A meeting with residents of the Al Smith houses near the Manhattan Bridge put on display the growing resistance behind NYCHA's plan to lease open spaces, community centers and playgrounds for luxury condominiums. New York City Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea has supported luxury high-rise plan to bolster revenues and provide enough funding for to repair aging structures. (Photo: John Taggart for New York Daily News)
The housing authority hopes to generate between $ 31- 46 million in lease payments that will be used to rejuvenate deteriorating housing projects and close $60 million annual deficit. NYCHA is initially looking to build 4,330 apartments in eight developments including the Upper East and West Sides, LES and lower Manhattan.
The developers would win 99-year leases with frozen payments for the first 35 years.
Housing Authority officials who want to raise money by leasing public land for luxury housing tried to reassure anxious tenants Wednesday night.
But many tenants left the presentation by NYCHA at the Smith Houses in lower Manhattan unconvinced, according to the New York Daily News.
“Smith is not going to benefit from the sale of this property,” said tenant Randy Santiago, 58.
“They told us a bunch lies.”
NYCHA General Manager Cecil House sought to soothe a crowd of about 100.
“This is not a meeting about demolition ... about the sale of any NYCHA assets,” he said.
"This is a meeting about how we can leverage NYCHA assets to preserve public housing.”
But resistance is growing to the plan for eight Manhattan developments.
Some tenants protested the presentation, and over 300 have retained a lawyer, complaining NYCHA has been short on specifics.
Resistance building against NYCHA plan to develop playgrounds into luxury housing
New York Daily News - March 21, 2013 - By Chelsia Rose Marcus & Greg B. Smith
As Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauds NYCHA plan to build luxury high-rises on leased
open space contenders question the plan to generate millions New York Daily News - February 7, 2013 - By Greg B. Smith & Erin Durkin
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