Absence of Permanent Affordable Housing Forces Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal to Withhold Support from Otherwise First-Rate Durst Development

New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal reiterated her opposition to the development of a mixed-use building on West 57th and West 58th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues in her district because the developer, Durst Development LLC refuses to make 20 percent of the units permanently affordable ahead of the upcoming vote scheduled for next week by the New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.

“For each affordable housing lottery that is announced in my district, I receive dozens of phone calls from hard-working New Yorkers wondering how they can get into the building,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “For every one unit of affordable housing created or already existing in this City, there are far too many families trying to get in. This new development presents a unique opportunity to create 151 units of permanently affordable housing to families struggling to make ends meet. Despite strong community support for permanent affordability, Durst has refused to budge.”

While Durst proposes to make 20 percent of the 735 residential units affordable under the 80/20 program, it will do so only for a 35-year-period, with 15 years for attrition. At the end of that time period, the units will revert to market rate forcing the low- and middle- income families in this neighborhood to scramble to locate affordable housing.

During a meeting with representatives from Durst in my district office, they said that their hands were tied, citing a lease agreement between Durst and the owner of the lot, George Endicott as co-trustee for the land, which did not provide a revenue structure allowing for permanent affordability. Despite that agreement, Durst has the ability to allow for permanent affordability on its own or to request that Applebee’s renegotiate to allow for more generous lease terms. In fact, Endicott has negotiated lease agreements with other developers in the City that allow for permanent affordability. It is my understanding that Durst has not asked Endicott to sit down and talk about these terms, despite the continued calls from the community to do so. Since Durst is unwilling to make that request, I have written to Applebee’s to do just that.

“As a member of the Committee on Housing in the New York State Assembly and the representative of a district that has seen the number of affordable housing units dwindle over the last decade, I cannot in good conscience support this development, despite its ‘green’ design, in the absence of permanent affordability,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “Especially in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, where carbon emissions reductions are essential to fight climate change, it is truly unfortunate that I cannot support a project that could, upon its completion, provide a model to other developers for smart, green growth in this City.”