A lottery for 87 affordable housing units has opened at the two 15-story apartment buildings next to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The apartment buildings at 400 West 113th street were controversial because they’re so close to the cathedral, and obscure some views of the facade.

The two buildings, known as Enclave at the Cathedral, started leasing their 430 apartments last month; market-rate two-bedrooms started at $4,215. But the affordable apartments, restricted to people with more moderate incomes, rent for less.

The income restrictions and rents are shown below.


People who live in Community Board 9 get preference for half the units, and city employees get preference for 5%. The development got 421-a tax breaks in return for setting aside affordable units.

Learn how to apply here.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 43 comments | permalink
    1. zeus says:

      Ugly is the word.

      To close one side of this amazing old church with such ugliness is a crime.
      How could this pass whatever board approved it is beyond the valley of the dolls.

    2. Sherman says:

      This is a brand new luxury building in a good part of town.

      How is $4,215 “market rate” for a two bedroom?

      This sounds ridiculously low.

    3. Rachel G says:

      I 100% Agree Zeus. Horrible.

    4. Ground Control says:

      This has the distinction of being without doubt the most hideous development in this city. The members of St. John the Divine who sold this property to this group should be removed from the church. There is nothing one cannot buy with money in New York, and no one who cannot be bought. An absolute disgrace to have built this ugly structure robbing the public of the site of the magnificent windows of the church. Another transfer of public property for private profit. A full frontal assault on this cathedral which is ruined for eternity.

    5. Richard says:

      I absolutely agree. It is an utter disgrace to have such a large apartment complex right next to one of the architectural icons of NYC.
      One more nail in the coffin of NYC landscape.

    6. Gail Miller says:

      St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the United States and the fourth largest in the world, after Vatican City, Aparecida Brazil, and Seville Spain. It’s a sign of our society’s decline, that a view of its magnificence will be obscured in this way.

    7. Pedestrian says:

      One can only wonder why the Church allowed this ugly insult to be built….oh money!

      The awful things that are being done in the name of affordable housing. Is it really impossible to build beautiful housing for people of limited means? No but the arrogance of architects and the greed of owners doesn’t consider the quality of life of the residents or neighbors of their appalling structures. And this thing was build, in part, with taxpayer money!

    8. Maria says:

      I have taken the liberty of attaching a link to donate to the cathedral. The real sign of societies decline is that they were forced to enter into a deal to support the preservation of the structure and the rest of the work they do in the community. Please feel free to give so these types of “disgrace”can be avoided in the future.

    9. Elizabeth Kellner says:

      The land is not “public”. It is owned by the church which is not a public institution. The cathedral leased the land (for 99 years). The land was not sold. Efforts to landmark the cathedral have failed in the past over the course of many years. The cathedral contends it needs the stream of rental income to maintain the cathedral and continue it’s mission. This is the same plight many smaller churches face with huge declines in church membership, and financial contributions. I hate these buildings. The same thing happened when the cathedral leased the land at the corners off 110th and Morningside for the construction of the Avalon several years ago. It’s going to continue to happen, a perfect storm of declining religious commitment and soaring demand for Manhattan real estate.

    10. Jay says:

      I question what all the naysayers would do instead. Are you going to write a $10 million check?

      I don’t like the building anymore than anyone else, but I recognize that the choice was between the cathedral falling more into disrepair or this. I’ll take this.

    11. Anna says:

      But did it have to be one of the ugliest buildings erected recently. The architects should be ashamed of themselves.

    12. Stephanie says:

      Hard to argue with the Church’s financial imperatives. Can’t help wonder about design approval — if the Landmark’s Commission had no authority, doesn’t the Community Board have any jurisdiction at all? This building is blatantly inconsistent with its surroundings, compounding the problem. Surely a better design could have been demanded and delivered.

    13. Julie says:

      That’s really high, are you actually in favor of rents that high? Insanity, it’s not Mott Haven but it ain’t SoHo either, that’s way too much money. Disgusting building also, it’s a shame how ruined the campus of the cathedral is now. They ruined one of the best parks/playgrounds uptown to build the first one on 9th avenue now they’ve built this monstrosity. Too bad.

    14. Lrahip says:

      This was not a choice that the Episcopal church had to make. They are the second richest church in this country and if they were so concerned about keeping this grand cathedral, a true gem, intact, this Imperial entity could have reached in it’s very, very deep pockets and done something. There were many, many suggestions as to how to deal with the alleged financial problems (which they never, ever showed anyone). This was a legacy project of the current church administration and it is a stain
      against this grand cathedral and our city forever.

    15. LyndaL says:

      At least the land the Church sold to the south of their property was a lot away from the Cathedral. This building is much closer than the rendering above. ( I go across the street from there at least once a month). There’s no way for trees in between the building and the cathedral. It’s awful, and in poor taste. The “side” of the building, i.e. that frontage on Amsterdam is horrible! The only good thing about this is that some lower income people will have a chance to get some subsidized housing…. maybe some of the workers at the hospital! $4100 for a 2 BR is not “ridiculously low” by any means. 2 BR apts lower down on the UWS (in much better areas, sans doorman) are going for $4800 to most others it would seem outrageous… but in this crazy world of NYC real estate, it is appropriate to that bldg (with many amenities) and that neighborhood where you are living literally across the street from a hospital and emergency room, nursing home and church that has constant tour buses in front of it. You’ll have to walk several blocks to get to any decent shopping, supermarkets, subway, etc.

