Wednesday, February 6, 2013

'War' is declared as city plans luxury development in the middle of public housing

Here we go.

The Daily News reports today that the cash-strapped New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is planning on leasing playground and community center space for luxury high-rises

Per the article:

[T]he agency plans to lease out land to private developers who will then build some 3 million square feet of luxury apartments smack in the middle of Manhattan housing projects.

Internal documents obtained by the Daily News show the planned 4,330 apartments in eight developments are all in hot real estate neighborhoods, including the upper East and West Sides, the lower East Side and lower Manhattan.

Of the new units, 20 percent will be set aside as "affordable" — designated for families with net income of $50,000 or less.

But will the richies want to live so close to the poors? Not to worry! Per the article: "The new luxury towers will face away from the old, deteroriating affordable housing."

As the Daily News put it: "The housing authority is planning its very own Tale of Two Cities."

On the Lower East Side, a parking lot at the Baruch Houses will be redeveloped into luxury towers. There are also plans to lease a parking garage at Campos Plaza on Avenue C.

Meanwhile, residents are mobilizing against the plan. The Lo-Down has details from last night's CB3 Land Use Committee meeting, where Smith Houses Tenant President Aixa Torres warned: "This is a travesty," she said. "We are not going to take this… When no one wanted to live here, we stayed… if you want a war, you got a war."

The upside for the NYCHA: They expect to generate $31 million to $46 million in annual lease payments, "all of which will go toward fixing up deteriorating buildings. The agency currently has a backlog of 420,000 repair orders and faces a $60 million budget gap annually," the Daily News reported.


Shawn G. Chittle said...

In the grand history of bad ideas in New York City, this may just top the Robert Moses plan to put a highway through the Village.

The NYCHA has officially lost its mind. Lost. It.

Sh!t My Tenants Say said...

You mean NOT segregate playgrounds? Yea, the kids can play in city parks with other city kids! As for the parking, lol. This is what happens on a highly populated geographically constrained island with artificial restrictions on building rights and a huge chunk of the housing stock unavailable due to another artificial program, Rent Stabilization.... We are left with no other choice than to take away parking spots of housing projects. See what you have done pro-RS People? Where will they park those BMWs?

Robin Milim said...

What are they smoking? I've never heard anything so ridiculous. We need MORE affordable housing so badly, if they can find more space to build...THIS is what they came up with??!! Sickening

Anonymous said...

why should affordable housing be smack dab in close proximity to the central business district. I'm all for affordable housing but it should not supplant local housing for people whose taxes subsidize the affordable housing. Were I a recipient of subsidized housing, I'd stay happy about that and keep my trap shut.

Anonymous said...

The seeds that Koch sowed have come to fruition.
Bloomberg is giddy like a teenage girl oh her date about this.


Anonymous said...

sorry to be a realist
but the fact is the EV is lined with waterfront projects..
this land is super valuable

at some point in the next 25 years these project will be history

CAS said...

I'd like to see the math they used, because these two statements seem inconsistent...

"NYCHA expects to pocket $31 million to $46 million in annual lease payments"

"Developers will get a sweet deal: a 99-year lease with the lease payments to the authority frozen for the first 35 years"

Sounds like they won't pay anything for the first THIRTY-FIVE YEARS of the deal, so NYCHA won't get that additional operating revenue to fill the budget gap until 2048ish?

Will the lease payment amounts be tied to inflation? $40 million in today's dollars is a lot different than $40 million in 2050 dollars.

Por ejemplo, $40 in 1976 would have been equivalent to $156 in 2011. I don't think $40M is going to buy much in 2050.

So the argument that these lease payments are going to be used to improve the quality of the facilities seems unlikely. Maybe once those payments start (in 2048) they might be applied that way, but by that time the annual budget gaps will be significantly larger (4x if you use historic inflation rates as a guide), so those lease payments won't be making much of a dent.

Sorry to be an econ nerd, but the math doesn't make sense to me. Sounds more like smoke and mirrors to distract people from what is probably the first step in displacing altogether the residents from that housing.

Anonymous said...

So, will the kids' play areas in the new luxury high rises face the water so they don't have to stare at the project kids?

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Parking lots can't generate the income needed to fix up the NYHA buildings but rents from market-rate tennants can. And this looks to be adding to the stock of affordable housing, not taking away from it.

shmnyc said...

This move was inevitable, but it is not a fait accompli.

This is the sort of effort worthy of organizing around, but I'd guess a lot of people who oppose 7-Eleven will support this.

blue glass said...

anonymous 11:44 affordable housing should not supplant local housing for people whose taxes subsidize the affordable housing. Were I a recipient of subsidized housing, I'd stay happy about that and keep my trap shut.

would you also keep your mouth shut about your taxes going for subsidies for developers of luxury housing?
and do you think everyone that is against this is a low class user of your taxes? or just low class?

shmnyc said...

