Applications recently closed for the 22 affordable apartments at Tribeca rental 460 Washington Street, and a piece in the Wall Street Journal highlights the dichotomy that is often found in these mixed-income developments: the building's affordable units start at $800, while the market-rate apartments will rent for as much as $50,000. (Yes, $50,000.)
The project, developed by Related, is one of many that benefits from the city's 421-a tax abatement program, which offers property tax breaks to developers who provide a certain percentage of affordable housing in new buildings. At 460 Washington, there are 106 market-rate units compared to 22 affordable, which is just about in line with the 80/20 designation needed for a building to be considered "affordable." According to the Journal, the building will receive a tax abatement of about $16.7 million over 20 years, or $837,000 per year. While this obviously benefits the developers, critics of the program are less enthused. Benjamin Dulchin, executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, told the Journal, "The 421-a program is an extremely inefficient use of taxpayer resources, and this building is another depressing example of that."
What's especially striking is that the building will, according to the Journal, have "some of the most expensive and least expensive new rentals in Manhattan." The affordable units range from $800 for a studio to $1,041 for a two-bedroom; conversely, the rent for a market-rate two bedroom will begin at $9,995 and only rise from there, with five-bedroom units going for as much as $50,000. (This is New York in 2015, apparently.) At those prices, the units could be asking an average of $100 per square foot per month, which would make it among the most expensive rentals in the city.
The building also, predictably, has plenty of luxe amenities, including a library, lounge, and an outdoor space, but earlier reports have suggested that the affordable residents may have to pay an additional fee to access those. (It's no "poor door" but there's still something weird about that.)
· In Tribeca Project, the Power of Tax Breaks [WSJ]
· Live in a Luxe Tribeca Building For As Little As $800/Month [Curbed]
· All 460 Washington Coverage [Curbed]