New York, New York
As everyone is aware now, Mayor William de Blasio Wilhelm has resuscitated his Housing New York program to provide way overdue affordable housing for your city’s most lower income earning residents in the niche, upper upper class towns of Soho and Noho (the latter of which is about 4 square blocks tops). Actually, only about 25% of 3200 apartments that are projected to be constructed will be earmarked for them. Which still doesn’t correlate with the hundreds of thousands of people who live check to check with 50 to 60% of that check going to rent and the near 70,000 people who don’t have a home at all..
But that’s going to be for the next post in process here. What this post is about is basically a spoiler alert for it and what de Blasio’s HPD plans will actually accomplish. Because this is unbelievable.
The building on the right from a picture taken in April last year is on 111 Varick St., which is also in Soho. Last year it gained local news attention when a construction worker got killed by a massive 7 ton concrete structure that snapped off a crane and crushed and dismembered his body while working in the early morning hours. For months it laid dormant because of building and worksite violations. Then passing by there back in January there was a peculiar site. A big banner for de Blasio’s HPD’s Housing New York was draped over the scaffolding.
It was really kind of a shock to see that this with Trump’s former luxury Soho Hotel tower down the block and a gargantuem lux building right across the street from it. I cynically thought that city just made that an “affordable” housing building because of the gruesome death tied to it and also considered that it’s just the city advertising their program but apparently not, because there was NYC D.O.B.work notification for mixed use plust that banner is on every affordable housing development. Like this recent one in East New York:
When de Blasio announced that he was going to finally open up Soho for affordable housing development, 111 Varick immediately came to mind and I made a brief jaunt to the city to see how this building was progressing. And it looked done. Plus the Housing New York banner was still affixed to the scaffolding although quite tattered.
Besides being the atypical fugly charcoal look that has become the default aesthetic of the majority of these new towers, the windows looked kind of big for the atypical “affordable” housing apartment or studio. But a few steps north and the incriminating proof was found about the dubious equity advertised on this building:
The new building, which apparently is titled untitled. is apparently leasing luxury abodes right now. For some reason, there is nothing on that bland black slab touting any city lottery distributed affordable housing.
But this is a “real” “affordable housing” building that was implemented by de Blasio’s HPD. The owner is an LLC (naturally), so you’re not going to find out anything else because of the city’s lax regulations regarding the identity of who or what group is behind them
Of the 75 apartments at the luxury building with no name, 25 are set aside as “affordable” (which makes this a 70-30 building). The pressing questions of course is what will be the “affordable” rents if this building is being advertised as “luxury” and what income levels will qualify for the “affordable” And a bigger question is where will the “affordable” apts. actually be in this luxury building? And will it have a poor door?
But the only answers for what this Housing New York building is truly about comes from the avocado toast hole of the buildings architect in an interview only a few months ago:
“Rooftop outdoor amenities and a landscaped terrace with barbecue provide lovely, unobstructed views toward downtown. 111 Varick also has an exercise room, meditation room, conference room, social lounge, club room with pool table, and kids’ playroom. These amenities were designed for young professionals, who we expect to be the major tenant group in this building.”
As this shows and in conclusion, the crux of de Blasio’s neoliberal Housing New York program and the Gentrification Industrial Complex of government and real estate developer’s prime motive behind it is to make housing affordable mostly for the wealthier.