Inwood Library project will have 175 affordable apartments and a new Pre-K

Posted On Wed, March 7, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, March 7, 2018 By In affordable housing, Inwood, Manhattan, New Developments

Renderings courtesy of Fogarty Finger Architecture and Andrew Berman Architect

The former site of the Inwood Library is undergoing a major upgrade, with the city announcing a shiny new development that will hold the branch, 175 units of deeply affordable apartments, and a brand new pre-k facility. The decision to tear down the old library building is the result of months of community engagement and neighborhood planning exercises through the city’s Inwood Affordable Housing and Library Planning Process.

inwood library, inwood library development, affordable housing

The news was announced today by Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, New York City Housing Development Corporation president Eric Enderlin, and the New York Public Library. In a statement, Torres-Springer says the project “weds deeply affordable homes with a beautifully redesigned library and a new pre-K facility that will benefit the Inwood neighborhood for generations to come.”

inwood library, inwood library development, affordable housing

The development plan establishes the renewed Inwood Library Branch as the core of the new, mixed-use building. The new, three-level library will anchor the ground level and maintain existing services such as early literacy and storytime programs, technology classes and bilingual resources. But the new version will provide additional space for computers, classes, a community room and more.

inwood library, inwood library development, affordable housing

The design will include collaborative workspaces of various sizes, quiet reading spaces for all ages, and open flexible space to accommodate classrooms. A large community room will be accessible both from the library and from a separate exterior entrance, so it can available to the community outside of the library’s regular hours.

As for the apartments, the 14-story building will include a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments affordable to extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households. Housing will also be available to formerly homeless households. Income caps will be set between $20,040 and $40,080 for individuals, and $34,360 and $51,540 for a household of three, the city says. Over 20 percent of all apartments will be affordable to a family of three earning less than $26,000. Amenities will include an onsite gym, tenant lounge, kid’s playroom, terrace, roof garden, bike room and laundry.

inwood library, inwood library development, affordable housing

The building will also include a community facility space for education, health and wellness related programs, plus a 4,030-square-foot Pre-K for All facility. The three Pre-K classrooms will be connected to a 2,100-square-foot outdoors play terrace, which will overlook the nearby public school athletic fields. Generously-sized classrooms were designed with full walls of windows.

The development is to be named The Eliza, in honor of local library advocate Eliza Hamilton. It’s a joint venture between the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), Ranger Properties, Alembic and the Children’s Village. The architects of record are Fogarty Finger and Andrew Berman Architect.

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  • iSkyscraper

    “The decision to tear down the old library building is the result of months of community engagement and neighborhood planning exercises through the city’s Inwood Affordable Housing and Library Planning Process.”

    Um, no, it’s not. The NYPL decided some time ago to tear down the library and build housing. The local electeds then decided to wrap it into the overall Inwood rezoning and upzone it to double the size (something never done before in North America in a library/housing redevelopment).

    The community was pretty firm about explicitly not wanting to tear down the library, and if it was to be redeveloped to respect local zoning. The city gamed their workshops to try and build data to support wanting a much, much larger building but the community kept voting for something like Sunset Park which matched existing zoning. It’s really not truthful to imply that this building in any way reflects community engagement and input. It’s the city’s plan, and they are ramming it through.

    The city likes to show the shiny rendering at the top of this page but here is a Google Earth model that shows the true scale of how much larger this is than other Inwood buildings.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7861537500ecb2e836815260b0df69d963f516059a220c1019cce3f6ab8305c1.jpg

    • iSkyscraper
    • iSkyscraper
    • iSkyscraper

      This view of blank lot line walls will be there for decades due to the adjacent school.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f00341c310a342d5d36f14f37259e48241fb3b47d3573a37e6e1534ddf6845f9.jpg

      • TheWhateverMan

        Blank lot line walls are an easy fix. Inwood is somewhat of an “artist” community – we’ll figure it out. (Artists, start working on your submissions)

        • $213346889

          Oh, gee, more “graffiti art” from Williamsburg.

