Inwood affordable housing project moves forward after rezoning fight

Featuring a new library, the 14-story development is the culmination of a lengthy legal dispute

Renderings of The Eliza Apartments at the Redeveloped Inwood Library (New York Housing Conference)
Renderings of The Eliza Apartments at the Redeveloped Inwood Library (New York Housing Conference)

After a legal battle that lasted nearly three years, Inwood’s first affordable housing project since the revival of the neighborhood’s controversial rezoning is moving ahead.

The 14-story development at 4790 Broadway, known as The Eliza, will feature 174 affordable housing units and a 20,000 square-foot public library upon its completion in 2023. Financed by the city as well as a $5 million grant from the Robin Hood Foundation, the project is expected to cost around $100 million, the city said.

Units will include a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments affordable for households earning 60 percent of the area median income or below. Certain units will be reserved for those earning 30 percent AMI or less, while others will go to the formerly homeless.

The Eliza is a product of a rezoning intended to bring thousands of new affordable housing units as well as commercial and market-rate residential development to Inwood.

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Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Getty, Facebook via Salamanca Jr.)
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The City Council voted to approve the rezoning in 2018, but it stalled for nearly three years amid local opposition. After a group of community activists filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that Black and Latino residents would be displaced, a state judge nullified the rezoning in 2019. The de Blasio administration appealed that decision and an appellate court reinstated the rezoning in 2020.

“It’s a good project in the wrong place,” said Paul Epstein, an Inwood resident and co-chair of Inwood Legal Action, one of the groups that opposed the rezoning.

Epstein’s group had advocated for a new library to be built at an alternative site, in order to keep the old library open for residents during construction. But after the rezoning was revived last year, the city moved forward with plans to build a new library, along with the affordable housing development, at its current location. A temporary library site will open nearby at 4857 Broadway.