Beleaguered NY Housing Authority Turns to Private Sector to Raise Needed Cash

Beset by daunting challenges, and a summer of stinging articles and reports, the chairman of the New York City Housing Authority has announced a controversial plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars by leasing land to private developers.
September 27, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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At a breakfast event this week, John B. Rhea, chairman of NYCHA, announced plans to "squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars out of parking lots, walkways, open spaces and other areas," reports David W. Chen. With a maintenance backlog topping $6 billion, the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue could solve some, but certainly not all, of the agency's considerable challenges.  

"Under the plan, which would take several years, the housing authority would lease land to private developers, who would then come up with projects featuring a mixture of apartments and commercial and retail space," notes Chen. "At least 1,000 of those apartments - or perhaps 20 percent of all the units, according to housing advocates - would be set aside for low- and moderate-income families." 

While the city's leading elected officials were guardedly optimistic, "Judith Goldiner, attorney in charge of civil law reform at the Legal Aid Society, voiced some misgivings."

"We are concerned that the development proposed will not be affordable to Nycha residents, that Nycha is not consulting with the community as a whole and that losing open space in dense high-rise communities will have a negative impact on the public-housing community," she said.


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Published on Monday, September 24, 2012 in The New York Times
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