More than a month ago, local elected officials and three Manhattan community boards sent Mayor Bloomberg a letter requesting a meeting concerning NYCHA’s plan to lease public housing property for private development. Today they got a response (see above for the version sent to Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh). While the mayor agreed to set up a meeting with NYCHA leadership, he also signaled that his administration is in no mood for compromise.
The letter includes an attachment offering new information about the plan at various Lower East Side developments. Some highlights:
- 405 apartments would be created in a new 374,450 square foot building at the Baruch Houses (currently a parking lot)
- 97 apartments would be created in a 90,000 square foot building at Campos Plaza (currently parking lot & basketball courts)
- 276 apartments would be created on two parcels (255,000 square feet) at the LaGuardia Houses (currently parking lots)
- 97 apartments would be created in a 90,000 square foot building at Meltzer Towers (currently a seating area)
- 1,151 apartments would be created on two parcels (1.65 million square feet) at the Smith Houses (currently a parking lot, baseball field).
So that’s a total of 2.026 new apartments on the Lower East Side — about 400 of them designated as permanently affordable. As a point of reference, the plan would create twice as much housing as the Seward Park development project on nine parcels along Delancey Street.
UPDATE 3/20/2013: Last night we spoke with Assemblyman Kavanagh, who said he’s encouraged to see NYCHA finally sharing more information about the plan. He remains hopeful that officials will move quickly to fill in details that are still missing. It’s too early, he said, to assess whether the total amount of affordable housing (20%) is sufficient or whether he and other elected officials will collectively push NYCHA to up the affordability levels. Kavanagh said a big priority for him is making sure that the affordable apartments in the new buildings are truly affordable to low-income residents, including current NYCHA tenants. On Friday, NYCHA Chair John Rhea said the agency would create a framework to assure private developers lease apartments to low-income families, but so far there has been no concrete information about how they would go about accomplishing this goal.