Anonymous at 11:29 AM,

Affordable housing is always built in marginal areas. It just so happens that these marginal areas eventually become valuable, and the poor are shuffled somewhere else.

Just this morning I was re-reading David Harvey's "The Right to the City". He describes the same forces at work around the world: the slums of Mumbai, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and

"In New York City, for example, the billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is reshaping the city along lines favourable to developers, Wall Street and transnational capitalist-class elements, and promoting the city as an optimal location for high-value businesses and a fantastic destination for tourists. He is, in effect, turning Manhattan into one vast gated community for the rich."

I wouldn't put responsibility squarely on his shoulders, as this is a global phenomenon, but he's certainly doing his part to move things along.

Anonymous said...

How many Chinese "low income" people live in Baruch houses, work under the table in Chinatown or in the garment district, and live off subsidized housing and god knows how many other state and federal programs?

Anonymous said...

The housing groups in the area such as GOLES and The Cooper Square Committee have already sold us down the river with the SPURA compromise. They are weak and submissive. Don't expect a fight for NYCHA from them. Don't expext anything other than submission from Rosie Mendez, Margaret Chin and Margarita Lopez. Don't expect much from the conservative housing lawyers on CB3 either.

ABCReal said...

Not for nothing. But how can people living off the public subsidizing their housing Manhattan, of all places...have the audacity to try and dictate what NYCHA does with their land in order to make their finances work? If they don't like living next to luxury towers and all the good that will bring to their neighborhoods in terms of increased services and political power, they can move to a slum somewhere else in the city. It's truly unbelievable what people will whine about. Here COMES the neighborhood LES.

Crazy Eddie said...

I guess none of these Bloomberg A-holes saw “Dead End” (1937). Sigh.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

NYCHA and the Mayor of Luxury City can paint this as a pragmatic attempt to shore up NYCHA's financial woes, but residents of the targeted neighborhoods can read the writing on the wall. First the market rate towers get built. Then just like day follows night, residents of said market rate towers will at some point in the not too distant future begin complaining to elected officials about the public housing projects next door.

Chin's making pathetic yapping noises about not enough affordable housing in the market rate towers, suggesting to me that this is already a done deal, like the dog and pony show that was put on for new Yankee Stadium deal. Nevertheless, I hope that there's a knock down drag out fight over this.

tacony palmyra said...

I'm against taking any land away from park space or playgrounds, but low-income public housing projects don't need off-street parking lots. That was an "amenity" of an era when people wrote off urban living as "dead" and thought that cars were the future of transportation. We clearly now as that as misguided. Let them build mixed income housing on the surface parking. The vast majority of the market rate housing in these neighborhoods doesn't have off-street parking!

Anonymous said...

So they want to take away the outdoor spaces and community center from these neighborhoods to make up for their decade of mismanagement and corruption? I know where they can get $79 million, stop paying the NYPD $79 million dollars to get the same policing every other landlord gets for free. By the way I'm surprised to read posts from assholes like ABCreal who don't know shit about public housing and have so much contempt for low income people.

Anonymous said...

@tacony palmyra, it's not all parking lots, they plan to build on top of community centers and outdoor space

Anonymous said...


In this context, "Frozen" doesn't mean zero. It just means, "doesn't go up".

CAS said...

Anon 4:17 Thanks for the clarification, I thought it sounded rather crazy-pants.

Seems like this idea was raised back in the Fall...

blue glass said...

i'm not for cheating by public assistance recipients - BUT if you want to recoup a HUGE amount of stolen tax payer funds look at subsidies to luxury housing developers; non-profits created, and run by, elected officials; sweet heart contracts given to campaign contributors (7-11? and 20 oz sodas?); and other large scale deals. if every subsidized citizen were 100% honest about all subsidies it would not equal the amount "honestly?" taken by, say a non-profit health care center in the bronx!
many poor folks cheat because subsidies are so small while developers etc. cheat because they are greedy.
can you think of anybody building anything that all of a sudden discovers that he has built two stories too high? oops.
and who does not cheat on their taxes?

Caleo said...

The residents of these projects don't stand a chance against venture capitalists and big name developers.
If they're lucky, they might stall the developers for a couple of years, but the ugly reality of 21st century Manhattan is that the developers ALWAYS get their way.
The city administration will back up the developers in every way imaginable, and the developers have hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at this issue.
Waterfront property in Manhattan is potentially far too lucrative to let the projects and their residents stand in the way.
Welcome to Dubai on the Hudson.

