From the NY Times:
A small asphalt lot fills a nondescript corner of Chelsea, visually bland, wrapped in iron fencing and carpeted with a couple dozen cars. The only thing remarkable about it is that it exists.
The lot provides cheap parking for tenants in the adjoining public housing development, the Elliott-Chelsea Houses, an unlikely perk in a neighborhood synonymous with the trappings and traps of success.
But the lot’s valiant fight against the physics of real estate and government finance is about to come to an end. The city Housing Authority is selling it to a developer for $4 million.
The sale is part of a sweeping citywide plan to shoehorn up to 6,000 homes affordable to low- and moderate-income families, along with some shops, into parcels of public housing property deemed “underutilized” — mostly open spaces and parking lots. Set in motion in 2006, the plan is now hitting its stride, with 3,500 units either finished or in the pipeline, including four projects completed and another eight under way.
The initiative is rooted in practical needs and grander hopes for the future of public housing. The new construction will help Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reach his goal of preserving or creating 165,000 affordable units by 2014. It will also generate money for the cash-poor Housing Authority.
With their parking lots, greenery and open space, the city’s housing complexes were often “under-built to what zoning would allow,” said Ilene Popkin, the authority’s assistant deputy general manager. Ms. Popkin said her goal was “to identify where the opportunities are for affordable housing development that makes sense.”
Sold-off parking lots will be replaced with new lots nearby, Ms. Popkin said. “No one lost a parking spot as a result of what we did,” she said.
At Elliott-Chelsea, the new units on the site of the current parking lot, at Ninth Avenue and West 25th Street, will be open to households with annual incomes of up to $150,000 for a family of four. Assurances that lost parking spaces will be offset by spaces in a garage beneath the new building have done little to temper existing tenants’ misgivings.
I don't understand how $150,000 for family of four is considered affordable. And who at that level of income would want to live mixed into the projects.
I also don't understand the point of building on a parking lot and then replacing them with new lots nearby. What is currently on the other lots? And why not build the affordable housing on them and leave the parking where it is instead of wasting more money? In fact, why do people in Manhattan need cars and how do people in projects afford cars?