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New NYCHA Private Development Plan to Be Unveiled Today

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Public housing developments as seen from the Williamsburg Bridge. File photo by Joel Raskin.
Public housing developments as seen from the Williamsburg Bridge. File photo by Joel Raskin.

The scheme to build private apartments on public housing land is back.

Mayor de Blasio today will announce a comprehensive plan to stabilize New York’s financially troubled public housing authority. It includes a program to lease property alongside NYCHA buildings to private developers. A different version of the so-called “infill-housing” plan was advanced by Michael Bloomberg but abandoned in the face of strong opposition.

Details will be released at a 2 p.m. news conference, but the proposal is broadly outlined in this morning’s local newspapers. According to the New York Times, the city hopes to raise $500 million over 10 years by leasing property at a “yet to be announced number of housing complexes.”  The previous plan targeted sites on five Lower East Side NYCHA campuses. More from the Times:

(The Bloomberg proposal) required that only 20 percent of the units be affordable to lower-income households and raised fears among residents that it could lead to the eventual privatization of public housing buildings. In the proposal’s current iteration, half of the rental units in new buildings would charge market rates and the other half would charge rents affordable to low-income households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, officials said. Separately, the Housing Authority would give developers land, in exchange for $200 million in fees over 10 years, to build 10,000 low-rent apartments starting at three housing projects — Van Dyke and Ingersoll in Brooklyn and Mill Brook in the Bronx. The units will count toward the mayor’s goal of 80,000 new affordable units over a decade, officials said.

Other aspects of the plan call for stepping up rent collections (now at only 74%) and charging more for parking. Right now, a space in a NYCHA lot costs about $300/year. The Times reports:

Current tenants, who will be offered the spaces first, will be charged up to $150 a month. Any unclaimed spots will then be offered to the public at market rates.

NYCHA has an operating deficit of $98 million and its buildings require an infusion of $16 billion.

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