Anonymous said...

for the record, idiots talking about people who live in public housing getting their housing subsidized, if you live in a house, condo or co-op and you deduct your mortgage payments you are getting your housing subsidized, if you received hud money for first time home buyers your housing is tax payer subsidized, if it were not for the public subsidizing home owners the entire suburbs (where you are probably from) would not exist, so shut up!

~evilsugar25 said...

i am not surprised by this in the least. this is most certainly a step to moving the NYCHA housing developments somewhere else. for sure. waterfront property is super-desirable, DUH! i used to marvel at the fact that NYC (and Brooklyn - have you SEEN the view of NYC from Greenpoint's waterfront? here come the rich people!!) had so much underdeveloped and/or abandoned waterfront and wondered how long it was going to take the powers that be to smack themselves on the forehead and take it back for the rich. i don't condone it, but we all know money runs this joint.

as for having gated, off-street parking.... i would KILL for that. that is really a super duper amenity at this point in time and i don't think it should be included as a perk of low-income housing. but what do i know? i'm ravenously envious of parking spaces.

Anonymous said...

what if Jane Jacob's attitude had been "oh well, that's the way it is, they have more money , so there you go."?

glamma said...

People. There is an absolute war being waged on low and working class people in NYC. If you think you're all safe being middle middle class or lower-upper or whatever, YOU'RE WRONG. In fact, YOU'RE NEXT.

They want to turn this place into Disneyland where no one actually lives here and they just charge out the wazoo for luxury services.

You know how many hundreds of millions a dollars a year the city p*sses away just settling all the NYPD lawsuits? Why do you think we do that?

When Vincents closed, it would have taken like one-onethousandth of Bloomberg's annual salary to keep it open - very little money at all. Yes not only did it fall - there were many active fprces PREVENTING it from being saved.

This is a disempowerment agenda here. Big money takes all.

anonymous 11:44 and ABCReal = total a$$holes.

Go troll somewhere else, that sh*t don't fly here.

Anonymous said...

"what if Jane Jacob's attitude had been "oh well, that's the way it is, they have more money , so there you go."?"

I just read "The life and Death of American Cities". Jane Jacobs proposed very similar developments in that book-- building retail and apartments in the empty spaces at the base of housing project towers, to make the housing project monoculture into a mixed-income, mixed-use area.

Subsidized parking spaces anywhere in Manhattan are insane. They put more cars on the street in an area that needs fewer.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what is so bad. Seems dumb to be subsidizing parking lots. Why not allow for some mixture of incomes, ages, and backgrounds? You know... like a community? Or do you prefer complete class separation?

glamma said...

They are trying to do away with all projects, rent controls, affordable housing and have been for many years.
Now after Sandy they will declare alot of the public housing "Zone A" and look for any rationale they can to tear them down.
There will be no plans to reassimilate these people.
Poor people are simply not welcome in Bloomy's new york.

Anonymous said...

Please see above story:

"Scott Stringer has big plans for the east River"

It's going to be BEAUTIFUL! Just like the west side! Now we just have to get rid of all these poor poeple. The ones who were here when NY waterfront wasn't fashionable.

Anonymous said...

@anon 2:11pm so another one that didn't read the article, it's not just parking spaces, walkways, courtyards, recreation areas in short the community that's already there, if you think there will be a community with rich people you are insane, the goal is to get all the poor people out and take over. What a joke, we already live in total class segregation and you wanna make it sound like were the ones that chose it. Walk down rivington street on any night and tell me how well the "community" in interacting. Rich people move in we will lose anyone who has any sense can see that.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:47 you are kidding yourself if you think Jane Jacob's vison of mixed income housing is the same as lawless greed mongers like bloomberg and Rhea and all their developer pals. Remember the deal that bloomturd facilitated at stuy town for his tishman speyer friends?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this stoops to new lows. Why do they need a 99 year lease with frozen taxes for 35 years? That's what you offer in desperation, these developers are the ones who are desperate to leach more money and real estate out of NYC- the city plays softball with these assholes so they can take a huge lucrative bite of the Big Apple at our expense.
How about a 35 year tax abatement for regular hardworking people/businesses? How about a 99 year lease for businesses who serve the community? Condos don't serve anyone but the wealthy and that 20% "affordable" housing? they'll weasel out of it asap- they always do.

blue glass said...

the cross subsidy program was supposed to create 20% market rate housing to pay for 80% low income/affordable housing. groups fought for 100% low income housing (or no housing) for years - and as a result, by the time any subsidized affordable housing was built the formula had changed to 80% market rate and 20% subsidized.
want to see what happens to a neighborhood when market rate housing takes over? walk around the entire neighborhood and see what "avalon" at bowery and houston streets has done to the neighborhood.

John said...

Campos Plaza is like the Hometree on Pandora. It's a self-sufficient utopia that could only be spoiled by meddling from outsiders.