Posts tagged with "Affordable Housing":

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China plans to build two million affordable housing units in 2017

China is aiming to build two million affordable housing units this year in an effort to increase access to housing across the country, senior officials from that country report. According to Reuters, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) vice minister Lu Kehua explained that access to affordable housing was becoming a top priority for the government, as housing affordability across China’s largest cities has plummeted in recent years. Many parts of the country are currently experiencing a property boom that has left China’s low-income residents—especially migrant workers who have moved to China’s bustling cities from the countryside—out in the cold. The new units will be developed with an eye toward housing such populations, Lu explained. Official Chinese state publication Xinhua reports that the government has boosted investments and financing in public housing production in recent months to begin the process. Confusingly, the so-called property bubble in major cities comes as many of China’s smaller cities suffer from housing overproduction, resulting in “ghost cities.” China’s unequal, helter-skelter housing growth is straining city residents and has the potential to end badly, economically speaking, as builders take on more and more debt to build housing where it is neither needed nor in high demand. Of course, the low-skilled workers most dependent on the booming building industry there are due to suffer most in the event of economic collapse. Though two million new units is an impressive feat, the new affordable housing efforts are relatively paltry, considering China’s population currently stands at roughly 1.357 billion inhabitants, with roughly 70 million people living in poverty there. Overall, China provides affordable housing for roughly 11.3 million families. By comparison, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, administers roughly 4.8 million affordable units, according to a recent report. By one measure, China’s forthcoming affordable units, if developed proportionally in the United States, would result in over 466,000 new units. That number, coincidentally, is close to the number of new units needed to begin to address California’s housing crisis
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“Affordable New York Housing Program” revives affordable housing tax breaks for developers

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has secured the State Legislature's approval of the “Affordable New York Housing Program," essentially an update of the "421-a" initiative which had been in place for 50 years and encouraged city developers to build more affordable homes incentivized through tax breaks. As part of the “Affordable New York Housing Program," developers in charge of residential projects that have 300 or more units will be eligible for a full property tax break lasting 35 years. The tax abatement, however, will only apply to developments in specific areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Further checkboxes for developers wanting in on the action regard worker pay and the number of affordable units. Under the scheme, projects will only be eligible if they pay construction workers a newly imposed minimum wage (specific to the profession) and allocate 25 to 30 percent of the development as affordable rental units. Subsequently, construction workers on sites below 96th Street in Manhattan must earn $60 an hour, on average, through benefits, wages, and payroll taxes. For those working within a mile radius of the East River waterfront, that sum comes down to $45 per hour. To ensure developers are being true to their word, the New York Times reports that the city comptroller will act as a watchdog. Efforts, though, may be hampered by the fact that wages splayed out across the construction site range significantly. Specialized jobs such as cement pourers, crane operators, and plumbers are very well-payed whereas standard laborers are not.

Developments outside the specified zones have the chance to "opt in" to the scheme so long as the aforementioned prerequisites are met. Governor Cuomo, in a press release on the budget, estimated that the Affordable New York Housing Program will create roughly 2,500 new units of affordable housing each year. The scheme will end in 2022 at the earliest.

As per The Times, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio had lambasted the old 421-a as “a giveaway to developers.” His administration estimates Cuomo's plan will cost $82 million a year more in unrealized taxes than it would have under the previous year's proposal. The Times also reported that the 421-a tax breaks cost the city about $1.4 billion a year.
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Denied access to Trump Tower public space, protestors still hold affordable housing teach-in

