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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Report From Acting RIOC President Don Lewis - Roosevelt Island Cornell Campus Renderings, Island House Affordability Plan, FDR Memorial Dedication & Halloween Extravaganza

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Acting President Don Lewis sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
I just attended the dedication ceremony for Four Freedoms Park, and both the Park and the ceremony were simply magnificent. It was an absolute pleasure to have Tom Brokaw as a Master of Ceremonies and hear President Bill Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Ambassador William J. Vanden Heuvel address the captivated audience. The Four Freedoms Park team, the RIOC Board of Directors and RIOC staff all did an outstanding job in working cooperatively to get this done. I encourage the community to take the opportunity to see the Park on Saturday, October 20, which is Roosevelt Island Residents’ Day at the Park, featuring an Open House for resident preview from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

New Cornell Campus Renderings

Earlier this week Cornell University unveiled new renderings of its future campus, which will be located on the southern part of Roosevelt Island. The designs are the most detailed we have seen to date and confirm Cornell’s commitment to an open campus that integrates the rest of the Island and New York City with the campus. For example, the renderings show a pedestrian walkway connecting an outdoor plaza and a green esplanade that offer wonderful views of Manhattan, Queens and the East River. RIOC is thrilled that the plan calls for a series of gorgeous public areas that will be open to Island residents and visitors, and a public café on the main academic building's ground floor that will run into the courtyard. The net-zero energy academic building, with its rooftop photovoltaic canopy, is in line with previous green technology innovations on Roosevelt Island. We look forward to continuing to work with Cornell as their exciting vision becomes reality.

Island House Affordability Plan

We are very pleased to note that, as result of several years of negotiations, Island House, a 400-unit affordable housing development on Roosevelt Island, will continue to remain affordable to its residents for the next 30 years. The Island House deal is historic in nature and marks the first successful conversion of a State Mitchell-Lama rental to affordable home ownership as a solution to a market-rate exit from Mitchell-Lama. Without the State’s intervention in extending affordability, apartments within Island House, a development at the threshold of leaving the Mitchell-Lama program, would have been allowed to be rented at market rates, severely affecting residents.

Under the Island House Affordability Plan, Island House, constructed in 1975 as one of the first four modern housing developments on Roosevelt Island, will exit the Mitchell-Lama program. The Affordability Plan, however, protects all current tenants by allowing them to remain in their apartments with future rent increases calculated in a manner similar to rent stabilized apartments. Rent protection will remain in effect for 30 years. The owner of Island House will apply to convert the building to Co-Op ownership. If the conversion is approved, current tenants will be offered the option to purchase their apartments at below market prices.

The Affordability Plan was initially drafted and agreed upon by the Island House owner and tenants. The Plan was later approved by a multi-agency working group that included: RIOC, which administers operations on Roosevelt Island; New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the State’s housing agency, which administers both the Mitchell-Lama program and the State’s rent laws; and Empire State Development (ESD), which in 1969, as the Urban Development Corporation, first leased the land under Island House from the City of New York. The Affordability Plan was the result of several years of negotiations among the agencies, the Island House Tenants Association, and owners’ representatives.

Halloween Parade & Extravaganza

We are pleased to announce that the annual Roosevelt Island Halloween Parade & Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2012. The parade will begin at 12:00 pm at Blackwell House and end at Capobianco Field. It will feature games, rides, magic shows and live entertainment. All activities are free of charge. In the event of rain, the extravaganza will be held inside PS/IS 217. Participants are strongly encouraged to dress in costumes.

Our last Island event, the Fall for Arts Festival, was a smashing success with over 2,000 people in attendance! We would like the Parade & Extravaganza to be just as successful (if not more), and hope to see you there!


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