NYCHA to press ahead with infill development plan

"We believe inaction is unacceptable," Olatoye says

From left: NYCHA’s Shola Olatoye, Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill and Holmes Towers in Yorkville
From left: NYCHA’s Shola Olatoye, Wyckoff Gardens in Boerum Hill and Holmes Towers in Yorkville

Whether tenants like it or not, the city is moving forward with its plan to build apartments on underutilized New York City Housing Authority land, NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye said Tuesday. 

Speaking at Holmes Towers at 403 East 93rd Street in Yorkville, which is one of the first sites NYCHA is targeting for new construction, Olatoye took heat from residents about the proposed development, according to Politico. She said that despite tenants’ concerns, the plans would move forward.

“We believe inaction is unacceptable,” she said.

The plan, which goes by many names — “infill housing,” NextGen Neighborhoods, 50/50 — is expected to bring in an estimated $300 million to $600 million in revenue for the agency. NYCHA’s has $17 billion in unmet capital needs and money brought in would be used for much-needed repairs for its facilities. 

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At the meeting, residents said the agency should find another way to fund repairs.

“How can the government find $4 billion to fund a Penn Station renovation but find no money for public housing?” asked Darnell Brown, a resident at Holmes Towers, according to Curbed. 

Holmes Towers has two 25-story buildings with 537 units on 2.8 acres of land, a fraction of the total 16.2 acre property. One new building with 350 to 400 units is planned there. The second chosen site, Wyckoff Gardens in Brooklyn, has three 21-story buildings with 527 units on less than an acre of the 5.8 acres of land, and will receive 550 to 650 new units. Other announced sites that will see infill housing include Mill Brook, Van Dyke, and Ingersoll, but Olatoye did not reveal any new names at the meeting Tuesday, saying only that up to 30 developments would lease land over the course of a decade.  [Politico and Curbed]Dusica Sue Malesevic