City will bring affordable co-living projects to East Harlem and East New York

October 10, 2019

Rendering courtesy of Common and L+M Development Partners

A year ago, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced plans for an affordable co-living pilot program. Known as ShareNYC, the initiative “lets developers seek public financing in exchange for creating affordable, shared-housing developments,” as 6sqft previously reported. The city has now selected three proposals that will create or preserve accommodations for roughly 300 residents. Two of the projects, including one by co-living giant Common, will be located in East Harlem, while the third will be in East New York.

ShareNYC defines shared housing as “housing units consisting of two or more independently occupied rooms that share a kitchen and/or bathroom.” The idea behind the program is to incentivize developers to build more affordable housing with lower construction costs. Here is some more information on the selected proposals:

Images courtesy of Think! Architecture

Ascendant Neighborhood Development and Ali Forney Center: Ascendendant is an East Harlem organization that advocates for affordable housing. They’ve partnered with the Ali Forney Center, the largest group in the country dedicated to helping homeless LGBT youth, on a new, 10-story building that will serve low-income households (most of whom will likely come through referrals from the shelter system) and include services provided by the Center. It will accommodate 36 residents in four shared duplex units and one shared simplex, all of which will be fully furnished and have utilities included. The building will offer a green roof and an outdoor yard.

Renderings courtesy of Common and L+M Development Partners

L+M Development Partners and Common: The largets of the projects, this proposal calls for two adjacent eight-story buildings with 56 shared units able to house 253 residents. L+M is a large-scale developer with a commitment to affordable housing, and Common is perhaps the largest local co-living startup to date, with 11 locations in NYC. Their proposal accommodates very-low- to moderate-income households, as well as some market-rate units. One of the buildings will have a large community room with a kitchen, living room, and rec room, around which the units will be located. The other building will be more “intimate” and have both private and shared bathrooms.

Images courtesy of Heitler Houstoun Architects

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and PadSplit: PadSplit is a newer co-living model that operates on a membership system and has built its business on splitting up existing units or homes to create more affordable options. In their partnership with East New York-based Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, they’ll do just that, taking a current two-story SRO building and transforming it into 11 housing opportunities for extremely low- to low-income households that include furniture and utilities. They plan to retain all current tenants but rethink the layout with common areas and outdoor recreational space.

In a statement, Councilmember Brad Lander said, “ShareNYC is an innovative effort to create more housing for small households at deeply affordable levels. I hope that these three projects can serve as a model for more creative approaches to addressing the variety of unmet housing needs in our city.”


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