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NYC approves 'poor door' for affordable housing residents

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that income inequality and the growing housing problem in New York is a major priority for his administration.
By Aileen Graef   |   July 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, July 22 (UPI) -- A new condo building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is planning to install a "poor door" for the residents living in affordable housing units.

Developer Extell is planning on building 55 low-income units in its luxury condo building at 40 Riverside Boulevard overlooking the Hudson River. The company is also lobbying the city for millions in air rights and tax breaks for the inclusion.

The units will have a separate elevator, separate maintenance service and a separate entrance for residents to enter their apartments, which all face away from the river. The separate entrance -- dubbed the "poor door" by the West Side Rag-- will be in the back alley on the opposite side of the "rich door" on Riverside Blvd.

"Rich Door" residents will pay more than $1,000 per square foot for the condos facing the river. "Poor Door" residents are affordable housing candidates who make less than 60 percent of the area's median income; they will pay $845 per month for a studio, $908 for a one-bedroom or $1,099 for a two-bedroom.

Some New York politicians are saying the policy is a "smack of classism."

"It's a blatant attempt to segregate people," said Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. "It's just not a good thing for the city of New York to be supporting."

The approval came under the Inclusionary Housing Program, which was crafted under the Bloomberg administration. Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor's office, blamed the situation on de Blasio's predecessor.

"This specific project was given a green light by the previous administration and had multiple stories already built by the time we walked in the door. We fundamentally disagree with that approach and we are in the process of changing it to reflect our values and priorities," Norvell said in a statement to PIX11.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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