By Bob Tannenhauser
Last week, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine announced a proposal to alleviate the housing shortage throughout Manhattan’s twelve community board districts, including CB7 on the Upper West Side. The full report identified possible locations for over 73,000 new apartment units of which 40% would be affordable.
Only one site was identified on the Upper West Side at 103 W. 108th Street, a parking garage between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. It is estimated that the site could accommodate at least 80 affordable housing units. There is already an affordable housing development on W. 108th Street, which came with a lot of controversy. This would actually be the second phase of that project, sources said. It has already been approved for development by the West Side Federation of Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH).
There are requirements to fulfill before most of the housing Levine identified can become a reality. The Borough President’s Office has mitigated one by reducing the land-use review process to five days from the current thirty days.
However, city, state and federal action will also be required. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will require additional funding to expand its capacity to implement these projects. The federal government will have to lift the city’s funding cap on Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and the city and state will be required to take action to eliminate the legal, regulatory, and land-use obstacles to the conversion of commercial space to residential use. Community Board 7 will also have to weigh in.
Listen to Levine present his proposal below.