Quality of Life in New York>Question Details

Strepitus, Home Owner in Valatie, NY

How accurate, or fair, is it for Manhattan apartments that are 80/20 to describe themselves as "luxury?" I see a contradiction in terms

Asked by Strepitus, Valatie, NY Sun Apr 10, 2011


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Mitchell Hall’s answer
In my opinion the 80/20 is one of the best programs for affordable housing. It is much better than building and isolating housing projects. The Related Companies, the developer of the Time Warner Center has a large portfolio of 80/20 rental buildings. The Caledonia in Chelsea and the Lyric on the Upper West Side are two that come to mind.

A luxury building is still luxury weather it's residents are all wealthy, middle class or poor. Manhattan is an urban global city. There is diversity here. On almost any given block there is a mix of commercial and residential housing with every socio economic and ethnicity.

35 - 40 years ago the upper middle and middle class were fleeing the city Now they all want to live here. Selling their suburban homes for Manhattan condos and coops. They're my clients. They all love Manhattan particularly the Upper West Side but some of them want to suburbanize the city so it's more comfortable to their familiar suburban interests, values and "ethos."

"I didn't expect scratched and beat-up elevators after walking through a decent lobby, and I did not expect to see or hear teens/young adults, sometimes accompanied by young infants, swearing or talking loudly".

Your comnment implies the 20% scratched the elevators and have loud teenages and infants. The reason 80/20 works is you don't know who is 80 and who is 20. Unless those loud teenagers told you their parents were poor and renting in the 20% program you are making an assumption based on a stereotype.

IMHO, for $5000/month there are many beautiful apartments in Manhattan. Either they are looking in all the wrong places, they need a good broker or Manhattan and urban living may not for them or their parent.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
Actually, it's not a contradiction. Not only rentals, but some pretty beautiful condos including a unit I recently sold in magnificent new condo building i Downtown Brooklyn. According to the NYC website, the 80/20 Program uses tax-exempt bonds to create affordable housing for low-income tenants in "desirable neighborhoods throughout the city." By using these tax-exempt bonds for construction of these buildings, the cost for the builder/developer is reduced. They, in turn, are required to set aside 20% of the units for "low income" tenants which is defined as individuals earning no more than 50% of the median income of the area. This is a far cry from the days of building "projects" as low-income housing.

You can read more here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/faqs-for-apt-seek…

Hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
Dear Strepitus, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Mitchell Hall who so eloquently put this question into perspective once and for all. Bravo.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2011
Strepitus, in regard to your response, Yes, I agree the term "luxury" is very subjective and I feel your frustration in not finding suitable housing for what would appear to be a sizable budget, but I'm sensing
a subtext here....... clearly the building did not meet your definition of "luxury", but I'm not sure that beat-up elevators and loud swearing tenants are particular to 80/20 buildings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
That may not be the only sticker shock in store for you. Before you sign their lease you may want to find out if their lease is a preferential rent lease - this means their increase next year if they dont lock int0 a 2-year lease will be based on the Real Rent.

As you pointed out this is Manhattan. You have to share the same space in the subway with people from all walks of life; and so you must also share living-space in Rental buildings designed only to give the Developers a tax break while you pay for your space as well as for those who get to live in it at a fraction of what youre paying. Thats the luxury of living in NYC. Someone has to pay for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
Luxury is truly in the eyes of the beholder and highly subjective. Like describing an apartment as enormous because you came from a 350 foot studio to an 800 foot 1 bedroom
Barry Salottolo
Owner Broker
All Points Realty LLC
Manhattan Connecticut and Westchester
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
In response to Mr. Oserin, from the apartments I visited the other day that were 80/20 and that were described as "luxury" apartments, I did see a contradiction, unfortunately. I suppose the term "luxury" is subjective, and herein lies the issue. My definition of "luxury" not only concerns the usual elements -- finishes, doormen, etc. -- but also includes security, both real and apparent, as well as the general ethos of the building. In other words, I didn't expect scratched and beat-up elevators after walking through a decent lobby, and I did not expect to see or hear teens/young adults, sometimes accompanied by young infants, swearing or talking loudly.
It's been a while (34 years) since I lived in Manhattan so I'm clearly suffering from sticker shock and the realization that $5,000 a month probably won't secure my child and a roommate an apartment of the size, or the character, in the neighborhood that they'd like -- and, before you say it, they've already agreed to make compromises!
Ultimately, I suppose I view the 80/20 regulation as another way in which the middle classes are being squeezed and taxed, while the wealthy remain relatively insulated. Too bad.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
In laymen's terms its a tax reduction benefit the Developers get from the City of New York to house 20% of the bldgs units to low income families and they get the choice of the apts first. I am told 80/20 doesnt exist any longer as of a few months ago. Its replaced by another variation of housing program. There are some rental buildings that didnt opt to go 80/20 when it was a practice.

The best you can do for your daughter is to google the building and go to the local precinct and check out the crime stats for the area/building.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
What's the contradiction? Why can't a building be both luxury and house moderate income households?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
What do you mean exactly by 80/20? In terms of the co-op financing they are looking for to buy into the co-op???
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2011
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