City preserves affordable housing at Waterside Plaza

BY GABE HERMAN | The City Council has approved long-term affordable housing for many residents of Waterside Plaza, the Kips Bay apartment complex on the East River.

Legislation was approved Jan. 24 that will keep 325 units as affordable housing through 2098, and give rent protections for “settling” residents who lived in the complex when it was part of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program, which the complex exited in 2001. There are 1,470 total residential units in the building complex, located east of the F.D.R. Drive from E. 26th to 28th Sts.

In the years since the exit from Mitchell-Lama, settling residents had annual rent increases of up to 7.25 percent. Those residents will now have rent freezes or lower increases, based on income levels.

“Settling residents” are defined as having entered Waterside when it was a Mitchell-Lama, and then reached a separate agreement with the landlord on their annual rent increase amount.

Waterside Plaza sits on landfill east of the F.D.R. Drive in the E. 20s. Photo by Beyond My Ken

The City Council deal, which will go to the mayor for signing, also extends Waterside Plaza’s lease with the city from 2069 all the way to 2118. The complex includes four residential towers, the first of which opened in 1973.

The legislation was praised by many politicians, including Councilmember Keith Powers, whose District 4 includes Waterside Plaza; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Council Speaker Corey Johnson; state Senator Brad Hoylman, and Comptroller Scott Stringer.

“After a year of negotiation,” Power said, “we have come to a deal that will address the rent burden of existing tenants and preserve affordable housing for 75 years. This is a meaningful deal to the hundreds of families that have and will continue to call Waterside Plaza their home.”

The deal was also welcomed by the owner of Waterside Plaza, Richard Ravitch, and by Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association.

Handal thanked Mayor de Blasio, Powers and other local officials and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as Ravitch.

“H.P.D. engaged with our community, while shaping a 75-year affordability deal, to learn the needs of our seniors and craft an innovative plan that provides for lasting housing security,” Handal said.

“I am grateful to my fellow tenants, who were unswerving in their support and dedication as we worked through the details of this groundbreaking deal,” she added.

Speaker Johnson praised the outcome.

“The Waterside Plaza deal is a shining example of how to meet the challenges of our city’s affordable housing crisis head on,” he said. “This Council will always fight to protect tenants and this deal is a big win in that fight.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *