Residents voice worries over first MIH project
Story by Gregg McQueen and Debralee Santos.
It may be the first, but it’s more heckle than hurrah so far.
Concerned Northern Manhattan residents continue to express opposition to the controversial Sherman Plaza project, a plan for a mixed-use apartment building at 4650 Broadway, directly across from Fort Tryon Park.
The project, which now calls for a building potentially 17 stories high at the current site of the Packard Building on the corner of Sherman Avenue and Broadway, has rankled community stakeholders since it was first proposed in March.
Comprised of both upscale and affordable housing, it would be the first project to be built under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) rezoning plan.
The developers, Washington Square Partners and Acadia Realty Trust, are seeking approval from the city for “spot rezoning” at the site in order to include more affordable housing in the project.
At a City Council hearing on the rezoning plan held on July 12, concerned uptown dwellers packed City Hall, with 19 members of the public speaking out in opposition.
While developers have argued that the project is necessary to improve uptown’s affordable housing stock, critics charge that the Sherman Plaza project, by introducing luxury housing units to the neighborhood, would drive up rents and fuel gentrification, driving out longtime residents with modest incomes.
“You take a look at a neighborhood like Williamsburg, and there are lessons to be learned there,” said Graham Ciraulo, an organizer for a community group called Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale. Ciraulo said that that the small number of affordable apartments that Sherman Plaza would provide to Inwood is not worth the tradeoff of seeing future upscale projects that could result from the rezoning being approved.
Read more: Panning the Plaza plan | Manhattan Times