The Real Deal New York

Council member calls out NYCHA on private development plans

Ritchie Torres criticizes "slow and secretive manner” of agency's collaboration with developers

January 26, 2016 01:01PM

Ritchie Torres NYCHA

From left: Ritchie Torres and Shola Olatoye

City Council member Ritchie Torres has criticized the New York City Housing Authority’s plan to let private developers build apartments on city land as a means of raising money for the beleaguered, debt-ridden agency.

In a letter to NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye, Ritchie, who chairs the City Council’s public housing committee, expressed “serious concerns about the slow and secretive manner” in which the agency has rolled out its plans for the private developments.

The city has revealed details about five such projects – half-market rate, half-affordable developments at Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill and Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side, as well as 100 percent affordable projects at Ingersoll in Fort Greene, and Van Dyke in Brownsville and Mill Brook in Mott Haven, according to the New York Daily News.

But Torres criticized NYCHA for not revealing information about further developments beyond the initial five, not explaining how the agency calculated the $300 million to $600 million it expects to raise through the plan, and not revealing how much developers will have to pay to secure the rights to NYCHA property.

“It’s an example of bureaucracy being secretive for its own sake,” the Bronx Democrat wrote in the letter to Olatoye on Monday. “NYCHA can be its own worst enemy.” [NYDN]Rey Mashayekhi