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East Harlem community board approves proposed 68-story rental building

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The next step is to obtain approval from City Council

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A 68-story rental tower by real estate investment firm AvalonBay Communities could soon be on the verge of construction in East Harlem. The proposal has already cleared one hurdle: it has been approved by Manhattan Community Board 11 but there are still some ways to go.

According to The Real Deal, the building will be a mixed-use project that will house three schools and retail space along with a mix of 1,100 affordable and market-rate apartments, all spread across 1.3 million square feet. The site currently houses the School of Cooperative Technical Education, which would be rebuilt as part of the development.

One area of concern for some residents and community board members seems to be the percentage of affordable units that will be set aside. AvalonBay Communities has promised to designate 30 percent of the total units as affordable housing, however, the board wants 50 percent affordability as well as housing for seniors. And as with many new city developments that promise affordable housing, locals are questioning if the below-market rates will be obtainable for them or will only welcome a new crop of neighborhood residents. The board would also like the project to decrease in height, stating that the size could be a cause for concern.

Before the project can proceed, it will need the approval of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. As for now, developers have time to work towards addressing some of the communities’ concerns.