Grand Street Guild Announces Plans For Two New 15-Story Towers

The parking garage at the Grand Street Guild one of two development sites.

The parking garage at the Grand Street Guild is one of two development sites.

The owners of he Grand Street Guild apartment complex announced tonight their plans to build two new 15-story residential towers. According to a press release, there will be more than 400 new rental units in a 100% affordable project.

Grand Street Guild is a not-for-profit organization formed by the Archdiocese of New York. Under its auspices, three 26-story towers with 600 apartments were put in 1973 on property surrounding St. Mary’s Church. Rumors about the new plans have been hotly debated by the Section 8 tenants of Grand Street Guild during the past few years.

The press release stated that the new buildings will be “as-of-right” towers, meaning that no special city approval is required beyond routine Department of Buildings permits.

Here’s more from the press release:

Working closely on this new project with New York City Housing Preservation and Development and the New York City Housing Development Corporation, as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Grand Street Guild is proposing that one of the two new buildings be designed specifically for the needs of seniors and the other towards families and individuals. The Grand Street Guild team has begun discussing the details of the new project by reaching out for broad input, including holding meetings with elected and government officials, the Grand Street Guild Residents Association and current residents, Community Board 3, and many others.

Handel Architects has been hired to come up with, a “creative plan to utilize existing space in our complex.”  The press release did not indicate where the new towers would be built. But local District Leader Paez (a Grand Street Guild resident) tells us the proposed sites are a parking garage located at Broome and Clinton streets and a site currently housing the Little Star Daycare Center at 151 Broome St. Paez was among those briefed today on the plans.

A few more details from a letter delivered to residents today:

–Tenants who currently park in the Clinton Street garage will be accommodated in a new garage that will be part of the new project.

–The new buildings will have no impact on the Section 8 subsidy guaranteed to current tenants, according to management. Subsidies through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development are locked in through 2035.

–Construction is currently expected to begin in the summer of 2019.

At a tenant meeting in February of last year, representatives of Grand Street Guild refused to comment about their development plans, saying it would be premature. Residents expressed many concerns, saying that management had failed to maintain the existing buildings. They cited various problems with malfunctioning elevators (including a widely publicized fatal accident), gas outages and rodent infestations.

Today, Grand Street Guild is talking up its dedication to affordable housing and its long-term commitment to the Lower East Side. In a statement, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, said:

Day in and day out New Yorkers struggle to meet a basic human need and right – a decent place to live. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is proud that Grand Street Guild has been meeting this need for quality affordable housing for almost fifty years, and within the past five years has substantially rehabbed and upgraded the existing 600 apartments and their systems. This year will bring the installation of new windows and door frames in the three buildings, as well as security cameras in all stairwells. Now Grand Street Guild’s plan to add 400 new affordable apartments for individuals, families and seniors will continue, and add to this legacy for the betterment of the Lower East Side community.

More to come…