NYCHA courts private developers, plans to lease out millions of square feet

September 24, 2012 03:00PM

The New York City Housing Authority is planning to lease millions of square feet of its property to private developers for mixed-use construction, Crain’s reported. The cash-strapped agency wants to transform parking spots, walkways and parks into at least 1,000 units of affordable housing and an undetermined number of market-rate residences. The project will not displace any public housing residents and no Housing Authority buildings will be destroyed for the project, according to NYCHA Chairman John Rhea.

“We’re not talking about selling NYCHA land, and this is not a plan to privatize public housing,” Rhea said at a breakfast hosted by hosted by the Association for a Better New York,  a non-profit dedicated to improving business and communities in NYC.

Funds generated through the plan would be earmarked for local community investment.

The announcement follows a swath of criticism regarding agency management, including six-figure salaries for board members, failing to repairs crumbling buildings and the revelation that the agency is sitting on nearly $1 billion of federal cash.

Although no sites have been selected, development could begin in Manhattan as early as 2013, Rhea said.

“Anything to stimulate new housing, affordable housing, for the workers of the city is very, very important,” William Rudin, presidentof Rudin Management and chairman of Association for a Better New York, said. “In terms of the development, we’ll be very interested to see the details of these potential opportunities. It’s a great public-private opportunity.” [Crain’s]Christopher Cameron