City Council votes down first private development under MIH

Developers sought rezoning to create a bigger building in Inwood with affordable units

Bill de Blasio, Ydanis Rodriguez and Melissa Mark-Viverito
Bill de Blasio, Ydanis Rodriguez and Melissa Mark-Viverito

The City Council has put the kibosh on the first private development proposed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature housing plan.

In a 45-0 vote, the council opposed a rezoning for an Inwood apartment project after Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez denounced the project this week, according to the New York Daily News. “I listened to my community loud and clear,” Rodriguez said, referring to constituents who opposed a rezoning that would allow developers to build a taller building, albeit one with a significant number of affordable units.

With rezoning approval, the project on the corner of Broadway and Sherman Avenue could have been as high as 17 stories with around 175 affordable units, the Daily News reported. Without an agreement with the city, developers Washington Square Partners and Acadia Realty Trust can still construct a 14-story market-rate building. Documents submitted to the city for an environmental review show the developers had also pushed for a 17-story building with 413 apartments, including 124 affordable units.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

After waffling, Rodriguez declared his opposition to the project this week, saying it wasn’t in the community’s best interest to approve a rezoning.

The project was the first private development proposed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rules, under which developers must incorporate affordable housing into projects that require city approval, such as rezonings.

In recent weeks, the mayor has faced pushback from political allies who’ve come out against certain individual projects.

On Tuesday, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito dismissed the notion that voting down the Inwood project would cast a shadow on the administration’s lofty goal of creating or preserving 200,000 affordable housing units. “Every project in every district is different,” she said. “I don’t see it again being in any sort of way an indication of where we’re heading with MIH.”  [NYDN]E.B. Solomont