NYCHA’s Rhea defends luxury development plan to state lawmakers

Linda Rosenthal and John Rhea
Linda Rosenthal and John Rhea

New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea told state lawmakers that “every penny” of funds raised from the agency’s controversial plan to allow market-rate development on public housing land “will be used for capital improvements,” the Lo-Down reported.

Rhea was speaking to members of the New York State Assembly, including Linda Rosenthal, Keith Wright and Brian Kavanagh.

As previously reported, the agency aims to raise over $50 million annually by leasing public housing land to luxury developers, in an effort to raise funds for much-needed repairs.

During the meeting, Rhea sketched a timeline of the process, saying that requests for proposals will be released by the end of April and further details on the plan will go up on NYCHA’s website later this week.

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“NYCHA is at risk,” Rhea said.

However, Assembly members criticized NYCHA for being uncommunicative about its plans. Not only has NYCHA failed to demonstrate sufficient “tenant engagement” for this plan, they said, but lawmakers and residents have also not received details on the proposal.

For his part, Rhea said that he has held public meetings at five of the eight affected developments — five of which are located on the Lower East Side. But Rosenthal, who represents Manhattan’s Upper West Side, said “collecting sign-in sheets does not mean there has been engagement.” [Lo-Down]Zachary Kussin