Affordability dispute delays W. 57th St. project

Councilwoman insists affordable housing should be permanent at Durst Fetner Residential’s pyramid project
January 31, 2013 09:30AM

Final City Council approval for Durst Fetner Residential’s development at 625 West 57th Street is being stymied by a dispute over an affordable housing provision, Crain’s reported.

The council was expected to vote Tuesday on the fate of the 32-story, 753-unit pyramid-shaped development in Hell’s Kitchen near the Hudson River, which had received approval from the City Planning Commission in December.

But the affordable housing issue pushed the meeting to today. As part of the city’s 80/20 program, 150 units are slated to be affordable, a provision for which Durst Fetner received tax abatements. The developer, however, is only promising to keep the units affordable for 35 years, and Councilwoman Gale Brewer along with the community board have said that the affordability should be permanent.

In response, Durst Fetner said that it cannot do this as it only has a 99-year lease on the property, located between 56th and 57th Streets and 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway. To placate Brewer, the developer said it would add 20 more affordable units by redeveloping a self-storage building it owns on the corner of 57th Street and 11th Avenue. But Brewer was not convinced.

“The issue is real affordable housing,” Jesse Bodine, a spokesman for Brewer, told Crain’s. “Nobody has a real issue with the design. It’s the affordable housing. They always say ‘No, no, no, no, no’ to permanent affordability to the end, and the community won’t stand for it.” [Crain’s]Hiten Samtani