The Real Deal New York

Community board OKs AvalonBay’s East Harlem rental project

Some residents say the development is too big and unaffordable for locals

Melissa Mark Viverito, 321 East 96th Street on the Upper East Side and AvalonBay’s Tim Naughton
(Credit: Getty Images and CBRE)

Manhattan Community Board 11 approved AvalonBay Communities’ proposed 1,100-unit rental tower in East Harlem this week.

The real estate investment trust wants to build a 68-story mixed use development at 321 East 96th Street. The 1.3 million-square-foot development will also house three schools. The developer is partnering with the city on the project, which will set aside 30 percent of its apartments for affordable housing.

Some residents said that, while they welcomed building new schools, they are concerned about the size of the development and that it’s not affordable for locals, according to the publication. Ten percent of the affordable housing units will be available to households earning 40 percent of the area median income or below. The rest will be set aside for people making 60 percent of AMI, according to Politico.

The vice chair of the community board’s housing committee Xavier Santiago abstained from voting, saying he has asked the developer to set aside 50 percent of the units for affordable housing.

The board wants half of the units to be affordable, for there to be senior housing included and for the height to be reduced. Ultimately, the project’s future is in the hands of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as she represents the area.

“By the time it comes to me, a lot of time these projects have shifted based on the feedback from the community … all of which I take into account and deliberate whether I should support it.” Mark-Viverito told Politico.

The proposal still needs to clear several hurdles, including City Council approval, before it can move ahead. [Politico]Miriam Hall