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Collegiate's Affordable Housing Plan Changes, Irking Locals

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As part of its deal with the city that will allow it to build a new school as part of the Riverside South megaproject, the Collegiate School, the oldest independent school in the United States, agreed to fund the building of 55 units of affordable housing within the development. But now it has emerged that the way the school plans to honor that commitment is by throwing $50 million to the city and saying: here, you guys build it...somewhere. The school suggested a city-owned site on 108th Street, almost 50 blocks north of Riverside South. Community Board members and local residents are less than pleased with this approach. "[Losing the on-site housing] changes the character of Riverside South. It makes it a less affordable neighborhood," said Community Board 7 board member Jeanette Rausch. Local resident Batya Lewton contended that "moving [the affordable housing] to 108th Street is moving a poor door all the way up to 108th Street." And Robert Espier, another member of the community board, added that, "We know that the cost of construction vacillates so radically. Putting a $50 million price tag on 55 units is just a dream." The school's lawyer argues that Collegiate spent six months searching for a suitable location, but couldn't find one and eventually gave up.
· Collegiate School Shirking Affordable Housing Commitment, Locals Say [DNA]
· Collegiate School coverage [Curbed]
· Riverside South coverage [Curbed]