First the good news: Mayor Bill de Blasio could not have made better choices in naming Carl Weisbrod as chairman of the City Planning Commission and Vicki Been as the new head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Both appointees are highly qualified, creative and knowledgeable—just what City Hall needs in those critical agencies.
New York’s first micro-apartment building hasn’t even broken ground yet, but the city is already planning more. At a luncheon hosted by the Citizens Housing Planning Council today, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Matthew Wambua announced that new requests for proposals will be issued for more micro-apartment sites.
“We are considering RFPs for two or three micro-unit developments later this year,” a HPD spokesman told The Observer after the event. “We’re in the process of vetting a number of city-owned sites, and RFP guidelines will be tailored to the chosen sites.”
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
It’s been six weeks since the apartment building at 2 Thayer Street in Washington Heights had gas or hot water—ConEd shut it off as a safety precaution because of leaks in the pipes. The walls are cracked, pieces of plaster crumble from the ceilings and as of a week ago, the 47-unit building had 94 open violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. But on paper, at least, 2 Thayer Street doesn’t number among the city’s worst buildings. Not even close.
In the past, a building with only two violations per apartment would have had a hard time attracting the city’s attention. In the wake of the housing crisis, as hundreds of multi-family buildings fell into disrepair, HPD relied on individual tenant complaints to gauge the level of building deterioration, focusing their energies on the most egregious violators, the city’s “worst buildings,” which often have 10 or more violations per apartment.
Hundreds more were also in bad shape, of course, and getting worse, as tenants became the victims of real estate speculation gone bust, but inspections and intensive intervention efforts started only after the the building’s racked up an appalling number of violations.
But in late April, not only did a team of HPD inspectors come to check out 2 Thayer Street, but so did deputy commissioner Vito Mustaciuolo, who spoke to a group of tenants gathered in the lobby.
If you aren’t comfortable living in a church, that’s fine. But what about a library?
The Municipal Arts Society is leading the conversation on converting public libraries into apartment buildings, the Real Deal reports. President Vin Cipolla noted that the change in technology (read: Kindles and iPads) will lead to under-used, or even unused, library spaces.
A team led by the Hudson Companies will give rise to a mixed-income village along the banks of the once-toxic Gowanus Canal, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced today. The Gowanus “Public Place” will have 774 units of housing (541 below market rate) among a complex Read More