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Luxury apartment has separate entrance for subsidized renters

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A building slated for the Upper West Side is being questioned as plans for affordable housing units along with market-rate units, will include separate entrances for each of those components.

Some say while those entrances will be separate, they will not be equal.

Critics are calling it a case of “rich door, poor door,” a luxury high rise with one entrance for the millionaire condo owners and another for subsidized renters.

Now the question is whether the city will give the developer the tax breaks it wants.

The luxury condominium tower is under construction at 40 Riverside Boulevard and overlooks the Hudson River. The developer, Extell, is planning to build 219 condo units, starting at over $1 million each, according to westsiderag.com.

Extell says it will include 55 affordable housing units with rents starting at $845. Local Community Board 7 says they would have a separate entrance and elevators. That’s not sitting well with assembly member Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

“My question is, why do the affordable units have to be segregated apart from the condos that the wealthy can afford to buy?”

It’s an issue because the low income housing would make the developer eligible for tax benefits and air rights that could be worth millions of dollars. Rents in this development start at several thousand dollars a month and condos go for millions.

Those living there have mixed opinions.

“It should be one door for, I guess, one building and share the access equally – yeah,” said one resident.

“I guess this is a good compromise in order for them to build their building and also provide housing for other people,” added another resident. 

The local community board expressed its own concerns about the project, despite the number of jobs and housing units it will provide. Extell says the goal is to deliver on filling a need in a beautiful neighborhood and says there will be no shortage of applicants.

The city is still reviewing its application.

“Developers up and down the west side and across the city manage to inter-mingle the affordable units with the non-affordable units – it’s done everywhere. There’s no reason that there needs to be segregation,” said Rosenthal.

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