NYCHA Announces Plans For New Residential Tower Alongside La Guardia Houses

NYCHA graphic from 2013 plan.

NYCHA graphic from 2013 plan.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced plans to build new mixed-income housing on a parking lot at the La Guardia Houses.

According to a press release, the new building will include 50% market rate and 50% affordable rental units. The project is being proposed under NYCHA’s Next Generation Neighborhoods initiative, which is intended to address the housing authority’s dire financial situation. “Through this program, said NYCHA Chairperson Shola Olatoye, “we’ll generate revenue to invest in La Guardia Houses and throughout all of NYCHA and create new affordable housing. This means better roofs, stronger facades and badly needed bathroom and kitchen repairs.”

No NYCHA money will be used to build the project. The housing authority is pledging to reinvest 50% of the revenues from the new development at the La Guardia Houses for infrastructure repairs. The Lower East Side public housing project has $70 million in “unmet capital needs.”

Back in 2013, NYCHA was forced to withdraw a controversial proposal for new market rate development on five Lower East Side parcels, including two sites at the La Guardia Houses. Today’s press released emphasized, “unprecedented community engagement” as part of the development plans.

The site identified this time around is on Madison Street, between Rutgers and Clinton streets. The news release did not indicate the size of the building that could be put on the parcel or the number of units envisioned. NYCHA previously estimated the lot could accommodate a 35 story tower . According to today’s announcement, “NYCHA (parking) permit holders… will be relocated elsewhere at La Guardia Houses.”

The release included a statement of support from Jessica Thomas, La Guardia Houses’ tenant president. “As the La Guardia Houses Resident Association Leader, I stand in partnership with NYCHA and the NextGen Neighborhoods Program. No one understands better than myself and my neighbors how the financial uncertainty and budget deficits impact residents… This program is a real opportunity to make much needed repairs in our development and to improve quality of life. For the future of my residents and NYCHA, we need NextGen Neighborhoods.”

NYCHA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the fall, and a developer will be chosen next year. The first public meeting regarding the project takes place May 18.