This morning, some fifty people gathered outside Trump Tower's fifth-floor public terrace to protest proposals from New York Governor Cuomo and President Trump that would affect affordable and public housing in New York. The event was organized by Alliance for Tenant Power and Real Rent Reform, two grassroots coalition groups that draw support from a range of New York City tenant organizations, labor unions, not-for-profits, and advocacy groups. The teach-in started at 11:30 a.m. as protestors arrived just outside the terrace entrance, located on the top floor of the Tower's large central atrium. Prior to the election, Trump Tower's two tucked-away public terraces seemed to exemplify the slight-of-hand developers can use to leverage extra development rights without meaningfully giving back to the public. Recently, they've become a venue for protestors to gather at the heart of President Trump's most prominent development. This time, however, the fifth-floor terrace was closed due to reported icy conditions. To this reporter's eyes, it was a plainly flimsy excuse. (The four-floor terrace is still closed due to construction, according to a sign outside its entrance.) Civil rights attorney Samuel B. Cohen was on hand to speak to Trump Tower staff and inquire about the space's closure. Just like a sidewalk or any other public space, he told the crowd, Trump Tower has an obligation to clear the space for public use. Regardless, the teach-in continued, as the NYPD did not express safety concerns about the crowd. Over the course of approximately 45 minutes, protestors spoke out against Governor Cuomo's proposed renewal of the 421-a tax break, which is designed to spur the development of multi-unit buildings on vacant land. Tom Waters, housing policy analyst from the Community Service Society, said 421-a was a product of the 1970s, an era when the city was in dire straits. "Those times are over," he said, adding that 421-a would create far more value for developers than for the public. Waters also spoke out against a new provision in the bill that extends 100 percent tax-exempt status for certain new affordable developments from 25 to 35 years, a move which could generate further profits for developers.  Waters also explained that Trump Tower itself was a product of 421-a tax exemptions when it was built; according to The New York Times the project received "an extraordinary 40-year tax break that has cost New York City $360 million to date in forgiven, or uncollected, taxes, with four years still to run, on a property that cost only $120 million to build in 1980." After being initially denied 421-a exemptions for Trump Tower, Trump successfully sued the city, and he later won 421-a exemptions for his Trump World Tower under the Guiliani and Bloomberg administrations in a similar fashion. Massive cuts to federal housing programs were an equal source of ire: According to a press release issued by Alliance for Tenant Power and Real Rent Reform, President Trump's proposed budget reduces federal housing funds by 13 percent. Those cuts "are expected to strain public housing programs and axe $75 million in federal funding from the New York City Housing Authority, the agency that manages public housing in NYC," the groups said. The Community Service Society estimates that Governor Cuomo's proposed 421-a program would "cost NYC taxpayers $2.4 billion annually and yield minimal affordable housing units in return." In the face of federal cuts, Jawanza Williams of VOCAL NY urged New York State to take a more aggressive stance to fill in the gaps and create its own robust health care and public housing systems; he also argued that 421-a would "only exacerbate gentrification." Claudia Perez of advocacy group Community Voices Heard added her thoughts in a question to those assembled: "Will you help me fight against the developer-in-chief? Now more than ever, New York must protect NYCHA." "We're calling on Cuomo to realize these $2 billion in cuts are more Trumponian than Trump," said New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams at the protest. "So if [Cuomo] wants to run for president, if he wants to be a champion of saying what New York City is going to do to push back against these Trumponian cuts, 421-a is not it."
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Governor Cuomo unveils Central Brooklyn revitalization plan that’s big on ideas

