The New York City Housing Authority Seeks Expressions of Interest in Development on Public Housing Property
August 16, 2013. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) from developers for its Land Lease Initiative. The RFEI invites developers to submit proposals for the design, construction and operation of mixed-income rental housing th with retail, commercial or community facility space, where permitted, or required. In issuing an RFEI, NYCHA hopes to identify qualified development teams to demonstrate how the development of these parcels can benefit the Authority, public housing residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. NYCHA is seeking to generate a significant new source of funding by ground-leasing 14 sites located within eight NYCHA communities in Manhattan below 110th Street.
(Media-Newswire.com) - August 16, 2013. The New York City Housing Authority ( NYCHA ) today released a Request for Expressions of Interest ( RFEI ) from developers for its Land Lease Initiative. The RFEI invites developers to submit proposals for the design, construction and operation of mixed-income rental housing – with retail, commercial or community facility space, where permitted, or required. In issuing an RFEI, NYCHA hopes to identify qualified development teams to demonstrate how the development of these parcels can benefit the Authority, public housing residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. NYCHA is seeking to generate a significant new source of funding by ground-leasing 14 sites located within eight NYCHA communities in Manhattan below 110th Street. NYCHA expects the plan to generate billions of dollars in revenue throughout the length of the ground leases. Initially, NYCHA will apply all of the proceeds received from these land leases to fund capital improvements at the eight participating NYCHA developments, bringing them to a state of good repair – renovating or replacing critical building infrastructure and systems, such as roofs, elevators, building facades, plumbing, electrical and heating systems, as well as apartment and public common area upgrades.
“The Land Lease Initiative was outlined in Plan NYCHA, issued in December 2011, and will benefit NYCHA residents, neighbors and New York City by improving the quality of our existing housing stock and ensuring its longevity,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “The initiative also includes building critically-needed rental housing for NYCHA residents and New York City working families, including permanently-affordable homes, and creating a substantial number of new construction and permanent jobs.”
With the Land Lease Initiative, New York City remains committed to preserving and reinvesting in public housing, differing from other large cities that have demolished public housing buildings. The Initiative was created to address a portion of NYCHA’s needed capital investment which has been exacerbated by ongoing funding cuts from the federal government – NYCHA’s operations support has been cumulatively reduced by $750 million over the past decade, and its annual capital funding has been cut by the federal government from $410 million per year in 2001, when Mayor Bloomberg took office, to $270 million per year in 2012, or an additional cumulative $875 million.
The new buildings will include up to 4,000 new apartments. At least 20 percent of the units will be permanently low-income, while the remaining units will be market-rate rentals. NYCHA will not demolish a single residential building, relocate any families, nor privatize any existing buildings as part of the Land Lease Initiative. The buildings will be built only on land where no housing exists, which are primarily parking lots. Residents at the eight developments will have enhanced security features; alternative power for critical systems during blackouts such as lighting, heat and hot water, and elevators; and a preference for affordable apartments in the new buildings.
The RFEI was informed by extensive outreach to NYCHA residents, affected Community Boards and local elected officials. NYCHA extended the release date of the request several months to continue to engage residents and revise the RFEI to reflect their input. NYCHA plans to offer additional opportunities for public and resident review following the release of the RFEI – before and after the developers are selected.
“In releasing the RFEI, NYCHA is asking developers to give us their best ideas and most aggressive, yet thoughtful, bid possible,” said Fred Harris, NYCHA’s Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development. “Given the amount of detail in the RFEI, as well as our pre-release engagement with interested stakeholders, we are hopeful that developers will be creative in finding ways to meet all of NYCHA's needs through this process.”
In addition to the various environmental reviews required by Section 18 of the National Housing Act, parcels at seven of the eight developments are likely to require public and resident review as part of the New York City land use approval process ( ULURP ) as well, most commonly for the addition of a commercial overlay to permit the ground floor retail that residents and the community thought would bring benefits to the neighborhood.
Developers that respond to the RFEI will be evaluated on their qualifications to realize their proposals, and those found qualified will be permitted to propose under a subsequent RFP ( Request for Proposals ) that incorporates the lessons learned through the RFEI process. Proposals that are exceptional in meeting NYCHA’s financial and planning objectives and meet all of NYCHA’s goals for improvement of residents’ opportunities may be conditionally designated as a result of the RFEI process [and not require a subsequent RFP]. If a subsequent RFP is issued, proposers would be competitively evaluated on their willingness to increase the percentage of permanently affordable apartments, or decrease the area median income ( AMI ) below 50 percent for those units without compromising the financial benefits to NYCHA.
NYCHA will require proposers to adhere to Section 3-like hiring goals: at least 15 percent of the total labor costs for construction should be made up of NYCHA residents and 30 percent of permanent employment opportunities will be targeted to NYCHA residents. Designated developers will be required to attend meetings with residents, elected officials and community boards during project planning. The designated sites include the Baruch Houses, Campos Plaza, Carver Houses, Douglass Houses, LaGuardia Houses, Meltzer Tower, Smith Houses and Washington Houses.
NYCHA has permitted development of its available land through comparable offerings to support Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan. Since 2004, through collaborations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development ( HPD ) and the Housing Development Corporation ( HDC ), over 4,270 units of affordable housing have been built, are under construction, or are in pre-development on former NYCHA property. This RFEI seeks development of approximately 4 million square feet of NYCHA's estimated 30 million square feet of available development rights in Manhattan. Even though NYCHA possesses unutilized development rights, not all can be used within its own properties, or transferred to contiguous properties, because of site-specific conditions. As outlined in Plan NYCHA, the vast majority of the remaining development rights will be reserved for permanently affordable housing for seniors, low- and moderate-income families and persons requiring supportive housing. -###-
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