Tenants Drop Lawsuit Over New York City’s Controversial Plan for Private Towers on Public Housing Land

Development, East, Urbanism
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Tenants have officially withdrawn a lawsuit over a Bloomberg-era plan to allow developers to build residential towers on New York City public housing land. The Land-Lease Plan, as it is known, would have allowed the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to essentially infill open land at their housing developments with new market-rate and low-income apartments.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Appoints Housing Team

Development, East, Shft+Alt+Del
Thursday, February 13, 2014
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De Blasio Announces Housing Team

De Blasio announces his housing team. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced four key appointments to his housing team. The mayor selected Shola Olatoye—a former vice president at the affordable housing non-profit Enterprise Community Partners—to chair the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). He also announced that Cecil House will stay on as the authority’s General Manager.

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New Website Tracks NYCHA’s Backlog of Repairs.  NYCHA Watchlist (Courtesy of AN) Public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is bringing some transparency to New York City Public Housing Authority‘s shockingly long backlog of repairs with a new website called the NYCHA watch list. Tenants can now keep tabs on the number of outstanding repair requests in their building and see how long these requests have been sitting on the back burner. The website also catalogs the “most neglected housing developments” according to number of repairs with Grant on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan topping the list.

 

Five NYC Mayoral Candidates Camp Out in Public Housing for One Night.  NYCHA Housing (Courtesy of eastcolfax/Flickr) Mayor candidates experienced first hand just what it is like to live in New York City public housing this Saturday. DNA Info reported that Reverend Al Sharpton, affiliated with the National Action Network, organized a sleepover for five of the contenders: Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, and Anthony Weiner. The mayoral hopefuls camped out overnight in sleeping bags in the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been plagued by budget cuts and a 4000,000 back log of repairs, only exacerbated by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: eastcolfax/Flickr)

 

NYCHA to Lease Parcels of Land within Eight Public Housing Developments

East
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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New York City Public Housing Developments (Courtesy of NYCHA)

New York City Public Housing Developments (Courtesy of NYCHA)

After much speculation, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has officially announced its plan to lease parcels of land right in the middle of eight public housing developments in Manhattan to private developers. For several months, NYCHA officials have held meetings at the proposed sites, but the plans have been met with criticism from residents and local government representatives.

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NYCHA Ticks Off 73,000 Work Orders from Its Backlog.  NYCHA Maintenance & Repair Action Plan (Courtesy of NYCHA) The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is starting to make a dent in its epically long backlog of repairs. The agency just announced that that it has completed 73,000 work orders, which leaves them with 349,479 to go. Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA launched an action plan back in January to reduce the backlog, and with $10 million from City Council, the agency has be able to hire 176 workers to specifically help with maintenance and repairs. [Image: Courtesy NYCHA]

 

NYCHA’s Green Thumb: New Affordable Housing Complex Opens With Rooftop Farm

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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(Courtesy NYC Housing Development Corporation)

(Courtesy NYC Housing Development Corporation)

It has been a rocky few months for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), but the battered agency finally has some good news to report. State officials announced the opening of the Arbor House, a 124-unit affordable housing complex, located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, that is not only LEED Platinum certified, but also features a hydroponic farm on the roof that supplies residents and the surrounding community with fresh produce. Built from local and recycled materials, the 8-story building was designed by New York-based ABS Architecture and includes a living green wall installation in the lobby, air-filtration systems, and indoor and outdoor exercise areas.

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NYCHA Chairman Fesses Up, Discusses Hurricane Sandy Response Shortcomings

East
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Red Hook Houses (Courtesy of Shelley Bernstein/Flickr)

Red Hook Houses (Courtesy of Shelley Bernstein/Flickr)

After much silence, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea revealed at a panel on Tuesday that the cash-strapped agency failed to adequately prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The super storm left 80,000 tenants without heat or power for several weeks, exposing the weak infrastructure and fragility of over 250 buildings, and also the agency’s disorganization.

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A Boost in Federal Funds Expedite Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

East
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg/ESTO)

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg/ESTO)

Now that Congress has passed the $51 billion emergency aid package, Mayor Bloomberg is forging ahead with the recovery plans. The City will set aside $1.77 billion in federal funds dedicated to rebuilding homes, businesses, public housing and infrastructure that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg did, however, warn that it could likely take a few months for the programs “to be approved and implemented.” Since the storm, the city, in conjunction with FEMA, has helped homeowners in New York through its Rapid Repairs Program. Read More

Luxury High Rises Could Sprout Among New York’s Public Housing Towers

East
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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The Alfred E. Smith Houses in Manhattan. (Manuel Menal / Flickr)

The Alfred E. Smith Houses in Manhattan. (Manuel Menal / Flickr)

Luxury high rises could soon crop up right next to public housing. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), saddled with a $60 million deficit and a backlog of 420,000 repairs, is in quite a fix and has come up with one possible, and potentially controversial, solution to raise the money. According to a recent story in The Daily News, the over-extended agency is planning on leasing playgrounds, parks, and community centers within public housing complexes to private developers who would be allowed to build a total of 4,330 apartments.

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A Win for NYC Tenants: A New Bill Holds Landlords Accountable

East
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Workers repair a water leak. (Courtesy Enokson/Flickr)

Workers repair a water leak. (Courtesy Enokson/Flickr)

It will now be increasingly difficult and costly for New York landlords to flip properties by making quick fixes to buildings that require major structural repairs and improvements. The New York City Council passed a bill yesterday that will allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to clamp down on landlords who don’t “repair underlying conditions that lead to repeat violations” stated the City Council in a press release.

These violations could include leaks or damaged roofs that lead to mold, which could have a deleterious effect on a tenants “quality of life, health, and safety.” The new legislation will give the owner a four-month period to take the proper measures to fix the problem and provide proof of their compliance. Landlords could face penalties of $1,000 per unit or a minimum of $5,000 if they fail to comply with the order by deadline.

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Archtober Building of the Day #12: Betances Community Center

East
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

When is a Center really a center? Well first of all it’s got to have a center, don’t you think? The Betances Community Center has a splendid gym holding strong in the middle of the plan, full of warm, white light modulated by the south-facing glass block wall and monitor side walls of Kalwall. Originally intended to house a boxing ring and bright orange bleacher seating, the space is now multi-purpose with the bleachers accordioned to the walls; the famous boxing program moved elsewhere. Even without the ring, the architecture packs a wallop of clarity, modesty, attention to detail, and programmatic resolution.

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