This week, Phipps Houses backed out of their proposal to build a 10-story, 209-unit affordable- housing building on 50-25 Barnett Ave in Sunnyside and instead the site will remain a 224-space parking lot.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Borough President Melinda Katz had valid concerns about there being only 42 of the apartments in the new complex affordable to people earning between $33,000 and $44,000.
Affordable housing is at a premium in our incredible city. When Phipps Houses caved to the wishes of the community everyone lost. The site is zoned for manufacturing not for residential use. Phipps will likely sell it and now the community will have no input into what will go there if either Phipps or the new owner decides to develop as zoning allows.
As we warned in late May, Sunnyside residents have now traded an apartment complex with storefronts, new sidewalks, trees and a universal pre-kindergarten center for possibly a storage center or worse, a motel.
The community was upset about the seven-story height when most buildings in the area are only four. We urge the leaders, both the councilman and the borough president, to work with Phipps to reinstate a revised proposal.
According to their website, Phipps Houses pride themselves on creating affordable housing in New York City. They have an opportunity before them to create a situation for new grads, young families and those in desperate need of housing and prime access to Manhattan. Do not let that opportunity slip by.
We’re hoping that this vocal constituency would accept an apartment complex that is more consistent with the community and not fight it off in fear of an influx of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the neighborhood that a 209-unit building would bring.