsidies, when in reality we need a complete overhall of the system.

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      government subsidized housing!!! what an outrage!!!

      in fact, almost all housing on the island of Manhattan has been subsidized, directly or indirectly, either during the construction process and/or afterwards. As have an awful lot of office buildings!!

      this is long term affordable housing. it is not “temporary” housing. it is Mr. Larrier’s home and he deserves to be able to stay in his home without some arrogant yuppie saying things like “what do THESE PEOPLE teach their children.”

      they teach their children to take care of their homes, and to look out for their neighbors, and to show respect for everyone, regardless of income or type of housing you live in.

      • gobot says:

        oh Bruce , the lefty spirit of the west side lives on in you.

        Now please try and stop being a limo liberal and see the realty.

        BTW. is there any talk of removing even ONE (1) unit of housing here? NO.

        really ? you are condemning condo owner who invest their life savings in a community to a group that pays almost nothing and whose tiny rents to do come even close to maintaining the properties?

        I still would love to hear your far left defense of outdoor parking in Manhattan (Manhatttan!) for $60-$75 per year., which is where the housing will be built.

        What about the additional affordable housing to be added in the 20%?

    4. Bruce Bernstein says:

      oh, one more point: between public housing tenants and yuppie condo owners, guess which group is MORE STABLE in the neighborhood? answer: public housing tenants. My building went condo about 6 years ago and there is a constant turnover among the ownership class, as well as a high degree of absentee ownership, hoteling of condos, etc.

      but the rent stabilized tenants who remain are incredibly stable. just like public housing tenants, at least in this neighborhood.

      stability is a PUBLIC GOOD and adds to the social fabric of the neighborhood.

      take a walk over to Douglass Homes and meet some of the tenants some time.

      • Ben says:

        Hear, hear.

      • Beth says:

        Rent-stabilized tenants are a stable group, because they have no where to go. Where else are they going to pay significantly below market value for an apartment?

        That said, it’s not all good, because someone is subsidizing these rents. It’s either the condo/co-op owners or the tenants in unregulated apartments. I for one don’t appreciate mortgaging my future for someone else’s present. Not to mention how annoying it is that there are at least 5 couples in our building in rent-stabilized apartments who have weekend homes.

        • gobot says:

          Thank you for pointed that out.

          How is that good policy for the city to allow rent stabilzed tenants to have summer country homes – outside of the city?

          I know a few artists who are protected by the loft law – IMD – who pay less then 1000 a month for HUGE space in soho AND have beach houses in East Hampton. How is that fair? and yes, others have to subsidize them – including the store tenants, and the buildings are assessed for less, so the rest of us pay higher taxes to make up for it.

          But the protected tenants and politicians who pander to them are in cahoots to keep this ridiculous system in place.

          • Beth says:

            True. Rent stabilization is an entitlement, and I wish people would be honest and acknowledge it as such.

    5. nycissues says:

      This proposal is probably the best solution for the budget shortfall. It doesn’t require unreliable public funding. For 60 years, the community has been in need of financial investment ever since public housing was built during the urban renewal projects of the 1950’s. Without government subsidies, the rents collected cannot sustain Douglass Houses. The entire community will be affected and must also be participants in the design and use of the proposed buildings. NYCHA has proven it doesn’t have the skills or funds private developers have that can make this project profitable and sustainable. The construction of these buildings can create jobs at all levels of the economy. Local merchants would greatly benefit from the infusion of additional consumers. Beware of aspiring politicians looking to get votes and not being able to deliver if and when they get elected. We have a problem that needs to be solved. Managed properly, this can be a win/win proposition.

    6. Pedestrian says:

      Was NYCHA filler busting to avoid answering questions? Of course, that way you can say you had a public meeting but avoid that nasty side effect, answering uncomfortable questions from the public.

      Subsidies and developers: mayor Bloomberg is rushing thes project through because he has promises to keep, not to the citizens of NYC but to his billionaire developer friends. Actual NYC don’t matter anymore. All that matters is how much money developers can make tax free.
      Subsidized housing? Did you know that billionaires paying over 100million for their units are enjoying tax breaks created to support “affordable” housing? That is the way in which Bloomberg uses affordable housing tax breaks and it looks like Ms. Quinn intends to expand and that policy and make sure developers get more tax money while closing schools.

      Making sense: nothing makes sense in NYC when it comes to how developers are coddled and subsidized while working class residents are squeezed and small business are priced out of business. As long as billionaire developers get their cut who cares what happens to neighborhoods and people. They don’t matter. As a result it all makes a lot of dollars and sense for someone, just not the humans who live here.

      • gobot says:

        you are a moron and completely misinformed, or just delusional , the 60s are over lefty. go retire.

      • gobot says:

        what questions are being avoided?

        The questions to the self entitled class that you represent:

        Answer this: there is no federal funds for repairs and maiNtenance , the rents are under $500 per month , parking is $75 a year. WHO IS SUPPOSED TO PAY ?

    7. westSider says:

      Every other city in the United States is demolishing these failed projects and replacing them with mixed use, mixed income, high, mid and low rises buildings that embrace the neighboring community.
      Chicago’s infamous Cabrini Green? Gone.

      All but one.

      New York City.

      Just look at the faux outrage and sense of entitlement in New York ….and we are talking about parking spaces.

    8. Deez says:

      Take a page from Jane Jacobs book ,the Death and Life of Great American Cities, and add some retail space on the first floor of the new buildings. It will add some activity in what is otherwise a dead zone in the heart of my neighborhood.

    9. Batya Lewton says:

      Thank you again for your detailed and excellent coverage of NYCHA attempt to destroy Public Housing. Bloomberg’s parting gift to his developer friends.

    10. Batya Lewton says:

      Once again. Thank you again for your detailed and excellent coverage of NYCHA attempt to destroy Public Housing. Bloomberg’s parting gift to his developer friends.

      • westSider says:

        destroy? he is trying to save it!

        There is no money to fix these crumbling buildings.

        They are asking to build on parking spots AND include MORE subsidized housing.

        ANSWER THE QUESTION YOU SELF ENTITLED BRATS.
        Who should pay ? you and I the nyc overtaxed taxpayer?

    11. westsideMoms says:

      When did NYCHA publc housing become a sacred cow?

      Lincoln Towers, Park West Village – both have had there “light and air’ lost by new developement (on the commercial portions).
      Forgetting for a moment that we all now agree that towers in the park design (all) is bad for urban environments and communities. More density is needed in these developements. Street activity (stores, commerce) is needed.

    12. westSideRRRR says:

      Just walked upper upper Columbus today.

      Wouldnt it be nice to connect the shopping districts north and south of Frederick Douglas Houses with continuous retail along the Avenue? The money from store rents could be used to help maintain the Douglas apartments. Yes, there would be loss of open space, but there appears to alot of it there. and urban streetscapes need a certain amount of density.

      I see that they have built on Columbus at Park West village – While the aritecture is rather bland, the street life is very lively and the stores where busy with people from all walks of life.

    13. dcortex says:

      Proposal:Instead of these Market place Condos, lets build 3 million of Bloomberg’s new breadbox sized apartments with no windows here. Then we can import mainland Chinese workers to use the empty bike lanes (they won’t complain about the new apts.-big to them).

    14. Beverly says:

      Government subsidized housing must be protected and maintained. It is a necessity.