    16. WombatNYC says:

      Don’t mind subsidized housing but those income limits are ridiculous. They should allow much higher limits on income to include the middle class which is really who needs these spaces- Any family of three makinng less then $48,000 should not be living in the city.. The new limit should be $150k or less

    17. John says:

      I’ve watched these towers rise and find them an acceptable contrast to the Cathedral. The land was going to waste and was unsightly before. This will enable the Cathedral to support many charitable (soup kitchen) and cultural (free concerts) that are always hard to afford. Passing the basket at the Cathedral doesn’t come close to paying for all of these activities. When I see these buildings, I choose to focus on the good they’ll bring. And by the way, many Cathedrals in Europe are cheek-by-jowl with their surroundings. I’m ok with a denser Upper West Side.

    18. Westsidemom says:

      Building or not, it is shocking to see the number of comments of people who live local probably in rent regulated buildings but who are out of touch with how wealthy they are compared to the average mom with children, those over 50 and others who are on the lower side of NYC median income. The comments are frightening and embarrassing to our community whether the building’s architecture is aesthetics are appropriate or not.

    19. Rich says:

      You are way off. Don’t you know “affordable housing” doesn’t mean housing for hard working individuals in the middle class? No. Affordable Housing means housing for people with essentially no income.

      It’s one of those buzz words created in order to hide it’s true meaning. As always, ordinary hard working individuals who work regular jobs are the ones who benefit least from these developments.

    20. Nathan says:

      It looks good and is scaled appropriately. Given what was there before this is no big loss. And, being on the north side of the church, won’t block light coming through the stained glass windows.

      Of course my preference would be for them to finally finish constructing the church, but that’s a pipe dream.

    21. anonymous says:

      51k as the upper limit for a household of 4? So I guess two unemployed people who “earn” welfare income and benefits of about 25k each can live in luxury on the UWS. Meanwhile young professional households (teachers or those with early career jobs in research/marketing/pr/admin/health etc. or those in skilled trades or pretty much anyone who works for the city/MTA) who put in hard work and/or delayed children and earn 40-50k in this city are just SOL. We have priorities in this city for sure.

    22. Eric says:

      Awful! A betrayal of all we hold dear! This would never have happened in the good old days when … wait a minute …

      Guess we have to tear down Saks Fifth Avenue.

    23. Eric says:

      ahem … in your opinion.

    24. UWSParent says:

      The land used for these apartment buildings was previously used as a parking lot and part of it was merely fenced in with an unsightly chain-link fence and sat un-used.

      For all of the people complaining about the “blight “on the landscape I ask: how much you donated to the Cathedral over the years? Do you give your money; your time? Do you pay a small fee when you visit or do you just bypass that option?

      My child attends school there and I can tell you the Cathedral has been in dire financial straits for years and only came to this as decision a last resort. So whine away about the loss of your unfettered views and the ugly buildings but know that now the church has a way to continue the great work it does on behalf of its congregants and the surrounding community.

    25. Christina says:

      @ Sherman…The article said 2 bedrooms STARTED at $4,215.00 market rate!

    26. Christina says:

      You are wrong Rich!!!… there are many middle income affordable housing available..i.e. 61th St and west End Ave. Do your research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    27. Nukleopatra says:

      Could not agree with Rich more. You either are dirt poor and can live in a nice building, or very wealthy. Nothing for even upper middle class income within reach here, in my opinion.

    28. Pedestrian says:

      There is no excuse for the design of the building and its placement. Flippant comments about making a contribution doesn’t excuse bad judgement!

    29. K says:

      I couldn’t agree more. There is a whole market of people not receiving any help and are unable to live on the income they earn. This includes NYC and the suburbs surrounding.

    30. Morninngside says:

      The lot was the lot. Where else should the building have gone? And I don’t think the comments about donations are flippant. It was a financial decision. It’s doubtful a single naysayer here donated a cent to the Cathedral.

    31. Christina says:

      As I have said in another comment to another article… there are many affordable buildings around for the middle class, you just have to research . For example…( and this is JUST one example . There are many buildings for different income levels in the $40,000- $60,000 range as well. Like I said, you need to research)…
      New HOP was created in response to the need of offering affordable housing opportunities to people that make modest, middle-income wages. The below-market mortgages provided to developers for the construction of this type of rental housing are made through the proceeds of taxable bonds as well as though HDC’s corporate reserves which are used to make second mortgages at a 1% interest. Typically, apartments created through New HOP are reserved for households earning a range of $53,800 for an individual, up to $134,000 (175% AMI) for a family of four.