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has unveiled a sweeping plan to revitalize Central Brooklyn, the latest in a spate of ambitious, big-budget projects he has proposed for the state's airports, trains, bridges—and election year 2020, possibly. The $1.4 billion initiative positions itself as a "national paradigm" for addressing health, violence, and poverty in low-income communities. Called Vital Brooklyn, the proposal will target Brownsville, East New York, Flatbush, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, communities where residents face persistent barriers to health, education, and employment equity as well as the rising threat of gentrification. Targeting eight investment areas, Vital Brooklyn aims to augment the supply of affordable housing; build resilience infrastructure; invest in community-based violence prevention, job creation, and youth employment; tackle open space and healthy food availability; and improve healthcare access with an emphasis on preventative care.
“For too long investment in underserved communities has lacked the strategy necessary to end systemic social and economic disparity, but in Central Brooklyn those failed approaches stop today,” said Governor Cuomo, in a prepared statement. “We are going to employ a new holistic plan that will bring health and wellness to one of the most disadvantaged parts of the state. Every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood with access to jobs, healthcare, affordable housing, green spaces, and healthy food but you can't address one of these without addressing them all. Today, we begin to create a brighter future for Brooklyn, and make New York a model for development of high need communities across the country.” The lion's share of the plan—$700 million in capital investments—will go towards healthcare, followed by $563 million for affordable housing. The remaining money is split between Vital Brooklyn's six other initiatives, with food access getting the smallest portion of the funding. So far, Cuomo's plan is heavy on ideas but short on specifics. The healthcare component calls for more community health care facilities to fulfill current demand and provide additional preventative and mental health care services. To achieve this, a 36-location ambulatory care network will partner with existing providers, and to complement the health focus, the state will spend $140 million to ensure that all residents live within a ten-minute walk of parks and athletic facilities, and revamp existing facilities through grants. Vital Brooklyn also calls for building five-plus acres of recreation space at state-funded housing developments. Mindful that health outcomes and housing are linked, the governor confronts Brooklyn's affordable housing shortage with plans to build, build, build. With more than half of Central Brooklyn residents spending more than half of their income on rent, Cuomo's plan calls for the construction of more than 3,000 new multifamily units at six state-owned sites, with options for supportive housing, public green space, and a home-ownership plan. On the resiliency front, the state's projects aim to meet growing demand for electricity while shoring up the low-lying area's resistance to extreme weather. Under the plan, there could be 62 multi-family and 87 single-family energy efficiency initiative, plus almost 400 solar other projects in the pipeline. The initiative also calls for equipping Kings County Hospital, SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Kingsboro Psychiatric Center with backup power through the Clarkson Avenue microgrid project. Linked to the resiliency, Vital Brooklyn features a partnership between the Billion Oyster Project and the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Justice program to expose area youth to habitat restoration practices on Jamaica Bay by adding 30 environmental education sites to the area. Through these sites, the Billion Oyster Project aims to reach 9,500 students who will learn about the benefits of oysters through the bay and SCAPE's Living Breakwaters Project on Staten Island. Not everyone is bullish on the plan, though. New York City Mayor (and Cuomo rival) Bill de Blasio, for one, is skeptical about the governor's follow-thorough. "Show us the money, show us the beef, whatever phrase you want," de Blasio said on WNYC las week. "I don't care what a politician does to get attention. What I care about is actual product." The state legislature has until April 1 to decide on the governor's budget, and negotiations may change the plan's final funding and form.
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A new report shows how sky-high housing costs fuel displacement in the tristate area

The Regional Plan Association has released a new study on housing affordability and its notoriously difficult-to-measure twin, displacement. Although displacement is often reported as individual battles over affordable housing or new development in neighborhoods like East New York and East Harlem, Pushed Out: Housing Displacement in an Unaffordable Region (PDF) illustrates the widespread impact of displacement in the tristate area, from Northern New Jersey up to New Haven, Connecticut. Despite good intentions, urban planning often reflects the priorities of four decades ago, when cities confronted deficits, white flight, deindustrialization, and the collateral damage of urban renewal. Now, data shows that throughout New York metropolitan area, wealthier (and whiter) people are replacing people of color in dense, central city neighborhoods with good transit access. There are, the RPA estimates, 990,000 people in the region who are at-risk of displacement; more than two-thirds of this group are Black or Latino. To ease the rising cost of housing and keep low-income residents in place, Pushed Out proposes policies like deeper rental subsidies, broader affordability ranges, centering displacement risk into land-use, and more legal protections for tenants, especially around eviction prevention and in areas outside of New York City where rent protections are weak or non-existent. This most recent report, which includes interviews with those affected directly by displacement, will be part of the RPA's fourth regional plan, due out later this year. In conjunction with the release, RPA held a morning forum at the Ford Foundation where two panels of community leaders and city officials from the region gathered with an audience of their peers and neighbors to discuss strategies for resisting displacement and advocating for longtime residents in the face of change. Maria Torres-Springer, the new head of NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), joined Dina Levy, deputy director of community impact and innovation in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office; and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Marcos Vigil for a panel discussion on what municipalities can do to combat displacement (NY1's Errol Louis moderated). HPD, Torres-Springer noted, is beginning to experiment with community land trusts, while Vigil said Jersey City, in response to an influx of 50,000 new residents, offers incentives to developers who build housing outside of transit-rich, wealthy neighborhoods. The solutions are meant in part to address an acute displacement trend: RPA's report found that desirable, central city neighborhoods have seen a two percent decrease in households earning less than $100,000 annually, while these same areas have accommodated 11 percent more households earning $100,000 annually. The group mused on the difficulty of providing truly affordable housing when, for example, federal agencies set standards of affordability that may not align with local needs. "There's a legal definition of affordability," said Vigil, "but really it means a good, safe place to live." Panelists were on the lookout for instances in which public policy accelerates displacement, but given their institutional roles and the short timeframe, discussion trended towards optimism and broad tactics. Barika Williams, deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, moderated a second panel on how displacement risk is experienced on the ground. Executive Director of Community Voices Heard Afua Atta-Mensah; NYU Furman Center Director Ingrid Gould Ellen; Raymond Ocasio, executive director of La Casa de Don Pedro; and New York City Council Member Antonio Reynoso spoke about how the rising cost of housing is putting pressure on the (mostly) low-income communities of color they advocate for and represent. Reynoso, whose district includes parts of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood, spoke passionately about housing pressures facing his constituents: "Law, policy, and safeguards are being outpaced by development," he said. "Do we have the resources and will to sustain the preservation of affordable housing and build more housing to combat the erosion?" As poorer residents are pushed to the city limits and the suburbs, panelists agreed that planning needs to extend beyond town lines. "It's better,"Atta-Mensah said, "to get in at the front end and talk about this regionally."
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Los Angeles wants to make developers pay for affordable housing

