Upper West Side blog West Side Rag reported that local officials and residents are up in arms over the construction plans at 40 Riverside Boulevard to include a separate entrance for low income tenants. The site, between 61st and 62nd Streets, is owned by Extell Development Corporation, which will construct 274 units, 219 of which will sell as condos and 55 of which will be available, by lottery, to rent for those making 60 percent or less of area medium income. Current plans show that rental tenants will have an entrance at the back of the building.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal told the West Side Rag that the arrangement is "abominable" and compared it to so-called "separate but equal" arrangements that don't fly under federal law. "A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off," Rosenthal told West Side Rag.
In July, Community Board 7 unanimously approved a resolution questioning how this will work and what impact it might have.
"The Affordable Housing units are physically segregated from the market rate condo units with a separate entrance and elevators," the resolution stated. "This arrangement begs several questions: First, who will be responsible for maintenance, repair, capital improvements and other services provided to the Affordable Housing tenants? If the condo corporation as a whole is responsible for services to the Affordable Housing tenants, what safeguards will be in effect to protect the Affordable Housing tenants from being discriminated against in the provision of such services? (The physical separation of the Affordable Housing units from the market rate condo units makes this concern particularly acute, since neglect of the Affordable Housing units would have no effect on the habitability or marketability of the market rate units)."