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NYC Apartment Building Set to Have Separate 'Poor Door' Entrance for Low-Income Renters


“This ‘separate but equal’ arrangement is abominable..."

A luxury high-rise apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side is set to have a so-called "poor door" -- a separate entrance for low-income residents receiving subsidized housing.

The 33-story building -- 40 Riverside Boulevard -- being developed by Extell Development Company will have 219 condominiums selling for more than $1 million each. But by including 55 affordable housing units on the first few floors renting at a starting price of $845 a month, the developer could get a tax break, according to the West Side Rag.

40 riverside condo This rendering shows the lower floors of the high-rise condo that will have six floors devoted to lower-income rental units. (Image via WNYW-TV video screenshot)

With this disparity between the million-dollar condos for purchase versus the units for rent at a phenomenally low price for Manhattan, the developer decided to design the building with separate entrances for those who own condos and those who rent at a price below market value.

As one might expect, this "rich door," "poor door" situation doesn't sit well with some.

“This ‘separate but equal’ arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side,” Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat, told the West Side Rag. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off. The developer must follow the spirit as well the letter of the law when building affordable housing, and this plan is clearly not what was intended by the community.”

Although the building is still under construction, it already has some residents who shared their opinion about the separate entrances with WNYW-TV:

“It should be one door for, I guess, one building and share the access equally – yeah,” said one resident.

“I guess this is a good compromise in order for them to build their building and also provide housing for other people,” added another resident.

That said, it is not entirely uncommon for housing in New York City to have separate entrances such as these. The West Side Rag reports:

The city calls this inclusionary zoning. Of course, the irony is that the poor are excluded from renting apartments in the market-rate side of the building. The “affordable” part of the building is completely separate from the luxury section, with its own entrance and elevator.

The local community board wrote a letter to the city's planning and housing departments asking them to at least make sure the developer includes measures to "avoid a situation in which the Affordable Housing tenants are relegated to the status of second class citizens.”

Extell said in a statement to 1010 WINS Sunday that the rental units will provide "high quality affordable residences in a beautiful neighborhood – residences we are confident will attract no shortage of applicants.”

In order to be eligible for one of the 55 subsidized rental units, applicants need to make less than 60 percent of the median income -- $51,450. Renters will be chosen through a lottery system, according to the West Side Rag.

Watch WNYW's report about the controversial but legal separation of the two unit styles:

New York News

Featured image via Shutterstock.com.

(H/T: Daily Mail)



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