NYCHA’s land lease program survives Council’s legal attack

Michael Bloomberg and Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side
Michael Bloomberg and Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side

A Manhattan state judge has dismissed a City Council-backed lawsuit that aimed to delay the New York City Housing Authority’s controversial land lease program. The program would raise revenue for repairs and capital projects by permitting building of market-rate apartments on the grounds of eight different public housing projects in Manhattan.

The suit – brought by the Council and a group of tenants — intended to stall the plans until after Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term is up, but Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that it had been filed prematurely, and that the complaint was “unripe.”

“We Are Pleased With The Court decision, which will enable NYCHA to pursue the land lease initiative that we anticipate will bring tens of millions of dollars annually to make necessary repairs to our infrastructure,” Sheila Stainback, a spokesperson for NYCHA, told Capital New York.

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But City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement to The Website That The Court’s decision was about timing –“not an affirmation of NYCHA’s authority to implement the land lease initiative.”

A separate lawsuit — brought by groups including the Urban Justice Center and the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project – is still pending, according to Capital New York. [Capital NY]Hiten Samtani