Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office released a report yesterday titled “Land Rich, Pocket Poor” (PDF) stating that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has enough air rights available to build the equivalent of 30 one-million-square-foot skyscrapers on or adjacent to its Manhattan housing projects, but no plan for how to manage this potential revenue generator that could have dramatic effects on the city skyline.

Borough President Stringer said, “NYCHA needs new revenues to support the buildings that house thousands of residents in Manhattan and around the city. But selling off development space in hot neighborhoods without a plan and no real public review is not the answer. As a city we need a comprehensive program for how to deal with the asset represented by unused NYCHA development rights – a program that will support the Authority’s operations and also increase the supply of affordable housing for New Yorkers.”

According to the report, the development sites are primarily located near Lincoln Center, near Park West Village on the Upper West Side, in East and Central Harlem; and in Washington Heights and Inwood.

The report also notes that NYCHA has an annual budget of $3.5 billion, which includes funds from the federal government, revenues from rents, and small amounts of city and state funding. However, NYCHA’s preliminary operating budget for fiscal year 2008 reflects a $195.3 million deficit.

Image of LaGuardia Houses via Jeklee on Flickr.

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