Thanks to a provision added to the newly extended and altered 421-a tax abatement passed last week, developers looking to segregate their wealthy tenants from their affordable rate renters will have to think again. According to The Post, Mayor de Blasio inserted a reform into the tax program plan that would ban the practice in which developers build a separate entrance for folks occupying the cheaper, below market-rate apartments in their buildings—better known as “poor doors.”
Poor doors be damned. It looks like the anger and public outcry swirling around Extell’s new 50 Riverside Boulevard condo didn’t do much to deter New Yorkers from vying for a low-income unit at the building. The Times reports that the development company received a whopping 88,000 applications for the building’s 55 affordable apartments after they opened up the lines back in February.
The overwhelming demand is most certainly a win for developer Gary Barnett, who found himself in the hot seat for creating a separate entrance for low-income tenants, away from the market-rate residents. When speaking to the paper, Barnett called the whole poor door ordeal a “made-up controversy” adding to that “I guess people like it. It shows that there’s a tremendous demand for high-quality affordable housing in beautiful neighborhoods.”
Easily 2014’s most controversial building, Extell’s 40 Riverside Boulevard—a.k.a. the “Poor Door” building, and recently rechristened 50 Riverside Boulevard in light of the scandal—is back in the news, this time for reasons far less unsavory. Starting today, qualified New Yorkers can apply for one of the building’s 55 subsidized rentals.
There’s been lots of chatter on the street and in the media on the subject of “poor doors” in new developments for those who have qualified for affordable housing. And though this subject has created quite a bit of controversy, it’s actually not quite what it seems. Rather than being outraged that our city allows real estate developers to “discriminate” against those who could never consider paying for the privilege of residing in their latest and greatest luxury building, naysayers should think about reading up on exactly what affordable housing is and isn’t—“rich” home seekers having an edge over the so-called “poor.”