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Long-Delayed Affordable Housing Heading to Harborview Terrace, City Says

By Maya Rajamani | January 10, 2017 12:00pm
 A Harborview Terrace building on West 55th Street.
A Harborview Terrace building on West 55th Street.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

HELL'S KITCHEN — An affordable housing project that stalled amid community discontent and legal roadblocks faced by its developer is back on track.

The city plans to build between 200 and 250 affordable apartments on an existing parking lot at Harborview Terrace, the public housing complex with two buildings between West 54th and 56th streets from 10th to 11th avenues, a NYCHA spokeswoman said.

The Housing Authority will host a series of “visioning workshops” with residents and stakeholders before putting out a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) this spring seeking a developer for the project, the spokeswoman said. Construction will likely start in 2019.

Plans for new affordable housing at Harborview Terrace date back to 2005, when the city promised the units as part of the Hudson Yards rezoning.

NYCHA chose Atlantic Development Group to spearhead the project, but the developer soon faced backlash from Community Board 4, then-City Councilwoman Gale Brewer’s office and activists over its proposed income requirements and plans to include market-rate apartments at the site.

Atlantic ultimately backed out of the project amid a series of “legal issues,” including a lawsuit claiming it was stiffed out of millions of dollars it had planned to pour into the Harborview Terrace project.

The new iteration of the project will be “100 percent affordable, with NYCHA and HPD [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] pursuing the deepest affordability levels possible,” the spokeswoman said.

The chosen developer will sign a 99-year ground lease with NYCHA to build and operate the new development, she added.

Jump-starting the stalled project will give the community a chance to address some of the existing problems at Harborview Terrace, including a waste-disposal system that “wasn’t well thought out,” CB4 chairwoman Delores Rubin said on Monday.

The board will also push for permanent affordable housing at the new project, she noted.

“It’s a long process that is overdue,” she said. “I think there’s been frustration that things haven’t happened already, but I think everyone’s excited that we’re going to get there.”