Friday News Round-Up

Hello all. Here are some things going on in the New York City housing world this week:

  • NY Daily News wrote an article on what it touts as “the smallest apartment in New York” – a 100 square foot apartment in Harlem going for $1,275 a month. Residential rooms must be at least 150 square feet according to City Housing Maintenance Code, but the developer, Shanghai Holdings, is filing to convert the building’s single-room occupancy status, and is advertising to single students and young professionals who might be willing to deal with the cramped space in exchange for relatively low rent.
  • Mayor Bloomberg has set aside $732 million for public housing repairs. Work has already begun at Kingsborough and Kingsborough Extension in Brooklyn. This effort is part of the New York City Housing Authority’s five-year public housing roadmap, Plan NYCHA.

“Unlike other cities around the country, our Administration is deeply committed to preserving and improving our public housing system, despite the major budgetary challenges involved in doing so,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’ve found creative ways to generate capital and reduce the backlog of repairs, and this bond issuance will further that progress.”

  •  Taconic Investment Partners, L + M Development partners, and BFC Partners were chosen by the city to redevelop the Seward Park urban renewal area on the Lower East Side. Their plans include 1,000 low, moderate, and middle-income apartments, an urban farm, a bowling alley, an Andy Warhol museum, retail space, and office space for tech companies. The site is in a gentrifying area that has a history of displacement – 2,000 families lost their homes when the tenements there were demolished in 1967. A community task force created a list of demands and they say this new proposal meets many of them – including a mix of market rate and affordable units and storm-strengthening of the buildings, which are not far from the East River.
  •  The Census Bureau released data on Thursday that confirms that New York City’s poverty rate is climbing. The percentage rose from 20.9% in 2011 to 21.2% in 2012, a difference of 1.7 million people. With wages staying the same, this means a lot of New Yorkers are struggling as the income gap widens. However, to get a broader perspective, among the 20 largest cities in the country, NYC has dropped from the 6th highest rate of poverty to the 13th since 2000.
  • A brownstone in Park Slope is up for sale for the first time in 50 years, after the death of its previous owners, the Ortners. The couple were involved in Park Slope’s revival, carefully renovating their brownstone, hosting a “back to the city” conference, and being instrumental in the landmarking of the Park Slope Historic district. The Observer wonders whether all of the Ortners’ restoration work will be scrapped in favor of a more modern, sleek, luxurious look for the new owners, who will be moving into a very different neighborhood than the Ortners did in 1963. “Never again, never again, never again will houses of this quality be built for the middle class of the city,” Mr. Ortner once said. We are determined to prove him wrong, as we work towards quality housing for all.

Have a great weekend as we officially transition into autumn!

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