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City Council Sues to Stop NYCHA Land Leasing Plan

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In an effort to stall the Bloomberg administration's plan to lease public housing land to developers who would build market-rate apartments, City Council and a group of tenants have filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan calling for the city to rescind its request for proposals. The part of the plan that the Council objects to, in the suit, is the part where nobody asked them first, but mostly they're just hoping to kill enough time to stop Bloomberg from formally making any deals with developers, which in turn might kill the whole project. Bloomberg's probable successor, Bill de Blasio, is thought to be less likely to support a plan that gives away public housing land, although he has yet to rule it out. He has, however, promised to "rework the operational approach" at the New York City Housing Authority, and to fire NYCHA Chairman John Rhea.

Developers have until November 18 to submit expressions of interest, and, after that, "the city has the ability to designate a developer and tie the hands of the incoming administration" according to the attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society, which is representing the tenants. In response to the lawsuit, NYCHA released a statement saying, "It's unfortunate that the City Council is attempting to block a proposal that would generate significant revenue for the New York City Housing Authority — money that would go directly into developments and repairs for residents." NYCHA has $6 billion in unmet capital needs.
· City Council Moves to Stall Land Leases at Public Housing [NYT]
· NYCHA coverage [Curbed]
Photo by Andriy Prokopenko