Phipps looks to rezone Bronx site for 220-unit Mandatory Inclusionary Housing project

Developer says a “small portion” of units could be set aside for households earning up to $95K per year

1675 Westchester Avenue (credit: Google Maps) and Phipps' President and CEO Adam Weinstein
1675 Westchester Avenue (credit: Google Maps) and Phipps' President and CEO Adam Weinstein

Nonprofit developer Phipps Houses wants to rezone a property in the Soundview section of the Bronx to make way for a 220-unit affordable housing project under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which has hit its share of bumps since it became law a year ago.

Phipps is teaming up to develop the 13-story, 200,000-square-foot project with the health-services nonprofit Acacia Network, which purchased the development site at 1675 Westchester Avenue for $3.2 million in 2014.

A representative for Phipps declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Council Member Annabel Palma – who, as the local council member, will hold the key vote in approving or denying the application – did not respond to requests for comment.

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Phipps and Acacia are looking to rezone the plot from R6 – which allows for a base floor-to-area ratio of up to 2.43 – to an R8A zone, which would set the maximum FAR at 7.02 when an inclusionary housing bonus is factored in.

According to an application filed with the city’s Department of Planning, the developers plan to set aside at least half of the project’s units for renters earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, which in 2017 works out to $57,240 for a family of four. They expect that the “majority” of the remaining units would be set aside for households earning up to 80 percent of AMI, while “a small portion may be made available to households earning up to 100 percent” of the area median income, or $95,400 for a family of four.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandatory inclusionary housing policy has enjoyed some successes since the city council approved it in March 2016 – such as the 100 percent affordable La Central project in the Bronx – the program has seen some high profile setbacks. And not just from market-rate developers.

Phipps was at the center of an MIH debate last year when it pulled an application in September to rezone a site in Sunnyside after local community members voiced their opposition.

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