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Thread: 50 West Street - by Helmut Jahn

  1. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    You're still missing the main point.

    The developer is getting a tax abatement. If he wasn't getting it, there would be no issue about affordable housing. At present, he is allowed to get the abatement without 80/20 because the law hasn't been changed.

    It's legal.

    But on the other hand, the developer is asking for a variance, and since he is getting something for nothing (the abatement), the CB thinks he should give something back (affordable housing, pedestrian bridge, whatever).

    It's also legal.
    He's willing to give computers and make a public plaza. That should be enough. Menin and others want to hold him over a barrel and extort subsidized housing. It's absurd. The free market should sort things out -- not Julie Menin and her henchmen.

  2. #107

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    ^
    Computers? Give me a break.

    Plazas? Been there, done that
    .

    If the free market should sort things out, there shouldn't be any subsidies at all.

  3. #108
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    One of the things that makes NYC great is that everyone rubs up against each other -- all of us learn from that. Overall it is good for a democratic society that citizens of different economic levels live in proximity to one another.

    Perhaps the following attitude is one of the reasons that people of all sorts aren't flooding the housing markets in Tennessee ...

    Quote Originally Posted by NewYorkDoc View Post

    A friend from Tennessee visited me last week and I told her that there are projects near my apartment. She replied, "Well, I would'nt like that. They shouldnt be so close to each other ...

  4. #109

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    Thanks Zippy and Lofter! Actually, at the new Barclay Towers, in order to qualify for the 'affordable' units, the 'poor people' must earn a minimum of $62k.

  5. #110
    Senior Member NewYorkDoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by econ_tim View Post
    It's an interesting discussion. I'm originally from Tennessee, where people can live quite comfortably on an income that would qualify for affordable housing in Manhattan. Of course jobs might not be as plentiful.

    What income qualifies people for affordable housing in NYC? Anyone?

  6. #111

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    Perhaps the following attitude is one of the reasons that people of all sorts aren't flooding the housing markets in Tennessee ...
    Hey . . . No fair singling out TN (especially based on this one anecdote). It seems that a lot of New Yorkers have the same attitude.

  7. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewYorkDoc View Post
    What income qualifies people for affordable housing in NYC? Anyone?
    According to the city (link) it is 50% of the area median income.

    What is the 80/20 Program?
    The 80/20 Program, sponsored by the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), uses tax-exempt bonds to create affordable housing for low-income tenants in generally desirable locations throughout the City. The use of tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of large residential buildings in the City greatly reduces costs. In exchange for the low-cost financing, 20% of the apartment units are reserved for low-income tenants earning no more than 50% of area median income. (See Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent and Income Limits). The apartments are not necessarily labeled "80/20" in advertisements, but would say "affordable housing."
    I don't know exactly what the areas are, but I found the following data from the 2000 census:

    Code:
    Community District Median Household Income
    Manhattan 1  $79,475
    Manhattan 2  $65,490
    Manhattan 3  $28,745
    Manhattan 4  $50,580
    Manhattan 5  $69,075
    Manhattan 6  $68,940
    Manhattan 7  $74,124
    Manhattan 8  $27,365
    Manhattan 9  $19,920
    Manhattan 10  $21,295
    Manhattan 11  $28,865
    so you could earn almost $40k a year and qualify in district 1.

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    It's my opinion. The developer stated in the article that construction costs will be $1,000/s.f. If he adds affordable housing, his profit will drop. Private developers shouldn't be saddled with aiding the poor and middle-class.
    There's a difference between a cut into the profit margin and no profits. As you are suggesting, it is very likely that the project will be profitable even with an affordable housing component. I also think an estimated construction cost of $1,000SF is extremely inflated.

  9. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    There's a difference between a cut into the profit margin and no profits. As you are suggesting, it is very likely that the project will be profitable even with an affordable housing component. I also think an estimated construction cost of $1,000SF is extremely inflated.
    I respect your opinion that expressed by others. However, if a developer is going to tie-up a lot of capital and take the risk of a housing downturn, he should be able to make all the profit he can.

