Council member backs Acuity’s plans to skip affordable component at Chelsea condo

Corey Johnson recommends developer's application for approval
September 21, 2016 12:30PM

42 West 18th Street (credit: Acuity) and Corey Johnson

The City Council showed support Tuesday for Acuity Capital Partners’ plans to exclude an affordable housing component at its proposed Chelsea condominium building, effectively ending months of speculation.

At a committee hearing Tuesday, Council member Corey Johnson, who represents the neighborhood, expressed support for the administration’s position, Politico reported. The proposal for the new building at 42 West 18th Street is now set for subcommittee and Council approval.

Johnson said he supports the developer’s application because the project will contribute to the character and quality of the district, according to Politico.

“The applicant has committed to working with me and my community to find a way to protect our limited supply of affordable housing,” Johnson said.

Last month, the City Planning Commission voted the developers would not have to make 25 to 30 percent of its units affordable. The commission agreed with Acuity’s view that the policy, which forces developers of new projects to include affordable housing in exchange for increased square footage on a site, does not apply. The developer argued it was not seeking more square footage, just more flexibility in the shape of the building.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer argued that as the project is growing in size, the mandatory inclusionary housing rules apply. The developer has offered to help pay for affordable housing elsewhere in the city, in order to avoid being subject to the policy.

“I am disappointed the Council appears ready to accept this,” a spokesperson for Brewer told the website. “I will be closely scrutinizing every single land-use application that comes before my office, and I will fight hard against anything that undermines the city’s affordable housing programs,” she said.

Last week, The Real Deal reported on how rising tensions around the interpretation and implementation of de Blasio’s affording housing policy is causing major anxiety for developers and stalled projects.  [Politico]Miriam Hall