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Lower East Side Board Joins the Anti-Poor Door Movement

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A poor door war is going down in the Lower East Side. Neighbors spoke out against income-divided buildings at a meeting last June and now the community board is putting ink behind the sentiment. Over the summer, a general debate over separate entrances for affordable and market rate tenants spiraled out of the Upper West Side, further provoking CB3 members to take part in the anti-poor door movement. "The laws that are set up do not reflect what we want as a neighborhood," said board member MyPhuong Chung. "They're not conducive to creative the kind of world we want to live in." The impetus for the board's decision to make a statement is Extell's proposed development on Cherry Street and South Street, which would have separate market rate and affordable buildings.

Extell—Gary Barnett and company really love poor doors—plans to build a 68-story, 790 market-rate unit tower at 227 Cherry Street (addressed at 250 South Street) and a smaller 13-story, 205-unit affordable building. The larger building, to be designed by Adamson Associates, is expected to have outlandish amenities such as a bowling alley and a Turkish Bath, while the same can't be expected for the affordable priced building.

[via Bowery Boogie]

Representatives with Extell were in the house and presented a one page defense of the separated buildings. These were the reasons:

· Combining the buildings would delay overall construction and "add a significant premium on the structure."

· Financing doesn't come easy for combined rental/condo developments and "buyers are hesitant to purchase in these types of projects."

· Separate buildings allow Extell to hire a management company that specializes in affordable housing to manage the affordable housing.

The statement added, "Extell is committed to helping in (the city's effort to build affordable housing) but can only do so where it can make a reasonable return on its investment."

A couple of board members departed from their peers at times. "Two hundred and five units sounds like a lot of affordable housing to me," said one member, afraid Extell will bail if it can't do what it wants.

But the peers expressed certainty that Extell would not flee the neighborhood if all its desires weren't met. The main idea: Extell is only building affordable housing for the bonus that allows them to build more market rate units. "We should collectively put something on paper and also let our local elected officials know we don't agree with them getting all these subsidies," said board member Enrique Cruz.

The committee voted on a resolution proposing to prohibit new developments that would have segregated doors or entrances. Of the dozen members, one person voted opposite and another abstained.

If Extell can't build its affordable housing separately, the Lower East Side might at least get a new plaza. Noted in the statement, "should Extell not be afforded the ability to build two separate buildings, it will consider the plaza bonus option."
· All 227 Cherry Street coverage [Curbed]
· Upper West Side Board Is Crafting an Anti-Poor Door Proposal [Curbed]

250 South Street

227 Cherry Street, Manhattan, NY 10002