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New Affordable Housing for Artists Coming to Chelsea

By Mathew Katz | May 9, 2013 8:26am
 Manhattan Plaza offers affordable housing for artists, seniors and locals.
Manhattan Plaza offers affordable housing for artists, seniors and locals.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — Actors, singers and other artsy professionals could soon qualify for a prime Chelsea apartment.

West Chelsea is about to get more affordable housing for artists just as area politicians successfully maintained artist housing at Hell Kitchen's Manhattan Plaza.

The new development by Related Companies at 529 W. 29th St. will provide 70 percent of its units to artists, 15 percent to locals in need in Community District 4, and 15 percent to seniors in the district. The "artist" definition is a broad one, including performing artists, musicians and even stagehands and other entertainment-industry support staff.

The new project will mirror Manhattan Plaza, 400 W. 43rd St., a 46-floor artist housing development created in 1977 that charges tenants 30 percent of their income in rent.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had initially rejected requests to maintain artist housing at Manhattan Plaza, but elected officials, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former state Sen. Tom Duane, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Borough President Scott Stringer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler fought the move last year.

"After a couple of years of wrestling with [HUD], Manhattan Plaza will be remaining how it is as far as housing preferences go," Harriet Sedgwick, a community liaison with Quinn's office, told locals at a recent Community Board 4 meeting. "There will also be a new building on West 29th Street that will mirror, exactly mirror, those housing preferences."

To qualify for artist housing, the head of each household must earn at least 50 percent of their income over the past three years in the entertainment industry.

With 126 units, the new West 29th Street development should help take some pressure off Manhattan Plaza, where waiting lists for an affordable apartment stretch for years.

The new development is expected to be completed in August.