NYCHA Luxury Tower Plan Prompts Outrage

Residents who live in the affected developments say the towers would block out their sun and consume recreational space

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The city Housing Authority's plan to lease public land to developers to build luxury housing, including towers dozens of stories tall is under fire from public housing residents. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

    The city Housing Authority's plan to lease public land to developers to build luxury housing, including towers dozens of stories tall is under fire from public housing residents.
    According to the Daily News, NYCHA released drawings Tuesday that show the colossal towers the agency wants constructed on rented space at eight Manhattan developments. 

    One of the buildings, a 700,000 square-foot tower at Smith Houses near the Brooklyn Bridge, would be 50 stories tall -- towering over New Yorkers in public housing so dilapidated a judge recently ordered NYCHA to fix thousands of  backlogged repairs.

    NYCHA told the News the towers "must achieve a high standard of architecture and design" due to their location "at the foreground of the Manhattan skyline." 
    The 50-story building near the Smith Houses would be built on a parking lot near two Sandy-damaged NYCHA properties. The agency wants to have a 35-story building built in the same parking lot, and another 35-story building constructed on a space that community children currently use to play baseball and other games.
    NYCHA has identified 18 pieces of public land at the eight developments on which it wants to have developers build the massive towers, which would offer 80 percent of their housing at market rate and 20 percent at affordable rates, according to the News.

    The cash-strapped agency believes the plan could generate up to $50 million a year that would help it address the backlog of repairs and be more efficient overall.

    An agency spokeswoman told the News NYCHA has been working closely with residents at the eight developments that would be affected, but tenant representatives at those sites told the paper residents had yet to even see the tower blueprints.
    Aixa Torres, tenant president at Smith Houses, said she was appalled by the implications.
    “We won’t have any sun. They’re going to literally squeeze my residents like they’re roaches and then they’re going to build this huge beautiful complex," Torres told the News. "You want to talk about the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ ”?
    Several city leaders called Tuesday for the plan to be suspended immediately because tenants at most of the affected developments resoundingly rejected it, the News said.

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