Reported by April Taylor
A New York City developer has been given the go ahead to construct separate entrances for low income residents of a condominium being built on the city’s Upper West Side. The city approved the proposed design submitted by the developer Extell. The condominium will house tenants who will receive rent subsidies as well as tenants who pay market rent.
Low income tenants will be housed in 55 units that will be located on the first six floors. The going rate for these units will be less than $1,100 a month for studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom floor plans. The remaining 219 units will cost more than $1,000 per square foot and come with views that overlook the Hudson River. The two sets of residents will be offered different amenities as well as separate entrances.
This particular complex is not the first to implement what many are referring to as “poor doors.” Despite many New Yorkers voicing the opinion that the separate entrances exude classist behavior, many large developers in the city have been constructing separate entrances for tenants who rent their units and tenants who own their units.
The Atlanta BlackStar points out that housing issues in New York are not limited to “poor doors” and whether or not low income tenants are allowed to access the same amenities as more well to do residents. The city has faced persistent issues with affordable housing. One of the city’s strategies for tackling the issue is inclusionary zoning. The strategy is meant to create more housing options for low income residents by giving tax breaks and incentives to developers who build housing units where low income tenants and tenants capable of paying market rent live in the same building. However, the way the strategy is manifesting itself has many wondering if a different approach needs to be taken. According to Josh Barro, the city has lost around $2.9 billion in revenue since the strategy was adopted, and this money could have been used to build more affordable housing options that do not allow for the classist separation of tenants based on how much they pay in rent.