      There are also apts at ( might already be filled):
      West 61st Street, New York, NY
      Building Manager:Knickerbocker Management

      Example of middle income level:

      Apartment size: 1 Bedroom
      Household size: 1 person
      Monthly rent: $1,995.00
      Income Range: $67,625- $81,840

    32. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      I am repelled by the concept of developers receiving tax breaks to create below-market set asides for people who fall in these income bands. $867/month for a studio in Manhattan? Why are taxpayers subsidizing this nonsense?

    33. Liz says:

      I was, note I said was a member of the congregation at the Cathedral. I left and joined another church back when I was booed and shouted down for opposing the first of the apt. buildings (the ones on the Morningside Heights side).

      I was told that the diocese of New York was in desparate straights and had no other choice to give up that property. If so, then the Cathedral would not be properly maintained and the Church might have to be closed. I was also told that the Morningside Heights deal was a one shot deal.
      Once the Cathedral got the income from those two apt. buildings, it would be self sustaining.

      Obviously, that was a lie. Back in the early 2000’s the Cathedral created a clerical position for someone known as the Dean of the Cathedral. The role of the “Dean” was to function as the Chief Operating Officer for the diocese of New York.

      The Dean was responsible for finding new ways to fund the operations of the Cathedral.
      His only answer was to sell off or lease property that belonged to the Cathedral. Not very imaginative or creative — right?

      It was interesting to see the Community come together — residents of Morningside Heights,
      local politicians, students and faculty at Columbia, etc. — to oppose building the new apt. complex on 113th St.

      This building is an atrocity. It’s a disgrace for it to be built so close to the Cathedral. I hate going up there. Every time I do I cry.

      Would you put an apt. building next to Notre Dame? I think not.

    34. Elizabeth M says:

      Anonymous, you are way off. I hate to tell you but welfare recipients don’t get 25K a year. It’s much closer to approximately 7K. You think that’s a big windfall? So someone on welfare would not even qualify for those apartments. They want to see proof of income and also do a credit check. People on welfare don’t have good credit ratings and usually don’t even have a bank account. So don’t worry about them getting one of those apartments and living in luxury on less than $8,000/year.

    35. Ground Control says:

      Agree Liz. I’m sure there is plenty here that doesn’t meet the eye. This was once a great Cathedral. It’s pathetic what has happened here. And for those who scold, that the Cathedral was not supported, I’m not buying it. In a range of possibilities, this is what was chosen?? Please. This is New York. There are mountains of money here. Clearly there was a failure of imagination. This has ruined the Cathedral and left a blight on the community.

    36. Jay says:

      There are apartments within 50 feet of the north side of Notre Dame. Just about the same distance as there is at St John the Divine.

      I think they are doing the best with a bad situation and it’s not unique to St. John the Divine. Most reasonable people probably feel the same.

      Again, where is the money going to come from to pay for the cathedral from falling apart (more than it is now)? What funding sources are you suggesting that would provide as much money as the apartments?

    37. cs says:

      As Liz and some others have commented, there were other options but the diocese did not even bother. In fact, there was never any attempt to message “donate or else.” The real estate deal was a fait accompli by those who wished it. Lots of information about the dealings that are not known to the public.

      Moreover there was not even any attempt to ensure that the apartment buildings were designed to be contextual, to fit in. (Ironically, the architect for the new apartment building took his kids out of the Cathedral School because they were not happy there.)

      BTW St. Bart’s on Park Avenue had similar issues a while back. They decided against selling off the immediate land. St. Bart’s did open up a restaurant.

      Many boards of not-for-profits (the NYPL as one notable example) are populated by those in the real estate industry and they are definitely looking out for big real estate “opportunities.”

      IMO the residential buildings are a complete disgrace. Unbelievable that in a city of 8 million people, a wealthy city, that this has happened. Nothing is sacred – just the wealth of big real estate.

    38. Jay says:

      “there were other options but the diocese did not even bother.”

      Ok… what were the other options that would have brought in as much money? Sell naming rights? Call it St. John the Divine brought to you by Bud Light?

      Be specific.

    39. fusin says:

      I agree. the limits are set so low that these units are almost impossible to rent except to people who are unemployed but supported by family wealth — how a city employee could meet these limits baffles me!
      And yet the building gets a huge tax break regardless if the units are filled. And they likely do not want to fill the units as the tax credit alone is worth the vacant units.

    40. Sean says:

      Such drama over nothing.

    41. Christina says:

      Fusin… at all apt.s are for very low income people! Not by a long shot! Research and you’ll find otherwise! See my comment above regarding New HOP.

    42. John says:

      These apartments will enable the Cathedral to continue with its mission (soup kitchen in the basement, outreach to the community, cultural events) that help the neighborhood. The Cathedral could have built them MUCH larger, but deferred. You look at cathedrals around Europe and many of them are cheek-by-jowl with their neighborhoods. This was unused land that was an eyesore. They’re beautiful!

    43. lisa says:

      The Cathedral, like other churches, other religious entities and not-for-profits benefited from not paying taxes. That means that we, the public/taxpayers, essentially “cover” the Cathedral’s not-for-profit status.

      But somehow, when it came time to “sell” for commercial profit, the Cathedral had no responsibility to the public to retain the historical and architectural integrity of a unique space that should have been landmarked and protected years ago.