Courtlandt Corners I & II (II is on the left and is now know as 'The Upton') on 161st Street between Courtlandt and Melrose Avenues.
Courtlandt Corners I & II (II is on the left and is now know as ‘The Upton’) on 161st Street between Courtlandt and Melrose Avenues.

Courtlandt Corners in Melrose, the development which comprises of Courtlandt Corners I & II and Courtlandt Crescent, has rebranded the phase II building on the northern side of 161st Street as ‘The Upton’ offering ‘affordable luxury living’ but at rents that are well above the neighborhood average and clearly are not affordable to the general area population.

According to Cecily Almanzar at the management office for Phipps Houses—who developed the 540 unit project—the apartments already have been occupied since it opened in November of 2010 but there are 2 apartments that have since been vacated and are being offered at market rates with income restrictions.

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Studios are being rented at $1,263 (well above the neighborhood range of $1,050-$1,100) for an individual making anywhere from $43,152 – $66,220, 1 bedrooms ranging from $1,292-$1,584 (average for a 1 bedroom is $1,200) for 1-2 individuals making $44,288-$75,680 a year, and 2 bedrooms from $1,525-$1,906 (average 2 bedroom apartment in the neighborhood is $1,450) for a family of 1-4 individuals making $52,268-$94,490 a year.

Even though Phipps is marketing them as market rate apartments, they are still income restricted as you can see above and in the screenshot below but clearly they are not affordable rents as per neighborhood standards.

 

Rents as well well as income requirements for 'The Upton'
Rents as well well as income requirements for ‘The Upton’

These rents are in stark contrast to the low-income rents at Courtlandt Crescent, the 3rd and final phase of the development which is already occupied.  There the rents range from $751 for a studio for an individual making $27,669-$34,860, 1 bedrooms for 1-2 individuals renting for $808 with incomes ranging from $29,692-$39,840, and 2 bedroom units for families of 2-4 individuals renting for $979 with incomes between $35,623 – $49,800.

courtlandtcre
Courtlandt Crescent rents and income guidelines.

 

Phipps Houses lists the following as amenities:

  • In-unit Bosch washer & dryer (2 bedroom & larger units)
  • GE microwave, dishwasher, stove & refrigerator
  • Open kitchen with center island
  • Built-in media center (internet & cable ready)
  • Landscaped courtyard
  • 3 Party Rooms (For Resident Use Only)
  • Indoor garage (separate fee)

Sure the property is located half a block from Metro North and a 10 minute walk to 3rd Avenue/149th Street on the 2/5 trains or a 10 minute walk West to the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium on the 4/D line but these rents are completely out of line for neighborhood affordability.

I’m all for having a decent mix of incomes in a neighborhood but these high rents will unfortunately cause a ripple effect on the rental market in the area as landlords will look to this as market acceptance of such rents.

Gentrification is real, folks, even under the guise of “affordable housing” it seems we are no longer protected.

Are you a middle-income family living in Melrose or the surrounding area? Do you think these rents are affordable to you as a middle-income resident?

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