Monday, February 4, 2008

Will Southtown Include Affordable Housing?

The question regarding whether Southtown will include affordable housing is one that the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Spitzer Administration has to face head on. To date the marketing of the existing four buildings has certainly been upscale and the prices to back that up. The issue of affordability has again been highlighted by the very public sale of 58 units to NYU on top of past building sales to Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical College. Nothing has been issued to indicate the next five would marketed any differently.

The General Development Plan requires 40% of the planned units offered to be affordable and occupied by low- and middle-income residents.

The question has now been raised in a direct letter, dated January 29, 2008, to DHC Commission Deborah Van Amerongen how the GDP requirement will be met and what the DHCR is doing to ensure it is. The letter is jointly signed by US. Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Asseembly Member Micah Kellner, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Member Jessica Lappin.

The question how will Hudson / Related the developers ensure that they meet the 40% requirement can have long lasting effects. When Northtown Phase 2 was constructed builders set aside, to my knowledge, all of 2 and 4 River Road to meet the affordability percentage requirements they were required to meet. Because these units were separated from the rest of Manhattan Park reports have been that the management and upkeep of these buildings have suffered. Will Hudson / Related do the same? Will the same result occur again.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, pardon the pun, and how the developers respond to the letter from our elected officials. On one hand the State had no trouble taking money for the Southtown development rights but will they now uphold the GDP as law as they are trying to do by keeping the remaining three WIRE buildings, in Mitchell-Lama, as affordable housing.


  1. The other 4 Manhattan Park buildings have middle income apartments. My understanding has always been that RR 2/4 have low income and some parts of 10-40 have middle income apartments. I could be very wrong, though. But I am very sure that the handicapped folks don't pay market prices for their apartments.

  2. Manh Park was an 80/20, as far as I know, and 2-4 River Rd was the 20 portion. No other low-middle income units are in that building.
    why do we need more 'affordable' units when thousands of Mitchell Lama units are available elsewhere in the city and are vacant. Check the vacancy numbers on all ML buildings and see what you get. Co-op City is 'affordable' and has frequent availability. You want more of that? Why?

  3. It is a good question as to why affordable housing is so important? The GDP was done a long time ago and may well need revised. With the growth of the city and the spectacular situation of RI, why should the govt and not the market control the future?

    Everyone wants better shopping and better transportation and they want to live here at below market rates. It just doesn't work that way. Yes that may have been a good idea in the past but as another reader points out, it may be time to just get over this affordable housing idea.

    I work very hard to afford where I live and barring children or accident victims, I don't see why anyone else needs help to live in a wonderful place. There are plenty of other places in NYC to live - at lower rates.


  4. Denise, what you don't understand is that despite having had the benefit of living in apartments subsidized by taxpayers like you, for over 30 years, the people in the WIRE buildings feel that:
    1. you should not be living here (though you should live in New York and continue to pay taxes so *they* can live here)
    2. they should be entitled to take their public housing unit private and make a cool profit (in fact, a lot of them currently illegally sublet or own multiple units)
    3. ask them if they would keep the units 100% affordable (but with all of them asked to move elsewhere and stay within public housing), or have 1/2 the units go market rate and they get to take their units private - and you'll find out how committed they really are to affordable housing
    4. no one has ever forced them to live here, and frankly if they're unhappy with it, they can clear out and let new developers make something of Main Street.

  5. The original WIRE buildings were developed by the state to have a diversity of incomes - not to be low income. That is why Eastwood had 236-mortgage subsidies and the others did not. When Rivercross and I believe also Island House and Westview opened, there were no upper income limits - anybody could move in to any size unit. The developers even combined units to make them more marketable. This canard about illegal sublets and cool profits is just that - wildly overblown and mostly inaccurate. If you ask, the vast majority of tenants and tenant shareholders want to privatize and pay the market level of real estate tax equivalents. They also desperately want to stabilize the physical condition of the buildings. Look into the situation before you mischaracterize people's intentions.

  6. So basically many other WIRE residents don't even pay market costs to upkeep their place (having received subsidies for THIRTY years), and even acknowledge that they didn't have income limits at many points - well it is time for those people to move out and clear out the space for people who actually need affordable housing!!

    No need to give them a one-time bonus on top of years of tax subsidies!!! That isn't the reward for cronyism for all these years (Read Adrienne's platform ticket if you have any question in the last set of elections).