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NYCHA Wants Luxury Apartments On Parking Lots, Playgrounds

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The struggling New York City Housing Authority unveiled a new money-making plan: build 3 million-square-feet of market rate apartments on the parking lots, playgrounds, and community centers of public housing developments. The Daily News reports that NYCHA chose eight developments in popular neighborhoods?the Upper West Side, Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan near City Hall?where they propose to build 4,330 luxury apartments to generate $50 million in lease revenue to pay for repairs to aging buildings and erase a $60 million budget gap.

The new buildings would follow the 80/20 split, with twenty percent of units reserved for families that make less than $50,000 a year. The rest would be market rate, a first for the agency, which has developed middle income buildings on NYCHA property, like the Chelsea Houses where there is an income cap of $167,000/year for families of four. At the Smith Street Houses near City Hall, NYCHA calls for building 1 million-square-feet of new apartments on top of parking lots and baseball diamonds. The tower would face away from the public housing, and it would have its own entrance on Smith Street.

Tenant groups are worried about the dynamic the new luxury housing could create in their neighborhoods, with one person going so far as to call it "a war." Councilwoman Chin said that reserving only 20 percent of the new apartments for affordable is "definitely not enough," but NYCHA maintains that they need to do this to generate as much revenue as possible. The plan already has the mayor's support. A mayoral spokesperson called it an "innovative plan to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of value will allow us to reinvest in NYCHA."
· NYCHA Set to Lease Playgrounds, Community Centers for Luxury High-Rises [NYDN]
· NYCHA coverage [Curbed]
Photo via Alfred E. Smith Houses Facebook