Gary Barnett’s Extell Development Real Estate‘s new 40 Riverside Drive residential project in Manhattan is causing quite a bit of controversy, as local activists are complaining about its plan to have a separate entrance for its poorer residents who will be able to rent one of the building’s 55 affordable rental units.
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The developers were given approval from city to install what is known as a “poor door.” Such entrances can be found propping up at similar developments around the country.
While new New York City Mayor Bill de Blassio has gone on the record in opposition to it, he apparently can do nothing about the door, because it was already approved during his predecessor’s tenure. His spokesman told Newsweek, “This specific project was given a green light by the previous administration. The previous administration changed the law to enable this kind of development. We fundamentally disagree with that approach, and we are in the process of changing it.”
The “Poor Door” is located at the back of the building, on 62nd Street.
The addition of the affordable units was made so that the developers could benefit from tax breaks under the 80/20 plan, first introduced by Mayor Bloomberg. Under the Inclusionary Housing Program, 20% of a new building’s units are reserved for affordable housing in exchange for certain benefits.
While the development was included in the program back in 2013, official approval for the separate entrance was not received until July 20th.
Gary Barnett responded to the criticism with a comment in Crain’s. “Frankly, it’s the only possible way to do inclusionary housing that’s for sale in a prime location.”
The Upper West Side building will have 33 stories and all of the remaining 219 apartments will be luxury condominiums. The luxury units offer views of the Hudson River while the affordable ones face the street.
Coming in at 345 feet tall, the tower will have a total of 527, 350 square feet, including 7, 846 square feet of commercial space and 2, 926 square feet of community facility space.
Expected to be completed in 2015, next door to the Riverside Center, 40 Riverside Boulevard will complete the ‘Riverside South’ development that was begun by Donald Trump.