The Los Angeles City Council is set to consider the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee (AHLF), a new ordinance that would tax certain types of new residential and commercial construction across the city in order to fund a generation of new, deed-restricted affordable housing units as well as refurbish existing affordable housing stock. The plan—approved Thursday with a few tweaks by the City Planning Commission and now headed toward consideration of the full City Council—proposes to levy a linkage fee of $5.00 per square foot of new office, hotel, retail, and warehouse projects as well as a $12.00 per square foot fee on new residential construction. The fee would be administered by the City of Los Angeles and is expected to generate between $75 million to $92 million in funds each year earmarked toward the construction of new affordable housing units. The new levy represents the culmination of years of planning study aimed at alleviating the region's crippling housing crisis. It is thought that the Los Angeles region is deficient by nearly 500,000 housing units, a situation that has resulted in staggering rent increases over the last few years. To boot, the city has been gradually down-zoned to the detriment of housing production and has, for the last several decades, produced far fewer market-rate units than necessary to meet population growth. The result? Tightened supply and higher rents for everyone. A recent study by Adobo lists Los Angeles as having the fourth highest percentage of renters in the country; Los Angeles is also the largest city by far among the lists' top ten. Furthermore, a 2016 study by New York University’s Furman Center and CapitalOne found that nearly 60 percent of renting Angelenos pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent. Additionally, a whopping 33 percent of the overall total pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.   The dearth in new market-rate units has put pressure on low-income and working class communities across the region. As high earners have been locked out of traditionally upscale and professional class areas, they have begun to scour working class neighborhoods for rental and ownership opportunities. And though few would argue that the city needs to produce fewer affordable housing units, there is fierce debate regarding whether taxing housing production is the right step to take considering the facts above. In a strongly-worded letter presented to the City Planning Commission, a group of academics and activists decried the linkage fee’s potentially depressing effects on market-rate housing production, saying, “The Nexus Study’s highly optimistic analysis projects enough revenues to create approximately 450 affordable units, though if L.A.’s analysis mirrors Oakland’s, there will be a greater number of market‐rate units lost—potentially 1.5‐2X the low‐income production. If these affordable production numbers are correct—and we question their accuracy, noting that no other city’s program has produced nearly this many units (San Francisco’s, for example, has produced only 89 per year)—then for every 450 low‐income units produced, up to 900 low‐income families will ultimately be displaced. How can public policy support such an outcome?” According to the authors of the letter, economically disadvantaged individuals and families across Los Angeles disproportionately live in market-rate housing. The authors argue that while the linkage fee would indeed facilitate the creation of new affordable units, the number of potential market-rate units it would preclude from being built—a figure that will not be tracked by the city and would be very difficult to discern in the first place—outweighs the benefit of the relatively few affordable units due to be created by the fee. The proposed fee is headed to the City Council and, if approved, would be implemented in later this year.
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NYC could create a whole new neighborhood over a Queens rail yard

