Extell, a Manhattan high-rise luxury condo developer, has reportedly been given the green light to proceed with their plans to add a separate entrance to the building for the poor, and the controversial and segregationist proposal was approved by New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, according to the New York Post.
The Upper West Side 33-story building, which is still in throes of construction, will consist of 219 luxury units that face the Hudson River, but Floors 2 through 6 have been allotted for those families whose annual income falls below $51,540, which makes up about 60 percent of the area’s median income.
The city’s Inclusionary Housing Program is a boon for developers because, in addition to generous tax breaks, they are allotted more square footage for their properties if they allow a certain number of lower-income families to reside within their properties.
Since news of the “poor door” plans leaked out last year, there have been those who are campaigning against the move, demanding equality and not separatism. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not a license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off,” New York Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal told the West Side Rag last August. “The developer must follow the spirit as well the letter of the law when building affordable housing, and this plan is clearly not what was intended by the community.”
The West Side Rag compared the “poor door” arrangement to servants and nobles quarters in “Downtown Abbey,” which is a TV drama that follows the fortunes of a wildly dysfunctional aristocratic English family at the beginning of the twentieth century.
One more note: Besides the building’s”poor door” separate entrance, the lower-income families will also be reportedly banned from using the building’s gym and swimming pool.