Controversy Surrounds Construction of New Housing Developments

Controversy Surrounds Construction of New Housing Developments

Constructing new housing developments in the city rarely comes without controversy. Here is a look at a few developments – both those that have simply been proposed and those that are underway – and the controversy that has surrounded them.

Proposed East Harlem Rezoning Could Increase Housing Options

A rezoning effort proposed by Bill de Blasio could help to bring a 30-story building to East Harlem, thereby bringing some much-needed housing as well as additional retail space. The area under consideration is a stretch between 104thand 125th streets from Second Avenue to Park Avenue in addition to the space spanning from 126th Street onward to west of Fifth Avenue and north to 132nd Street.

Under the guidelines of the proposal, buildings of up to 30-stories in height would be allowed in some areas. As part of the rezoning effort, the area would also receive some transit improvements. Plans further call for a portion of the development to be targeted toward low and middle-income families, though it is not yet clear how much of the overall zoning would actually be in the form of affordable units. The proposal also calls for bringing more public space to the neighborhood as well as jobs.

Redevelopment Plans for Park Slope Key Food Receives Community Input

A new redevelopment plan for Park Slope Key Food was presented to the community in order to receive community input. The two-building development originally called for razing the existing structure and constructing two buildings that could hold a total of 165 rentals, 41 of which would be affordable. Community backlash, however, indicated that the affordability guidelines used with the plan set a median income that was too high for affordable housing in the area. Under the proposed plan, 20 percent of the apartments would be rented to families making 60 percent of the area median income, which was set at $51,000 for a family of four.

Residents also expressed concern that an inexpensive grocery store within the neighborhood would be lost in the process. The current grocery store in the area is 36,000-square-feet, while the development plans called for setting aside about 7,500-square-feet that could potentially be used for a grocery store.

Construction of The Fitzroy Leads to Art Gallery Closure

The Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea has been forced to close its doors. According to Weiss, the closure was not due to skyrocketing prices. Rather, the construction of The Fitzroy Art Deco-inspired luxury condos caused significant damage to the gallery, mostly due to the demolition of the previous building. Weiss also claims that he and his employees have been enduring verbal assaults from construction workers at the site. The gallery originally opened its doors on West 24thStreet in 2003.

The Fitzroy, which is being developed by JDS and Largo Investments, has not been issued any violations by the Department of Buildings related to the closing of the Mike Weiss Gallery. Upon completion, The Fitzroy will feature 14 two- to five-bedroom homes. Community amenities will include a 24-hour attended lobby, a fitness center, a wine cellar with a secure wine locker for each home, a climate-controlled storage room measuring up to 165-square-feet for each home, a landscaped rooftop lounge, a children’s art studio, an auxiliary laundry room and bicycle storage.