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s feasibility study for a possible Sunnyside Yard “overbuild” project is complete and suggests that the project could cost anywhere from $16 to $19 billion, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). “In Western Queens, there remains one of New York City’s last great opportunities to solve many of these challenges in one place,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, calling the development a “new and innovative solution” to meet New York City’s growing housing and transportation needs. The 180-acre rail yard, which sits in the center of Western Queens, is a major transportation center owned by Amtrak and Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that services the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. Some entities are already proposing updates to the site—Amtrack, in particular, is planning a new High-Speed Rail facility that will open by 2030. The feasibility study took many of these developments into account, focusing on the engineering, economic, and urban design implications of the project, and after almost two years of study, the report concludes that the project is feasible, albeit costly. In the study, the NYCEDC establishes three case study plans with different program focuses. The first proposes almost entirely residential development, adding up to 24,000 units of housing. Of those residences, 30% would be allocated for affordable housing, part of de Blasio’s affordable housing goals outlined for New York City. The proposal would also add up to 19 schools and almost 50 acres of open space. The second study, dubbed the “live/work/play” proposal, was designed to offer a well-rounded program with residential, cultural centers, and office space. This proposal is the only proposal to include office space and would still incorporate up to 19,000 units of mixed-income housing and up to 14 schools. The third and final study is the “destination” proposal, which focuses on residential and cultural spaces. The proposal features almost 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use space and up to 22,000 units of housing, still allowing for retail spaces and up to 14 schools. Each of the three proposals focuses on developing the 80 to 85 percent of the site the NYCEDC has deemed viable and connecting it to the surrounding neighborhoods using existing bridges and roads and adding significant green space to the area. During their study, the NYCEDC selected a 70-acre portion of the site, called the “Core Yard,” as an optimal place to begin the development, with a price tag of approximately $10 billion. The area features enough space to create a complete neighborhood and is well-located to incorporate the Amtrak master plan. In the second phase of the master plan, the NYCEDC plans to look in greater detail at how to avoid significant impact on transportation infrastructure. They also hope to create a detailed urban plan and consider sustainable initiatives and architectural standards for future buildings. Before that phase, however, de Blasio and the NYCEDC will collect feedback from the community and work with Amtrak, who plans to begin construction on a High-Speedeed Rail facility at Sunnyside Yard in early 2018, according to QNS. You can read the full report about the feasibility of Sunnyside Yards here.
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655 new units of affordable housing coming to East Harlem

In East Harlem, a cluster community gardens will soon make way for a large affordable housing complex. Developer Jonathan Rose Companies is set to build 655 apartments ensconced in an amenity-loaded project along East 111th and 112th streets, between Park and Madison avenues. The 751,000-square-foot complex, dubbed Sendero Verde (green pathway), is meant to be a "self-sustaining" community, with a Mount Sinai–run health care center, grocery store, restaurant, job training, charter school, a YMCA, and facilities for Union Settlement, a venerable community organization, on-site. Rose is partnering with L+M to develop the project, which is designed by New York–based Handel Architects. "Our goal is to create a complete community… not only housing but services for all the residents," Rose told Politico. "We hope this block will be a real model of transformation, not only for the new residents who live there but for the whole neighborhood." On a green note, the development will follow passive house standards for improved energy efficiency, while the four community gardens will be planted anew inside the project. Sendero Verde foreshadows changes for a neighborhood that is preparing for a 57-square-block rezoning that will permit buildings up to 30 stories tall in some areas. Although the city will regulate the buildings' rents, making this a "100 percent affordable" development in HPD-speak, the highest rent thresholds exceed those of market-rate buildings nearby. While East Harlem's overall supply of affordable housing could shrink due to development pressure, the neighborhood is slated for more brand-new affordable buildings, like L+M's Lexington Gardens II, designed by New York's Curtis + Ginsberg, which sits a couple blocks away from Sendero Verde.
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NYC to replace parking garage with hundreds of affordable units in Jamaica, Queens

