During his time in office, Michael Bloomberg has been pretty "Don't Give a Fuck" when it comes to making sure poor and middle class people feel welcome in New York City. His newest plan for the cash-strapped city housing authority (NYCHA), however, might just be his most DGAF move ever.
Bloomberg has endorsed a plan to lease land in eight Manhattan public housing projects for the development of luxury housing. The land to be leased includes playgrounds, parking lots, and community centers — basically necessary amenities for those who live in public housing. And in the place of a playground for their children, tenants will instead look out on luxury housing that developers are receiving for... wait for it... pretty much nothing.
The Daily News reports:
Internal documents obtained by the Daily News show the planned 4,330 apartments in eight developments are all in hot real estate neighborhoods, including the upper East and West Sides, the lower East Side and lower Manhattan. Developers will get a sweet deal: a 99-year lease with the lease payments to the authority frozen for the first 35 years.
So let me get this straight: NYCHA, which is perpetually broke because of the sweet deals developers receive from the city of New York and resulting loss of tax revenue, is trying to get out of its hole by giving what is essentially a gift to developers. Surely this can't get worse, right?
This dynamic has already caused some tension. At the Smith Houses near City Hall, NYCHA plans to put up more than 1 million square feet on parking lots and a baseball diamond where tenants hold their annual family day.
The proposed developments, which are all in upscale neighborhoods, would each feature 80% market-rate housing and face away from the public housing.
"When there's just a desperate need for affordable housing, this is just a bonehead move," Mayoral hopeful and former comptroller William Thompson told the Daily News.
But this is more than a bonehead move — this is arrogance at its most dangerous.