Could affordable rentals be an upside to the economic downturn?
Nearly two years after unveiling its $20 million Housing Asset Renewal Program, the city announced Tuesday that it has closed on its first deal to convert a stalled condo project in Brooklyn into affordable housing units.
The project at 382 Lefferts Ave. was designed as a 26-unit condo building, but like many others it hit the rocks during the financial collapse in the fall of 2008. Under HARP, the building will now become a 46-unit affordable rental building, open to renters with an annual income of up to $55,000 for a single person, or $79,200 for a family of four. The project is now expected to be completed in 2013.
The city will pitch $3 million towards finishing the construction of the building.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said HARP is an effort to make the most out of a slumping market.
"With the credit crunch leaving so many buildings empty and so many New Yorkers looking for an affordable place to live, it seemed natural to take those two problems and make them into a solution," Quinn said.
The New York Times maintains that HARP's reach "remains modest," especially since the Department of Buildings estimates that there are roughly 672 stalled construction sites citywide.
CBS New York reports that the city Housing Preservation and Development agency has received "dozens of applications," and has approved four of them, though financing negotiations were ongoing.
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