New York City is set to replace an underused NYPD parking garage it owns with affordable housing on the eastern edge of Queens. “Under Housing New York, we committed to looking at every city-owned site as an opportunity to build affordable housing," said outgoing Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been. "We are thrilled that in partnership with EDC and the NYPD, we now have a proposal to develop a dynamic mixed-use facility with affordable homes, a recreational facility, and commercial space in the heart of Jamaica, Queens.” A three-agency team selected Omni New York to develop the all-affordable complex, which will include 350 units plus commercial space. Plans for the 450,000-square-foot project put the NYPD parking garage below-grade, with street-level retail fronting 168th Street between Jamaica and Archer avenues—all busy neighborhood thoroughfares. The development is a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), HPD, and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC). While Omni manages a portfolio of thousands of units nationwide, last month the city's Human Rights Commission charged that the company had discriminated against tenants who use housing vouchers and rental assistance, the Daily News reports. Omni denies all allegations. This project falls under the Jamaica Now Action Plan, a sweeping neighborhood revitalization initiative that launched in 2015. The $153 million plan emphasizes the community's "livability," which here includes workforce development and help for small business, as well as investments in public space.
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Chicago’s Regional Housing Initiative is streamlining affordable housing development

Chicago’s Regional Housing Initiative (RHI) is working with housing authorities to distribute affordable housing vouchers throughout the Chicagoland area. The Regional Housing Initiative brings together 10 housing authorities, with administrative bodies including the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), BRicK Partners, and CMAP. Starting in 2002 the initiative was started to optimize the process for developers building affordable housing, and to address the disproportionate distribution of funds throughout the region. Currently, the RHI is seeking developers interested in receiving vouchers to help finance new projects. By pooling a portion of their allotted federal rental assistance vouchers, the participating housing authorities can better support the ever changing needs those in need of affordable housing. Since its founding, the RHI has helped with the development of 500 apartments in 33 developments in 22 different communities. This is achieved by matching up developers with voucher holders, ensuring new developments have tenants. One of the main goals of the RHI is to help direct developers to build in low-poverty, high-opportunity communities, where tenants could conceivably have better access to civic amenities and job opportunities. The rental assistance vouchers are part of the Federal Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. This program distributes vouchers to local public housing agencies. These vouchers are then distributed to families whose income does not exceed 50% of the median income of the area. In Chicago, the vast majority of affordable housing being built is done by private developers as part of mixed-income developments. The Regional Housing Initiative is now actively looking for developers interested in applying for rental assistance vouchers to help finance new projects.
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Inwood has questions as city quickly prepares to develop new library with affordable housing

"This entire process feels like window dressing for decisions already taken." So read a guerilla message plastered on design boards at a recent library visioning session in Inwood, a neighborhood at Manhattan's northern tip. The city announced last month that it will sell the Inwood branch library, on busy Broadway, to a developer who will build all-affordable housing and a new library on-site. The New York Public Library (NYPL) said that after the demolition, the rebuilt Inwood branch would be the same size and provide the same services. The Robin Hood Foundation, an antipoverty nonprofit, is putting $5 million towards the project to match the city's contribution. Although the housing would be privately developed, the city would maintain ownership over the library. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) expects construction on the new building to begin in 2019. To prepare for changes, HPD has organized three visioning sessions about the library's future. The first was held last Wednesday night, and attracted about 60 people: HPD planner Felipe Cortes noted that the crowd was mostly older and whiter, an observation reflected in the number of stickers on the respective English and Spanish-language design and programming visioning boards. Residents were asked to express their preference for a new building at 115, 145, and 175 feet in height with 90, 110, and 135 units, respectively. Not included: an option to preserve the building, which dates to 1952. At the session, some residents felt the project was moving ahead too fast, and that public input would not substantially impact the city's plans; similar concerns were voiced earlier this month at a Manhattan Community Board 12 meeting, DNAinfo reported. "Bill de Blasio is too eager to cave to developers," said resident Sally Fisher. "It's like the city put a 'For Sale' on Inwood." She wondered where teenagers and children will congregate once demolition is underway. The impending sale follows two others that the city has authorized in Brooklyn Heights and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, both of which have sparked community outcry. (Brooklyn Public Library is a separate system from the NYPL, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.)  For the Inwood deal, it's not yet clear who will own the deed—HPD says those details have yet to be determined. The library, one of the most-used in the system, is in dire need of repairs and upgrades. Pointing to a water-damaged drop ceiling, library manager Denita Nichols said that the building is showing signs of wear and tear, and the full renovation 16 years ago has not kept pace with changing technology or current community needs. Nichols said library, which is one of the few open seven days a week, has to accommodate quiet study spaces and more social spaces. "I would love to see a flex space with a culture center—that would really be great to me if it happened," she said. NYPL will continue to do community outreach around the project before any design decisions are made.
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NYC unveils new affordable housing developed by women and people of color