          • TheWhateverMan

            No, not that.. (hah) I’m talking ART. Meaningful, inspirational (especially for the young), relevant, aesthetically pleasing, etc. By the way, Williamsburg is not NYC – it’s a “colony” within the boroughs. Inwood is.

    • iSkyscraper
    • TheWhateverMan

      I’m trying to figure out what the problem with the size/height is… NYC living IS vertical living. By the way, The Caroline is a 15-story building.

      • iSkyscraper

        Fair question. The answer is not short but bear with me.

        Inwood is 12 miles from downtown and massed a little different than say the UWS. The UWS has higher densities on its avenues (the vertical living you refer to) but much lower densities than Inwood on its side streets (think 4 story brownstones). That’s a perfectly fine model and what they are used to there. Inwood is nearly uniformly medium-density midrise (more Parisian, if you will) and now being told that despite being quite dense it needs to also start having much taller buildings, without the relief of those low side streets.

        When de Blasio’s neighborhood in Park Slope was rezoned, they tailored the zoning to match existing conditions and added a bunch of historic districts while upzoning areas like 4th Ave. So his brownstone is zoned for FAR of only 2 and four stories. Inwood’s density in existing areas is already twice that, and being proposed at four times that in some of the new areas (more than Park Slope received on 4th Ave). There are also no historic districts in Inwood, so the few blocks that are historic and add character, like Manhattan’s last block of detached houses, are not protected from all this upzoning or even the current zoning. (Three houses were torn down in the last year.)

        The Caroline is one of the dozen or so building in Inwood that are more than 8 stories. Many of those (like Dyckman houses) are on large lots and thus fairly low density. So while a very few exist they are certainly not the precedent for urban planning for the area.

        Inwood is not like other rezoning areas because it has a huge area of former industrial land that currently houses no one. Residents are pretty supportive of rezoning all that area and creating thousands of more apartments. The issue is trying to get the city to copy and paste what already works so well in a very unique and high-functioning neighborhood rather than take the political opportunity to jam in zoning designations not found north of Central Park. I doubt there would be much opposition had the library been designed to match existing zoning, similar to the Sunset Park Library in Brooklyn – they didn’t upzone, but Inwood gets doubled in size? After all, the image of that R7A building is NYC living too.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b691a0158913e041be845d28bc456d57354d461916b79f8042b4e696725845cd.jpg

        • TheWhateverMan

          Thanks for the detailed response. Your explanation of the zoning laws and specifics are right on – as I’m familiar. However, as the proposal stands today, the difference in FAR of R7A(2) to R7D along the CU is minimal (a 1 FAR point difference). And in the Sherman Creek area, where you mention 4x the FAR change, we can use a mix of residential/commercial/community space. We have the ridiculously underused Metro-North station minutes away – let’s change that as well. Having said that, the R8A proposal at the intersection of W207th/B’way, might be a bit much. The positives outweigh the so-called negatives of this rezoning. It’ll bring local jobs, housing and higher expectations to the youth/people of inwood that need it. (I have a somewhat biased perspective, I know).

          As for the visual differences, the change in population, the infrastructure improvements needed to support the rezoning – we’ll all get used to it and we’ll adjust accordingly.

          The Inwood Library/Residences project is on property owned by the City. That would likely be the tallest building on Broadway on the CU.

          Oh and.. I think it’s time to set a new precedent. ))

          • iSkyscraper

            Thanks for the continuing discussion. There are a few further points I’d like to bring up.

            – Because of MIH, R7D goes to FAR 5.4. That’s not minimal, that’s a whopping 40% more than the current R7-2 even under QH (or say R7A). And that’s the problem. MIH was meant to make sure that when an upzoning happened, a piece was reserved for affordable housing. But now MIH is being used precisely to justify the upzoning, not other planning reasons.

