RFP to seek builder for Hell’s Kitchen lot
The city Economic Development Corp. will soon issue an RFP seeking a builder for an all-affordable residential building on a city-owned parking lot at 11th Avenue at West 39th Street in Hell’s Kitchen. The plan to build on the lot, now used mainly to park Police Department vehicles, has the support of the local community board, which sent a letter in favor of the plan in May, citing rising rents and an increase in market rate residential units going up in the area. The building will also include commercial and community space, according to DNAinfo. The EDC said it aims for 100 percent affordable housing, but the portion will depend on the developer’s plans.
Audit finds statistics are the only thing NYCHA fixed
An audit uncovered evidence that NYCHA officials, rather than making repairs on the city’s public housing developments, in many cases used administrative tricks to reduce the number of repairs in the agency’s backlog. City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office found NYCHA habitually counted jobs as complete in cases where staff arrived to perform repairs to find tenants not at home, even when no actual work was done, the New York Daily News reported. The incomplete jobs involved missing carbon monoxide detectors, leaky ceilings, faulty stoves, asbestos and other safety matters. Housing officials acknowledged slow progress resolving the backlog, which stood at 420,000 jobs in 2013. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the agency claimed it reduced the backlog to 120,000 jobs, but Stringer’s audit cast doubt on the accuracy of that figure.
Mayor defends housing lottery policy
Mayor de Blasio defended the long-standing policy of reserving 50 percent of affordable units granted in housing lotteries for residents in response to a new lawsuit. The Anti-Discrimination Center, led by Craig Gurian, executive director, filed suit in federal court last month, claiming the so-called “outsider restriction policy” discriminates against minorities, who the advocacy group claimed are concentrated in a relatively small number of communities, Capital New York reported. If the suit succeeds, it could hamper the mayor’s drive to create new affordable housing by removing a crucial political incentive for local leaders, who would no longer be able to guarantee a minimum number of affordable lottery units for constituents.
More criticism of city’s Sandy recovery efforts
New York’s Hurricane Sandy recovery program, Build it Back, continues to face harsh criticism from local residents and city and federal officials. Staten Island Borough President James Oddo denounced the city’s efforts in profane terms in a meeting with city officials earlier this summer. That followed criticism from federal housing officials, who said de Blasio’s administration is moving too slowly to repair homes and compensate residents, the Wall Street Journal reported. The city has built 779 homes, disbursed 3,968 checks and spent around $250 million of $1.7 billion earmarked to rebuild single-family homes. Critics say New York State and New Jersey have distributed a much larger proportion of planned aid than the city. The mayor, whose administration harshly criticized how the Bloomberg administration handled Sandy relief, defended his team’s efforts, citing reduced red tape and a recent influx of federal cash for repairs.