Update 1/18/17: This post was updated to include the architects for each project. As part of an ongoing affordable housing development drive, New York City has selected eight Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) to develop hundreds of affordable units across three boroughs. The six city-owned sites—in East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; Melrose and Crotona Park East, the Bronx; and Central Harlem, Manhattan—will be 100 percent affordable across a broad range of incomes. The developments will include 440 units for seniors, the homeless, and extremely-low income New Yorkers. “These Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise firms are offering first-rate projects that will serve a diverse set of New York communities and New Yorkers," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement. "I congratulate them, and expect to see important work from each of them as we continue to work together in the future to protect affordability and quality of life in all our neighborhoods." The developments will include a STEM center for high schoolers, a tech center, space for a green market, and an LGBT community center. The M/WBE contracts are part of the city's goal to award 30 percent of the value of its contracts to nonwhite and woman firms by 2021. To meet its metrics, the city is increasing access to capital and putting resources towards capacity-building for M/WBE firms, among other measures. The six winning projects are pictured below: 1921 Atlantic Avenue Architect: GF55 Developer: Dabar Development Partners and Thorobird Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn "The 25,762 square-foot site will be transformed into a mixed-use project with 183 affordable homes for seniors, and low- and moderate-income households. The project will feature a community facility operated by Oko Farms and NHS. A new fresh food grocery store will be created." 1510-1524 Broadway Architect: GLUCK+ Developer: MacQuesten Construction Management Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn "Partnering with the not-for-profit East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation, the M/WBE will create 59 affordable homes for extremely-low income individuals on the 20,059 square-foot parcel." 461 Alabama Avenue Architect: Newman Design Developer: CB Emmanuel Realty East New York, Brooklyn "In partnership with the non-for-profit Services for Underserved, the M/WBE firm will transform the 10,000 square-foot lot into a supportive housing development, with 55 homes for formerly homeless and low-income households. The nonprofit will provide onsite supportive services for the homeless. The building will feature a recreation room, a landscaped yard and roof for resident use." 1490 Southern Boulevard Architect: Bernheimer Architecture Developer: Type A Real Estate Advisors Crotona Park East, the Bronx "[490 Southern Boulevard will be developed] into a 95-unit senior housing development, affordable to senior households with incomes between $25,400 and $38,100. Working with the LGBT Network and the Jewish Association Serving the Aging, the project will offer support services for senior residents and a community space with programing for the LGBT community of all ages." 359 East 157th Street Construction Services: FG-PH Developer: Infinite Horizons Melrose, the Bronx "With MBD Community Housing Corp., the M/WBE firm will build 20 affordable homes on the 4,700 square-foot parcel. The homes will be affordable to individuals with incomes between $50,750 and $63,500, and families with incomes between $65,250 and $81,600. The development will feature a green roof and solar panels." 263-267 West 126th Street Architect: Aufgang Architects Developer: Lemor Realty Corporation and Apex Building Group Central Harlem, Manhattan "The companies will build a passive-house development with 29 affordable homes on the 8,492 square-foot property. The project will house a restaurant and space for the tech incubator company Silicon Harlem, which offers the Apps Youth Leadership Academy, a seven-week course for high school students focused STEM education and enrichment."