Lawsuit claims 15 Hudson Yards discriminates with “poor doors”

Tenants say apartments, amenities are isolated; Related calls case frivolous

New York /
Jul.July 22, 2021 02:46 PM
The tenants who won the affordable housing lottery at 15 Hudson Yards say the units are in an “entirely separate part of the building and with a different address.” (Hudson Yards, District Court of New York)

The tenants who won the affordable housing lottery at 15 Hudson Yards say the units are in an “entirely separate part of the building and with a different address.” (Hudson Yards, District Court of New York)

Three prospective tenants of a Hudson Yards tower claim that Related Companies has ignored city and federal laws by separating the building’s lower-income residents from inhabitants of the luxury condo units.

Chanel Moody, Ayanda Carmichael and Ronnie Clark sued Related in federal court Thursday, alleging they won the city’s affordable housing lottery to live at what they thought was 15 Hudson Yards, only to find the units were in an “entirely separate part of the building and with a different address.”

The affordable apartments, which were marketed as 553 West 30th Street, also have a playroom and laundry room separate from the wealthy section, according to the complaint.

Moody said she was alarmed that she and her two children, ages 2 and 10, would not have access to the same amenities, including a swimming pool and fitness center, as the market-rate residents.

“I didn’t want to subject my kids to that,” Moody said in an interview arranged by her attorney, Mark Shirian. “I’m never going to let someone make me feel like a lesser person because I don’t make $100,000 a year.”

The lawsuit alleges that the affordable units were “segregated and isolated to specific lower floors, separate amenities, and at one point, a separate entrance.” The prospective tenants, who are Black, say the separation perpetuates segregation, given that the low-income units are largely occupied by minorities.

The lawsuit alleges that 15 Hudson Yards violates the Fair Housing Act and the city’s human rights laws.

A spokesperson for Related said the building has one lobby with two entrances that are “accessible to everyone who lives in or visits the building.” He called the lawsuit’s claims “categorically false.”

“This appears to be the case of a lawyer drawing up a frivolous lawsuit and seeking to chase a headline without any basis in actual fact,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

In 2015, a provision was added to the rent law barring the use of “poor doors” in buildings receiving the 421a tax break. Related was approved for 421a at 15 Hudson Yards before the change was made. The lawsuit implies that developers have found ways to work around the 2015 rule, which was sought by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Despite Mayor de Blasio banning ‘poor doors’ in New York City, real estate developers have intentionally discriminated and segregated against low-income residents when it comes to affordable housing,” the complaint states. “Nevertheless, what began as a ‘poor door’ has now evolved into the concept of a ‘poor building,’ with separate ‘poor addresses’ and ‘poor floors.’”





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