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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Yes, middle-income "affordable" units may not be so attractive

On 6sqft, 4/11/18, Why middle-income New Yorkers are turning down affordable housing captures an issue, first floated notably with 535 Carlton of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, regarding the gap between "affordable housing" for middle-income residents and actual affordability.

The article cites a couple with two kids, who "live in a small converted one-bedroom on the Upper East Side," paying $2,900 a month for a full-service building. After winning lotteries for both Stuyvesant Town and 38 Sixth--the second "100% affordable" building in Pacific Park--the couple decided to turn down the interviews.

"Then, we got an interview [at] 38 Sixth Avenue," said Catherine. "Depending on Chris’s freelance income each year, we make between $140,000 and $160,000, which means we’re 165% of the AMI. We wondered, why pay $800 more than we do now to live further from work, and could we even afford such a rent hike? Depending on the month, this would mean spending over 50% of our take-home pay on housing, which is a bit scary.” 

They also found onerous the paperwork requirements, including pay stubs, tax returns, and a letter regarding their kids' public school status. Another couple interviewed said they were disappointed they'd be unable to sublet. (That's not atypical, with many buildings, though that couple currently is allowed to do so.)

Legit concerns?

The article raised two other concerns, neither of which I think are too legitimate. Some think such buildings would not be kept up: "why should I trust that the city will maintain its 100% affordable rental buildings over time?”

Um, because they're not city-owned buildings and landlords won't get their relatively high rents if the buildings go down. 

Others expressed concerns about fees for things like gyms or bike storage, but, guess what, many alternative buildings, with lower rent, don't have that, and those costs are probably going to be borne by the middle-income renters anyhow.