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Upscale Affordable Housing Building Opens in Chelsea

By Mathew Katz | April 3, 2012 2:40pm
The 22-story Elliot-Chelsea development has apartments for low- and middle-income tenants.
The 22-story Elliot-Chelsea development has apartments for low- and middle-income tenants.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — With huge glass doors and amenities like video intercoms and a rooftop patio, the Elliot-Chelsea seems like the latest in a long line of boutique condos to grace the rapidly developing neighborhood.

But unlike the sky-high rents and million-dollar apartments that usually go along with those pads, this housing development is targeted at low- and middle-income New Yorkers.

Officials formally opened the new 168-unit, 22-story apartment building at 401 W. 25th St. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, bringing some of the first dedicated affordable housing to West Chelsea.

The Elliot-Chelsea, first announced in 2005, used to be a parking lot for nearby NYCHA apartments and was developed through a public-private partnership between the city and Artimus Construction, which served as both developer and general contractor for the building.

"This unique partnership will provide Chelsea with sorely needed affordable housing," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who helped push for the project. "Projects like this one are a big step to preserving affordable housing in this community."

The building has some swanky features not typically seen in public housing, including central cooling, granite countertops and energy-efficient green appliances, all for rents as low at $600 a month.

The new $64.9 million building has 40 studios, 39 one-bedroom apartments, 84 two-bedroom apartments, and five three-bedrooms. The units are spread between income levels, ranging from 28 apartments for low-income families making up to $38,400 for a family of four to 55 units available for medium-income households earning up to $149,760 for a family of four.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development Mathew Wambua pointed out that the development not only provides economic diversity within the building, but also among the luxury condos and art galleries in the neighborhood.

"This development is proof that neighborhoods can and should accommodate diversity," Wambua said.

Residents applied to live in the development through a lottery system with the city's Housing Development Corporation, and all units have been filled except for 20 set aside for low-income NYCHA residents.

Miguel Acevedo, an affordable housing advocate and head of the Fulton Houses Tenants Association, said he's disappointed those 20 apartments aren't filled already since he's personally worked on applications from residents clamoring to move in. He said the building's standards for low-income tenants are too stringent, requiring applicants to have near-perfect credit and thousands of dollars in savings.

"We've got major overcrowding issues at NYCHA as it is," said Acevedo, who handed officials four new applications at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"If we're building affordable housing for the next generation, why is it impossible to get in?"