NYC Approves Apartment Building With ‘Poor Door’

Is this a step forward for solving income inequality?

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Photo: Apartment Therapy

It’s no secret that New York City has an inequality problem. As more and more high-rise developments make their away across the Tri-state area, one particular resident is opening its doors to the lower rungs of society.

According to the New York Post, a “poor door” will be created at the new building coming to 40 Riverside Blvd., which will be separate from the wealthier occupants who live there. The alternate entrance will be explicitly for those who rent via affordable housing.

Extell Development Co., the firm behind the new building, made its intentions known last year and hasn’t backed down. Understandably, outrage has manifested from those who feel that the company and building aim to segregate the rich and poor. Fifty-five of the luxury complex’s 219 units will be marked for low-income renters—netting Extell some very valuable tax breaks—while the less fortunate would have to stick with their own entrance.

If you’re wondering how something like this could even go down, look no further than New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development who approved Extell’s request. The status grants Extell and the 33-story tower tax breaks and the right to construct a larger building than would be ordinarily allowed. For the low-income residents, they will be required to enter through a door situated on a “back alley.”

“No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations,” David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers, said. “So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it’s unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood.”

Do you believe these low-income renters have a right? Is it just? Speak on it in the comments section below.

SOURCE: New York Post

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  • M P

    I don’t see a problem. With tax breaks being offered to developers and building owners, to set side so many dwellings for lower-income rentals, why not? Although, if I were a renter, paying full rent, I’m not sure I’d want to reside in the same building with lower income residents.

    • Autumn

      May I ask why? What crime did the poor person commit that you can’t even walk through a door with them? I truly don’t understand.

      • M P

        If I’m paying full rent, I would rather reside in a building with those also paying full rent and who also have a “dog in the fight” when it comes to keeping the property up. And I realized there are some trifling people who have their own property, but those situations are fewer and far between than those who rent. And I’m a landlord, so maybe I’m biased.

        Further, I just believe in extra incentives for those who pay for them.

        • Autumn

          I always thought the 80/20 situation was a two-way street. The building developer gets a tax break, the person in the 20% gets to reside in a luxury building. And it builds affordable housing for folks who need it.

          If a person didn’t like that arrangement, wouldn’t they just live in a building that had no affordable housing? I do see that the renter or buyer in the 80% isn’t really getting anything out of the deal, but they aren’t forced to live there. And maybe the building couldn’t exist for the developer without the 20%.

          I wouldn’t assume people paying less than full rent (the folks in the 20% in the property in question have wages twice the that of the poverty level) have less interest in keeping up the property. They want to live in a safe, nice building too.

          Extra incentives I agree with too. Just seems like a situation for another building where everyone pays full rent (or is buying) and paying fully for incentives. A door isn’t an incentive. It’s entrance to one’s home. Rather than mixing and matching folks of different incomes and perspectives, it might have been a better idea to have separate residences for the two populations.

          But that’s just my $.04. :-) I do appreciate you answering my questions.

          • M P

            The 80/20 thing is a win-win for the developer and the LI family, not so much for the full-rent family. And again, I’m a landlord and from what I’ve seen, as well as the mentality that exists in my neck of the woods, the majority of LI renters do not keep up a property. You must stay on them about it, and still have them balking about it-never mind they are living virtually rent-free. Often, those who mostly do keep up the property (or at least attempt to do so) and tend to be grateful for the opportunity are the ones paying a significant portion of the rent. Again, just my experience. Also, live in the DC/MD/northern VA area, where it’s a cesspool anyway!

            And these people, in the article, may have wages twice that of poverty level, but, more than likely, they have kids and probably do want safe housing, as well. However, that is another generalization I’m making, based on my experience/area in which I live. Even though they do want safe, affordable housing, they still put more “wear and tear” on a property. Perhaps, if we want the 80/20 thing to work, we should do more outreach and work with the LI families…show them how to keep up a property…teach them about homeownership…help them understand what it means to take pride in the area in which they reside. Something!

            And true, if a person didn’t want to live in a building w/LI renters, the optimal thing would be to move to a building/property with no LI renters, but show me a building (except those buildings for the truly upscale lifestyle of the rich and/or famous) where developers don’t take advantage of a set-aside incentive for LI housing? And, as for individual properties, unless regulated by strict a HOA agreement, you have no say so as to whom the property owner rents.

            No, a door is not an incentive, rather an extra or a “perk”, of sorts, so as not to lose full renters or full buyers.

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