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Masaryk Towers Project Finally Underway

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Groundbreaking at Masaryk Towers.

Various dignitaries braved the sweltering heat this afternoon to celebrate the beginning of a long awaited renovation project.  Thanks to $8 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the city, Masaryk Towers is about to get a major face lift.

The 1110 unit affordable housing complex on Columbia Street will be receiving facade repairs, improvements to sidewalks and parking lots, new playground equipment and new security booths. The plan also includes one particularly controversial addition to Masaryk: fencing that will prevent people from walking through the courtyard on Rivington Street.

Masaryk & Beyond
Photo by Joel Raskin.

Bernice McCallum, outgoing board president, noted that the cooperative’s new leadership will have to raise a lot more money for other improvements, including security cameras, outdoor lighting and lobby renovations.  The new president, Dariusz Liszkiewicz, told us another major priority will be converting Masaryk to a more energy efficient power system.

The bulk of the funds for the Masaryk project were approved in 2005, but turmoil within the co-op as well as bureaucratic red tape at the city level caused numerous delays.  Today’s news conference was attended by Housing Preservation & Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua, as well as local elected officials. Many of today’s speakers said the improvements will help ensure the longevity of Masaryk as a stable source of middle income housing in New York City.  As a condition of the funding Masaryk must stay in the Mitchell Lama affordrable housing program for the next 30 years.

According to a press release from HPD,  Mayor Bloomberg’s affordable housing program has preserved 7,917 apartments in Community District 3, which encompasses the Lower East Side and Chinatown.

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  1. Don’t believe a word of it ! That’s what they have done at the Grand street Guild and rent went up before the construction has even been completed. If you are from the lower east side then you are aware that the transition to getting the poor and working middle class has been Bloombergs agenda. You will have a rude awakening as that noose will get tighter over the next few years as they look to remove you! Good Luck

  2. I agree with Jimmy Noodles, the LES is now a magnet for the wealthy eventually all lower and middle income families will not be able to afford living here.  Its plain disgusting the gentrification of the neighborhood.

  3. Masaryk Towers received 6 million dollars + in HUD back door funding under the Disaster Recovery Grant
    which was earmarked for the revitalization of areas affected by 9/11 south of Houston Street. The funds were misallocated by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (which was formed in the wake of 9/11) to this undeserving, and unaffected, development. The entire project should’ve never been funded and the means in which the funds were acquired heavily examined. The walkway should remain public based on these facts alone. This was set in motion under the Guilliani and Pataki regime which carried over into Bloombergs. PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

http://renewnyc.com/content/pdfs/HUD/4thQTR_DRGR_GRANT_1.pdf (PAGE 2 highlights the purpose of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Page 64 & 65 describe Masaryk Towers project)

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