New York City runs into affordable housing dilemma

Inspired design proves costly on taxpayer-funded housing.

May 17, 2015 |
New York City runs into affordable housing dilemma

The 124-unit structure is one of several financed under the Bloomberg administration that have gone well beyond the average cost for affordable housing in the city. Rendering: David Adjaye

New York City’s affordable housing policy has created attractive low-cost housing, but the price of success has been high.

In November, an affordable-housing development designed by renowned British architect David Adjaye opened in Manhattan's Sugar Hill neighborhood. The building's unique, cantilevered design, along with its ground-floor school and children's museum was hailed for its beautiful, unique design.

The problem: The nonprofit that built the Sugar Hill Development has asked the City Council to cover $4 million in construction cost overruns on the now $70 million residential portion of the building, bringing the per-unit price to more than $550,000, according to Crain’s New York Business.

The 124-unit structure is one of several financed under the Bloomberg administration that have gone well beyond the average cost for affordable housing in the city, which industry experts say has rarely exceeded $400,000 per unit, Crain’s says.

Though recent affordable housing projects, which have included neighborhood amenities, have been well received, the cost of these projects has reportedly become an increasingly contentious issue.

Overlay Init