            – With a leap of 40%, there would be a lot of disruption to the “Commercial U” in the proposed plan. The city is gambling that if they gave the residents R7A, they would let Broadway, 207 and Dyckman upzone. But there is quite a bit of opposition to that kind of wholesale turnover. Personally, I would be fine with R7D at the corners but I would leave the main stretches at R7A, where they were already filling in just fine (see The Stack project on Broadway)

            – No argument that Sherman Creek should be redeveloped from industrial to residential/commercial. (Community space would be nice too but there is no incentive for that under the proposed zonings so Inwood will probably continue to be a neighborhood of 40,000 to 60,000 people with zero pools, zero community centers, zero art spaces, etc.) I asked the city to look at up to 17 stories (R7X) along this area as being appropriate for encouraging development (and of course MIH) without creating wild pockets of density that cannot be handled by the geography, road grid, etc. I agree the Metro North station is right there, but have you ever tried to take a bus, cab or car anywhere near that bridge in the morning, evening or weekend?

            – I’m not really on board “the positives outweigh the so-called negatives” argument. A plan with a little more context and less midtown density would still yield the positives without as much negatives. And last I checked, we didn’t just ignore zoning because the outcome would be more jobs and housing. There are other considerations.

            – I understand some are fine with setting a new precedent. But it’s not invalid for others who have lived here a while and are raising their families here to not be fine with it. And those voices have been completely ignored for 2 years in the name of political ramrodding.

          • TheWhateverMan

            To be a stickler, the difference between R7A and R7D is 1 FAR point – from 4.6 to 5.6. More like 20%. A noticeable difference, but not a tremendous jump. I see no problem with it.

            And yes, the W207th/Bridge area is a nightmare – for drivers. But from the Sherman Creek area to the Metro North Station, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to NOT walk.

            And I’m not suggesting ignore zoning just to yield more jobs/housing – at all. Of course there other considerations. Which is why we find ourselves where we do today.

            And, you’re right, every Inwoodite can have an opinion and voice it – no matter how long (or short) a time they’ve lived in Inwood (or NYC for that matter). But there’s a demographic of people who have been misrepresented for decades. And no politician nor “activist” has ever (to this day) intended to present them with the perspective that yields future prosperity for themselves and the families they’re raising.

            Sorry for the slight conversation shift……

            This current proposal may well have added the R8A at the 207th/B’way intersection as a “negotiating/sacrificial component.” We’ll see.

          • iSkyscraper

            To be a stickler, the current R7-2 zoning anywhere in the Commercial U is FAR 4 under a potential QH scheme. R7A, which is what the neighborhood prefers for this part of Broadway, is also FAR 4. MIH is not triggered if the zoning is changed to R7A. Upzoning to R7D triggers MIH, which means FAR 5.6. So, yeah, 40%. Not minimal.

            By the way, I don’t personally mind R7D at the subway corners. I just don’t see the justification to tear up the long stretches of the U that neighbor R7A buildings and simply don’t require a 40% upzoning.

            The traffic chokepoint at the W207th St bridge is not just “for drivers”. It absolutely cripples the SBS Bx12 route as well.

            As for negotiating/sacrificial components, yes we’ll see, but the city has made no changes in 2 years so they haven’t exactly been negotiating. It’s been pretty much a sham in terms of pretending to gather community input to date.

          • TheWhateverMan

            Your point accepted on the FAR difference.

            The CU will definitely change the dynamic of Inwood, which is an inevitability. And the R7A pocket will maintain the neighborhood “charm” for years to come.

            And however true and unfortunately, the “community input” the city gathers should be called the “community patronization.”

            And as I understand it, buses are still controlled by “drivers.” I was including all vehicles that use the street in that area. ))

  • iSkyscraper

    An updated rendering that the city did not make and probably doesn’t want you to see. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f19d412d8a403d6cb6a8bd3e1cc5c40769cb686cf6275a9b0faca1a05fa31db2.jpg

    • $213346889

      Looks.like.sh!t.

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