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Old Posted Mar 12, 2015, 5:59 PM
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New York/ 493 Eleventh Avenue/ 450 ft/ 45 floors

Committee Calls for All Affordable Housing at 39th Street Site

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Evan Bindelglass

Community Board 4's Land Use Committee will soon issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 25,000-square-foot site at 493 Eleventh Avenue, a city-owned parking lot currently used by the NYPD (and formerly the site of a slaughterhouse). At a hearing yesterday evening, the Land Use Committee drew up a list of wants for the site, and made clear that it thinks that whatever is built there should be 100 percent permanent affordable housing. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), however, have indicated that the development will be only 50 percent affordable.

As far as income restrictions go, the committee is calling for AMI (area median income) bands of 80 percent, 100 percent, 125 percent, and 165 percent, though members indicated that they would go as low as 65 if the building was 100 percent affordable. The committee also called for 50 percent of the building's units to be two-bedrooms or larger, and for 50 percent of the building to be reserved for those in the community. Additionally, it wants the city to lease the site, rather than sell it outright.

As for the size of the building, the committee proposed the building be 450-feet-tall or about 45 stories, which it estimates would hold about 300 units. However, if the retail envisioned for the first and second floors was exempted from FAR (floor area ratio) regulations, the building could potentially be a couple stories taller. Members suggested some level of "fa├žade articulation" so that the building isn't a boring box, as well as a green building with rooftop space open to all residents, a children's playroom, and possibly a computer room.

The committee also called for an affordable supermarket, with one member of the public complaining about the ridiculous price of ice cream in Manhattan when compared to prices in New Jersey. Other suggestions included a not-for-profit-type theater or rehearsal space at the cellar level (several people complained about small theaters being priced out of their buildings), along with pre-K and affordable daycare.

Finally, the committee called for possible landscaping on 39th Street abutting the site. However, this is dependent on whether 39th Street is still mapped between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues, where the Javits Center has its north annex.
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