Former Hotel is One Step Closer to Becoming Senior-Friendly Affordable Housing Using ‘Fully Electric’ Energy

A developer has passed a key hurdle to building 77 new units of affordable housing at the former Park 79 Hotel, obtaining financing that will allow the building to be gut-renovated.

The building at 117 West 79th Street had been cited by the city for allegedly operating as an illegal hotel. But it was sold in 2018 to Fairstead, a developer and real estate investor that says it’s aim is to be socially responsible. Fairstead partnered with the nonprofit Project Find to turn the building into affordable housing for seniors, a development first revealed by West Side Rag last year.

“This will be permanent housing for independent seniors, with two full-time activity/resident coordinators and a full-time, on-site superintendent,” wrote David Gillcrist, Executive Director of Project FIND, in a statement to the local block association last year. “The majority of the units will be reserved for what’s called a ‘community preference,’ which means that the seniors eligible to move in must already live in the area.”

Residents nearby had been concerned it would become a homeless shelter — right now, the conversion of another nearby hotel into a shelter has become extremely controversial.

Throughout the city, there is a shortage of affordable housing for seniors.

The developer is looking to make the building environmentally friendly, according to NY YIMBY.

“Fairstead has selected CTA Architects to oversee gut renovation of the property, to deliver a fully electric building that does not rely on the use of fossil fuels to heat or power the property. Other sustainable retrofits include energy-efficient lighting and kitchen appliances and high-quality ventilation. The renovation will also include the addition of meeting rooms, a communal kitchen, and a community space with indoor and outdoor areas.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Js says:

      Presumably handicapped accessible and ADA compliant?

      Affordable housing for the elderly is desperately needed.

    2. Susan says:

      Would make an excellent homeless shelter. Make it happen!

      • Js says:

        Susan,
        There is a sizable number of low income elderly in NYC, including some without family. Some have or are in danger of losing housing due to rent increases, especially in gentrified areas. They will become homeless without housing.

      • Anna says:

        Susan,
        What do you have against housing for fixed income seniors in the neighborhood?
        It’s not like there’s an abundance of affordable housing for seniors here.

    3. Franklin Rodriguez says:

      I’m a Retired Fire Safety Director n a Senior Citizen. I’m interested if this turns into a Senior Housing

    4. Judy Harris says:

      Not too senior friendly with those steps to get inside.

      • ADA says:

        Not at all… They may have to do without the steps. Make a concrete ramp at the front side of the building going to the right coming out of the building. Even that ramp will be pretty steep to walk up… hmmmmmm. But yes those steps would have to go.

        • your_neighbor says:

          Any major renovation needs to have ADA compliance so rest assured it will either have an electric wheelchair lift to get up and down the stairs or provide a ramp.
          Requirements for a ramp are 1 inch of rise per foot so if those stairs are 36 inches from bottom to top they will need to install a 36 foot ramp. Seems do-able.

    5. J says:

      “Affordable”–what does that mean in this case? Affordable to whom–and at what expense? Would like to see some stats about the projected cost to residents.

      • EBPUWS says:

        Project Find is a commendable organization with a long track record of providing housing for seniors, although they only operate a few buildings. http://www.projectfind.org/housing. (I have first-hand knowledge because my mother-in-law was fortunate enough to live in one of their buildings for some years.) The current rental rates are still well below market rates and they provide very decent housing for fixed lower middle income seniors that is not available elsewhere. They also used to accept Section 8 vouchers, though I’m not sure how available that program is in NY these days. They only operate a few buildings, and just FYI re: homeless concerns, one of their buildings does in fact have a lower income cap, and 60% of the units in that building are reserved for formerly homeless persons.

    6. ST says:

      Excellent news. A much-needed housing option for an often overlooked segment of the population. Equally notable, local residents will benefit. Given the planning involved with this building and apartments, issues related to potential health issues and possible disabilities will surely be addressed as well.

    7. Ann miller says:

      Is there presently a waiting list that one can apply to?

    8. Tim says:

      FYI – “fully electric” does not equal “green” or carbon-free. 70% of US electricity is generated by coal and natural gas. Just because your building or car is electric doesn’t mean you’re not generating CO2. You still are.

    9. Kate says:

      Please learn difference between its and it’s

      • TruthSayer says:

        You must be a real hoot at cocktail parties…

        • Ye Olde Englifhe Teachere says:

          But understanding the difference between IT’S/ITS is just as important as understanding:
          THEIR/THEY’RE/THERE
          YOUR/YOU’RE
          WHOSE/WHO’S
          WE’RE/WEAR
          TO/TOO/TWO etc.
          Hmmm…could this be why I never get invited to cocktail party’s…parteas…parties….

    10. Ruby in Manhattan says:

      Excellent news, we need to find a way for older people to remain in their neighborhood near friends & favorite resources if they can no longer stay in their own homes. Could be any one of us someday.

    11. Crystal says:

      Define Affordable!

    12. Elder says:

      Usually these residents are available through a lottery system. It would be wonderful if current long term residents Senior residents of the UWS could be given priority.

    13. Susan Morton says:

      Curious to know, as a senior, how does one apply for an apt. in this bldg? Is it City-run? Is there an application process, together with income restrictions or location preferences — I currently live on UWS 20 blocks north— is that considered within “community preference” parameters? More info? Where do we get it?

    14. Judith says:

      It’s good that there will be more sc affordable housing, but it’s odd that the building has steps leading up to it, when older people have difficulty climbing steps!

    15. Citygirl says:

      I believe this is a deceptive way of bringing in another homeless shelter. Be very careful what you are supporting. Affordable Housing for seniors? I don’t think so.

    16. Ann O'Shea says:

      sounds lovely and way overdue. When do they expect to open?

      • Ann, I think we should put together a welcome baskets for each of the new senior arrivals and perhaps we can get some of the local stores to chip in? I am sure the 79th St., Block Association may have suggestions.
        How about we a wish list we can put together for the our new senior citizens of W. 79th St. that are moving in?