Huge Affordable Housing Development Proposed for Hell's Kitchen

By Mathew Katz on January 7, 2014 12:43pm 

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  The new buildings will bring 210 affordable apartments to the area, along with 324 market-rate units.
CHDC and Taconic/Ritterman Developments
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HELL'S KITCHEN — A series of huge new developments could bring 210 affordable housing units to Hell's Kitchen after Community Board 4 voted overwhelmingly to support the plans this week.

The developments in the former Clinton Urban Renewal Area, along West 52nd and 53rd streets, from 10th to 11th avenues, include three new or overhauled buildings by the Clinton Housing Development Corporation and developers Taconic Investment Partners and Ritterman Capital.

The affordable housing units will be open to New Yorkers with a wide range of incomes — from people making $24,000 a year to those making $99,000 a year, or families of four making from $34,000 to $141,000 a year, officials said.

The developments, which require an extensive rezoning that needs city approval, will also bring 324 market-rate apartments and several public amenities to the neighborhood, including a much-desired supermarket.

"In front of you is a proposal that is the culmination of roughly 40 years of work in the urban renewal area and about three years of work from Taconic/Ritterman and Clinton Housing to provide a great number of affordable housing units on this site," said Joe Restuccia, CHDC's executive director.

Depending on income, the rents in the affordable units will range from $581 to $2,000 a month for a studio, $622 to $2,500 for a one-bedroom, $747 to $3,081 for a two-bedroom apartment, and $863 to $3,560 for a three-bedroom.

"That means we are serving the largest range of persons in our community ever done to date," Restuccia said. "We're very happy to do this — it means that people will not be knocked out of the box for making just $200 or $300 over."

Restuccia, who is also a community board member, recused himself from the final vote.

The Clinton development will include the 12-story brick-and-masonry CHDC building at 540 W. 53rd St., which will have 103 permanently affordable apartments and space for neighborhood fixture Cybert Tire, along with a ground-floor community garden and rooftop patio. The apartments will range from studios to three-bedroom units.

The 14-story Taconic/Ritterman building at 525 W. 52nd St. will have 324 market-rate apartments and 81 affordable units, along with a 13,486-square-foot courtyard.

Like the nearby Mercedes House, the building has a staircase-like design that will get lower as it approaches 11th Avenue, keeping it from blocking off light and air to Dewitt-Clinton Park.

LeNoble Lumber, a longtime tenant of the area, will also have space in the buildings, but plans to rent it out to a supermarket, officials said.

Finally, the Captain Post building, a vacant five-story former canning facility, will get a complete renovation and sixth-floor addition, transforming it into 22 units of affordable housing. The building's 2,500-square-foot storage yard will become a community garden.

By selling development rights in the area, the project will also subsidize an affordable project in Chelsea, overhauling a building at 464 W. 25th St. that will become four two-bedroom full-floor apartments.

Each unit will have an elevator opening into it and will be designed to serve people making about $50,000 to $60,000 a year, Restuccia said.

If the project is approved, construction will likely begin by the second or third quarter of 2014. It will take about 18 months to complete.

The proposal drew widespread applause from neighbors and local business owners, including Matt Dienstag, LeNoble Lumber's owner.

"We've always drawn our employees from the neighborhood, so it was very important to us over the years...to support affordable housing," Dienstag said.

The plan will now go to Borough President Gale Brewer's office for review, before eventually needing approval from the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

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