Not the best plan, but NYCHA needs help
Sep 16, 2015 | 6358 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Criticism was swift this week following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of the two NYCHA developments at which open space will be leased to private developers, a key component of his sweeping plan to rehabilitate the struggling public housing authority.

Residents at the two sites - Wyckoff Gardens in Boreum Hill and Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side - where underutilized parking lots are slated to be sold, were quoted this week dismayed about the selling of the property.

In an open letter to NYCHA, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked how the authority could justify "taking light, air and playground space from residents of Holmes Towers in order to balance its budget."

These concerns are valid, and while the selling of public space is certainly far from ideal, it’s the best shot the city has at pumping back funds into the failing agency. NYCHA hasn’t received state funds since the late 90s and is currently facing $17 billion in unmet capital needs across its 2,600-building portfolio.

Infrastructure has reached a breaking point in many of the buildings, where years of disrepair have lead to leaking roofs, mold and broken elevators. The mayor’s Next Generation NYCHA plan, of which these sales will be a major cash producer, will ultimately lead to a $200 million surplus for the agency by 2025.

The agency is facing big problems that require equally big, sometimes difficult solutions. If the selling of agency land is unpalatable, it’s still the strongest plan on the table.
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