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.