Luxury Condo's 'Poor Door' a Metaphor for New York's Inequality

To take advantage of NYC's inclusionary zoning giveaways, developer Extell is including 55 'affordable' units in a luxury condo building planned for Manhattan. Just one hitch: the plan segregates those tenants in their own 'separate entity'.
August 20, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Extell Development Company is building a 274-unit luxury condo building in the Upper West Side, with plans to put in a separate door for people living in its planned below-market-rate units. The reason? It's a workaround enabled by the city's Inclusionary Housing law to help Extel collect on some major tax breaks and building allowances," reports Raillan Brooks. "Local residents are upset and have gotten their elected officials to jump into the ring."

"This 'separate but equal' arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side," Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal told West Side Rag. "A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off."

"Of course, it's easy to segregate affordable housing – and the people who live in it – into its own part of town, its own neighborhoods, even its own isolated blocks," notes Emily Badger in The Atlantic Cities. "But it takes some serious creativity to keep the haves and have-nots apart in the very same building."

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Published on Monday, August 19, 2013 in The Village Voice
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