Haves, have-nots in New York divided by apartment poor doors

Associated Press | The Daily Times

On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.

On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.

One new Manhattan skyscraper will greet residents of pricey condos with a lobby in front, while renters of affordable apartments that got the developer government incentives must use a separate side entrance — a so-called poor door.

In another apartment house, rent-regulated residents can’t even pay to use a new gym that’s free to their market-rate neighbors. Other buildings have added playrooms and roof decks off-limits to rent-stabilized tenants.

New York is a city where the rich and relatively poor have long lived side by side, with who pays what often a closely held, widely varying secret. But a recent spate of buildings with separate amenities for the haves and have-nots is hurling that question out in the open, provoking an uncomfortable debate over equality, economics and the tightness of the social fabric.

“Nobody treats me like a second-class citizen in my own home,” says Jean Green Dorsey, who filed a complaint with the city Human Rights Commission this spring over her Manhattan building’s fitness center. She and fellow rent-stabilized tenants aren’t allowed to enter it despite a willingness to pay a fee; market-rate renters use it gratis.

Motivated by business

Developers say they’re motivated by business, not bias, and reserving some prime features for higher-paying residents is the price of having affordable housing in hot neighborhoods.

But officials are broaching proposals to force more inclusiveness, troubled by seeing landlords use affordable-housing tax and zoning breaks to create what critics view as a caste system.

In a city where Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected last year on pledges to increase affordable housing and shrink income inequality, an outcry erupted after his housing department signed off last month on the affordable bona fides of the Manhattan poor door building; the project was approved and started construction before de Blasio took office. Its creator, Extell Development Co., declined to comment. Read more

How Honolulu’s rail system could change the Ala Moana area

Bill Cresenzo | Pacific Business News

This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.

This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.

The area around Ala Moana Center has a lot going for it, according to Nate Cherry, a California architect who has created a new vision for the neighborhood through a new Transit Oriented Development plan for Honolulu’s rail system that will be presented to the public next week.

The City and County of Honolulu hired Cherry, vice president of the global architectural firm RTKL, to craft a the plan for the Ala Moana neighborhood in anticipation of the completion of the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail project.

Nestled between downtown and Waikiki, the neighborhood has Ala Moana Park, Ala Moana Center and the Hawaii Convention Center.

It also has Kapiolani Boulevard, which Cherry called Honolulu’s “grand boulevard.”

What it lacks, though, is walkability and smaller, outside gathering places, Cherry said.

Kapiolani Boulevard acts as a corridor between the airport and downtown and Waikiki, but Cherry imagines a neighborhood where “locals can really enjoy themselves along the sidewalks,” Cherry said.

That could happen in the coming years, as the rail projects moves forward, Cherry said. Ala Moana will be the last stop on the 20-mile route from Kapolei, with the station located on Kona Street between the mall and Kapiolani Boulevard. Read more

Gov. Cuomo puts $190M on the table for apartment builders

Real Estate Weekly

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $190 million for both building and preserving affordable housing, available by application to groups with shovel-ready projects.

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to live, and this funding will help get more New Yorkers into a place to call home,” Governor Cuomo said. “These funds will not only get housing projects off the ground, but are also an important step to creating stable, healthy communities. We will continue working with local partners and organizations to support affordable housing alternatives.”

The funding, available through Homes and Community Renewal, makes resources from a variety of programs available to eligible organizations.

Applicants with shovel-ready projects that support state housing goals of revitalization and economic development, mixed-income and mixed-use development, workforce housing, and affordable housing preservation may apply for an Early Award and receive an accelerated application review.

Interested applicants are encouraged to complete the Homes and Community Renewal’s Unified Funding Application, a single-source, streamlined process to apply for several funding streams for affordable, multifamily developments. Read more

3 Ways To Ensure California’s Prosperity Emerge From CA Economic Summit’s Capitol Day

Justin Ewers | Fox & Hounds

Three big themes emerged from Tuesday’s California Economic Summit Capitol Day, where more than 250 civic leaders representing the state’s diverse regional economies met with lawmakers and state officials to discuss how to build on the success of the Summit’s statewide prosperity strategy. This action plan, shaped by participants in last November’s Summit, outlines how regional and state leaders can work together to support the training of California workers for the 21st-century economy, make the promise of sustainable, affordable communities a reality, and champion long-term investments in the state’s transportation infrastructure, water systems, and unparalleled working landscapes.

It’s a big agenda, and by necessity. “Your goal—economic prosperity, environmental quality, and expanding opportunity for everyone—is right on target,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told Summit leaders Tuesday. “I believe one of our most important jobs in the Capitol is finding the right balance, a balance where California has a strong business climate that generates jobs and revenue, where we’re also safe, healthy, and financially able to live, work, and raise our families. That’s really it. The solutions aren’t so easy.”

Even so, over the last two years the Summit’s unique partnership between California Forward and the California Stewardship Network has steadily advanced these priorities. “But never more so than this year,” as Summit Steering Committee co-chairs Paul Granillo of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Eloy Oakley of Long Beach City College put it in a letter to attendees. Read more

Take a Look at Twitter’s New Buildings in Santa Monica

Lee Davidson | Santa Monica Daily Press

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.Twitter, the short-form social networking service, is opening an office on Pico Boulevard at Main Street.

City Hall issued the company a business license for 150 Pico Blvd. back in June. It lists the company’s start date as Aug. 1. The business type is listed as “Sales Marketing And Engineering.”

“Not sharing anything else at this time,” Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser told the Daily Press in an e-mail.

Brown paper covers the large glass windows at the single-story building on Pico. Twitter appears to be taking over an adjacent property at 1916 Main St. as well; a Notice of Non-Responsibility from the investment company that owns the building – posted on a door – acknowledges that improvements to the space began back in March and that Twitter Inc. is the tenant.

City Hall’s Economic Development Administrator Jennifer Taylor said that she’s excited for Twitter, and its employees, to move into the space.

“They picked a fabulous location, just two blocks from the beach,” she said in an e-mail. “We know that Pico Blvd and Main Street merchants are eager for the SM Twitter office to open, with the prospect of attracting some new loyal customers who will eat, shop and play local.” As Santa Monica – arguably the center of the Southern California tech boom- fills up and as fledgling startup companies turn into international players, exodus has become a common theme. Read more

Future Utah transportation revolution: biking, walking?

Summit » Officials envision walkable, rideable solutions to congestion woes.
Lee Davidson | The Salt Lake Tribune

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.As they looked out picture windows at the Salt Lake Valley below to imagine how growth may change it, officials held a summit Tuesday to discuss a possible revolution in transportation to reduce congestion and improve health.

What is that novel change? Encouraging more walking and bicycle riding, what officials like to call “active transportation.”

“Active transportation can really yield significant economic, environmental and health benefits,” Michael Allegra, president and CEO of the Utah Transit Authority, told the Active Transportation and Health Summit.

It was sponsored by such groups as UTA, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Health. They spent the day talking about efforts from expanding bike-share programs to adding more bike lanes or “bike boulevards” and incorporating active transportation into new road projects.

The summit met atop the Rice-Eccles Stadium tower at the University of Utah. As he opened the meeting, Allegra said many plans for the 2002 Winter Olympics and UTA’s TRAX light rail were worked out there amid its stunning valley view, and he hopes the move toward more active transportation will also have roots there. Read more

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