  10. #115
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Once the developer puts some money into a few items that the "community" wants (in return for the variance granted by the City) the developer should indeed "make all the profit he can". Although it might not be all the profit he wants. But when was the last time you made all the profit you wanted on any given project / job?

  11. #116

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    C.B. 1 OKs luxury tower on West with conditions

    By Skye H. McFarlane

    The 50 West St. tower can rise to 63 stories, so long as a good chunk of the windfall lands squarely within Community Board 1 and the Greenwich South neighborhood, the board said Tuesday night.

    Board 1 essentially yellow-lighted the proposed hotel and condominium. The board voted to approve the glassy tower’s two land-use actions, but only if the developer and the city fulfill a laundry list of 13 wide-ranging conditions.

    To mitigate the impact of 150 hotel rooms and 300 apartments filled with new, wealthy residents, the community is insisting that the developer, Time Equities, fulfill its promises to provide a public art gallery within the building, as well as a laptop program for I.S. 89.

    In addition, the community stressed in its five-page resolution that Time Equities must build affordable housing Downtown, overhaul two small neighborhood parks and facilitate the construction of a pedestrian bridge over West St. The developer must also conduct its demolition and construction work using the safest, greenest and least disruptive techniques available.

    The board’s most stringent requirement, however, addresses the city. Because one of the land-use actions would allow Time Equities to purchase 180,000 square feet of air rights from over the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the city would stand to receive a significant profit from the development. The community is determined that 100 percent of the proceeds — likely in the tens of millions of dollars — be spent on projects within Lower Manhattan.

    Chief among the community’s priorities for the money are the creation of affordable housing, the development of green space and sports fields, and the implementation of the Downtown Alliance streetscape program along Washington St. The board also asked the city to eliminate an extra 190,000 square feet of air rights that would be created by the land-use action, so that no future developer could ever apply to purchase them.

    “These can’t just be pie-in-the-sky dreams,” said C.B. 1 Chairperson Julie Menin of the board’s conditions. “We really need concrete guarantees that we are going to get these things.”

    Menin favored rejecting the project unless the conditions were met, but she couldn’t convince enough of her fellow board members to go along. She yielded when the language was change from “support” to “conditionally support.” The advisory resolution passed 34 to 5 with three abstensions.

    Legally, the board’s opinion must be considered as a part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. However, the borough president’s office and the Department of City Planning also get to review the proposal. Because the application includes de-mapping a city street, the City Council will have the final say on the plan, even though C.B. 1 voted yes. Under most ULURPs, City Planning has the final say when the community board votes yes. If the Council approves the plan, Time Equities will purchase the air rights and create a pedestrian plaza along Ward St., the dark, narrow alley that separates the Battery Tunnel from 50 West St. to the north.

    By rights, the developer can already take down the 13-story building on the site (known as the “copper-top” because the roof is painted green to look like copper patina). Current zoning, which caps bulk but not height, would then allow a 30- to 40-story building. By adding the 40-foot wide plaza — which would contain trees, cobblestone pavers and an outdoor café — the developer would earn the right to build another five to seven stories. That, combined with the air rights purchase, would put the building at a little over 500,000 square feet (63 stories under the current design).

    There was much debate among board members over how to evaluate the proposed building. Many board members liked the building’s curving, near-transparent façade, designed by noted architect Helmut Jahn. They universally approved of Time Equities plan to seek a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Buildings Council. The building would also bring in customers to bolster the local retail scene.

    To offset some of the building’s impact on the overcrowded local schools, Time Equities has proposed to provide laptops for all of the children in I.S. 89, along with maintenance and insurance for four years. The laptops would allow I.S. 89 to give its computer room to P.S. 89, which would convert the space into two regular classrooms to help alleviate acute class-size problems.

    “There are other concerns with this project, but from a youth and education standpoint, we need the school space,” said Paul Hovitz, chair of the board’s Youth and Education Committee. “If we don’t do this, we are left to depend upon the [Department of Education] to address the overcrowding and we’ve seen how well that works out.”

    After the community asked repeatedly for an art space in the building, Time Equities proposed to include a public art component, possibly light installations, in the hotel portion of the project. However, board members agreed that the laptops and the public art would not be enough to offset the extra stress that the new residents would put on local parks, schools and transportation systems.

    Time Equities’ refusal to voluntarily include affordable housing in any of its Downtown projects also irked many board members, especially when a representative of the developer suggested that those people who could not afford to live in the neighborhood could always move to Brooklyn. Time will get state tax abatements as of right. A new version of the 421-a program would require Downtown developers to invest in affordable housing to get the tax benefits, but the bill, expected to pass June 21, will not take effect until June 2008.

    “I really feel that the city can and should do more to press the developer to create affordable housing elsewhere in the district,” said board member Barry Skolnick.

    A small number of board members wanted to reject the project altogether because of its large scale and precedent-setting use of city air rights. Others, including Menin, wanted to phrase the board’s opinion as a conditional rejection. The negative language, they felt, would make a stronger statement. The board compromised on “conditionally supports.”

    Board members reasoned that since City Planning worked with the developers to craft the ULURP application, it would be unlikely that the City Council would outright reject the proposal. The Economic Development Corporation, the Battery Park City Authority and State Senator Martin Connor have also spoken in favor of the project. Councilmember Alan Gerson, who was involved in the negotiations with the developer, has not yet given his full support to the building, but his aide, David Feiner, has spoken in favor of the project at two different board meetings.

    Therefore, the board decided it would be better not to fight the construction of the building, which will be very large regardless of the zoning variances. Instead they will fight to ensure that both the city and the developer make significant reinvestments in the neighborhood.

    “I think it’s more than likely that we’ll get this building whether we like it or not,” said Battery Park City Committee chairperson Linda Belfer at a meeting Monday night. “We might as well get something in the way of mitigation.”

    http://downtownexpress.com/de_215/cb1oksluxury.html

    ---------
    How about this letter to the editor?

    A Downtown shame

    To The Editor:
    I was appalled after reading the article about building at 50 West St. (news article, June 15 – 21, “Developer says ‘no’ to affordable housing, so C.B. 1 considers saying ‘right back at you’”). How dare Philip Gesue say that if you cannot live in Manhattan, move to Brooklyn. What nerve. What all the developers that are coming into Lower Manhattan fail to realize is that there would not be a Lower Manhattan if not for the original occupants who moved down here 20 to 30 years ago. These developers are not bettering the neighborhood, they are destroying it. Robert De Niro came in saying he was there to bring life back after 9/11. He certainly brought life back into the area but for the rich and famous. You cannot even find a parking space on Greenwich St. because all of the limos that are parked there. And the Tribeca Film Festival isn’t for those of us who have lived there all our lives. Who can afford $18 to $25 to get into see all of the movies that are shown there?

    And what about the World Trade Center? A memorial should have been up already to honor those who perished. All everyone is interested in is making a buck, not honoring those who died. If we get rid of ground zero, there will be no more tourist attraction. Maybe that is the reason everyone is dragging their tails on this.Shame on all of the politicians who are allowing this to happen. Shame on Community Board 1 if they allow Mr. Gesue to get away with what he is proposing and for saying what he said and shame on them if they allow him to build in our area. How many more highrises and hotels do we need?

    Lorraine Fittipaldi

    http://downtownexpress.com/de_215/le...theeditor.html
    ---------
    The amount of things the CB is requesting is absurd. Luckily it looks like this tower will go through still. And that last bolded comment, I don't even have anything to say for it. Why residents expect a neighborhood to be frozen in time anywhere in the country, let alone NYC, is beyond me.

  12. #117

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    The top isnt even real copper? Take it down now no hesitation.

    Let me get this straight, the CB is 'insisting' on two things (art gallery and lap tops) the developer already said he would do. and they want 100% profit put back in LM projects??????

  13. #118
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    No -- not 100% of the "profit" ...

    100% of the amount paid for the air rights from city owned property (which in in CB1; ergo: in Lower Manhattan).

  14. #119

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    oh, that makes more sense!

  15. #120
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Here is another renderings...


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