So far, in the New York City Housing Authority’s quest to bring market-rate housing to what it says are underutilized portions of its housing developments, it has announced potential developments on the Upper East Side, Boerum Hill, and the Lower East Side.
Add East Williamsburg to that list: the Wall Street Journal reports that NYCHA is seeking a developer to bring up to 250 apartments—a mix of market-rate and affordable—to what it’s calling an underused portion of the Cooper Park Houses between Morgan and Debevoise Avenue. The new apartment building, which could stand 12 stories (per the WSJ), would rise on a parking lot on the edge of the housing development.
NYCHA says this housing plan is necessary to help bring funds to the ailing agency—Deborah Godard, the executive vice president for capital projects at NYCHA, told the WSJ that the agency has “a $17 billion unmet need, and annual spending of more than $600 million in city and federal funds.” The revenue generated from leasing out the property would go back to NYCHA’s capital plan.
But the plans in other NYC neighborhoods have been met with criticism from both elected officials and neighborhood residents. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the Congresswoman who represents the Upper East Side (where a 50-50 market rate-affordable building is set to rise on a playground at the Holmes Tower housing complex), told the WSJ that adding market-rate housing “creates a system where public-housing developments in affluent areas lose access to the few conveniences they currently have to generate income of which only a fraction is invested in the buildings bearing the burden.”
Earlier this year, NYCHA released an RFP seeking developers to build up to 850 affordable apartment units over four public housing sites.