Monday, November 19, 2018

Developer Hudson Related To Build 341 Unit Affordable Housing Building On Roosevelt Island, Will RI Residents Be Given Preference For Units? RIOC Board Meeting Tomorrow To Approve Ground Lease

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is holding a special meeting of the Board of Directors tomorrow. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Park Theater Club at 8 River Road, Roosevelt Island, New York.


1. Authorization to Enter Into a Ground Lease for Southtown for Building #8 in Accordance with the Fifth Amendment to the Development Agreement (Board Action Required – Materials to Follow)
Hudson Related is the developer of Southtown a/k/a Riverwalk building 8

According to this excerpt from November 15, 2018 Memo by RIOC General Counsel Jacqueline Flug:
... Under the proposed Building 8 Ground Lease, a 21-story building comprised of approximately 240,000 square feet of floor area and 341 rental units, will be constructed. Building 8 will be financed under the Department of Housing Preservation and Development of the City of New York and the New York City Housing Development Corporation’s M2 Mixed Middle Income Program. RIOC seeks to preserve affordable housing, consistent with its mission and statutory purpose.

Under the Building 8 Ground Lease (i) 3% of the 341 units will be reserved as Homeless Units, (ii) 3% of the units will be reserved for very low-income families with household incomes of 40% of AMI, (iii) 14% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 50% of AMI, (iv) 10% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 80% of AMI, (v) 20% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 100% of AMI, and (vi) 50% of the units will be reserved for families with household incomes of 130% of AMI. This breakdown provides an even greater degree of affordability than was set forth in the Fifth Amendment.

To the extent permitted under the financing programs, current Roosevelt Island residents will be given preference in any affordable housing lottery with respect to Building 8....
During the November 7 RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting, Hudson Related's David Kramer described plans for the Riverwalk 8 Roosevelt Island affordable housing building including potential for Roosevelt Island residents to obtain preferences for apartment in the buidling . Here's the discussion.

The most recent Ask Susan feature from RIOC President Susan Rosenthal includes a question from a resident about Roosevelt Island affordable housing, or the lack thereof.

I was very happy to see the email below from RIOC and hope that you will be able to assist me. I have a daughter who is bipolar and schizophrenic and as a divorced mother with six years to retirement, I am the only caregiver financially and otherwise as my daughter cannot work.

After residing on Roosevelt Island for six years in a one-bedroom at Manhattan Park Apartments, I now find that I am in uurgent need of an affordable apartment on the island or I will have no choice but to leave when my lease expires in May 2019.

I did not understand that the rent for a one-bedroom apartment would move drastically from the US $2,000 range to the current amount of US $2,732. Based on the fact that last year’s lease agreement increased my rent by US $266, I am afraid that I will not be able to continue living on Roosevelt Island beyond May 2019.

Susan, I really hope you will be able to inform me of any affordable two-bedroom apartment which is available on the island. Looking forward to your reply and guidance. Thank you in advance.

SUSAN: Thank you for your question and please accept my admiration of your dedication to your daughter.

As the governing agency for the Island, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation negotiates lease agreements with the various building owners and developers that include provisions for affordable housing based on federally-accepted income guidelines based on the Area Median Income (AMI) of the New York City region. These income guidelines are calculated annually, vary by family size and therefore subject to change on a yearly basis. I encourage you to contact several of the Island building managers to inquire about the availability of any designated affordable units in their developments.

Also, note that Hudson-Related is close to beginning construction on a new housing complex in Southtown that will wholly consist of affordable units based on the AMI. However, it is not expected to open until the summer of 2020.
Does anyone know the total number of Roosevelt Island affordable housing units in each building complex? How many affordable housing units in Southtown, Manhattan Park, Octagon, Wire buildings etc?

UPDATE 11/21 - RIOC Board of Directors

approved the ground lease for Riverwalk Building 8 last evening. The 3 resident Board members voted in favor of the ground lease and 2 NY State officials abstained. Acting RIOC Board Chair Alex Valella abstained because his agency approved a subsidy for the project. Also, the other NY State representative (don't have her name) abstained, saying that she did not have sufficient information to cast a vote.

Prior to the vote, the RIOC Board entered into Executive Session to discuss unresolved terms of the Ground Lease Agreement. The public, including Hudson Related representatives, were asked to leave the meeting room and were not allowed to observe issues being discussed by the RIOC Board. We waited in the adjoining foyer.

After approximately 30 minutes the Hudson Related representatives were called back into the room. After another 20 minutes, the Hudson Related representatives returned to the foyer, not looking very happy.

Shortly thereafter, we were all called back into the meeting room and the RIOC Board resumed it's public meeting.

Prior to the vote, RIOC General Counsel Jaci Flug announced that an additional provision would be  added to Ground Lease Agreement resolution. Hudson Related would build a Comfort Station at Firefighters Field and make modifications to the field at a cost not to exceed $1 Million.

Also, prior to the vote, RIOC Board member Michael Shinozaki asked Hudson Related's David Kramer to respond to questions about the project including the mix and configuration of the 341 apartment units. Mr Kramer's colleague from Related Companies reported that:
... 25% of units are studios, 15% are 3 Bedrooms and the balance are 1-2 bedrooms....
(Will have more specific info on unit configuration soon).

Here's the discussion,

followed by the Board vote.

 RIOC Board Director Michael Shinozaki joined the other 2 resident Board Members voting in favor of the Ground Lease but noted prior to his vote:
... you haven't left us with much of a choice..
During the RIOC Board Public Session, prior to the start of the Board meeting, Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance asked the Board to defer voting on the Ground Lease Agreement until the plan on apartment layout is in compliance with the Roosevelt Island General Development Plan.

Stay tuned for more info on Riverwalk Building 8 Affordable Housing Plan.

UPDATE 11/30 - According to Hudson Related's David Kramer:
Riverwalk 8 has 341 units: 81 studios, 158 One Beds, 51 Twos and 51 Threes.