It’s been over a year since a lottery was launched for a luxury “affordable” housing development located at 276 Grand Concourse in Mott Haven which was asking $2,000 a month for a studio and upwards of $2,400 for two-bedroom units.
13 months later and there are dozens of apartments that still haven’t been rented as evidenced by listings on New York City’s Housing Connect which lists available affordable housing units across the city.
And with thousands of luxury units under construction or having been completed within the immediate area, particularly just a few blocks south in Port Morris, is this an indication of a bigger problem of developers overestimating the demand for luxury in the South Bronx?
What does this say about the appeal of the building? It’s located steps away from a recently renovated E 138th Street on the 4 and 5 line and a few blocks from the 6 at 3rd Avenue and 138th Street.
According to the listing on Housing Connect, 276 Grand Concourse Apartments, as the development is known, has amenities like a 24 hour, seven day a week doorman, a yoga and dance studio, rooftop terrace, a private gym, children’s playroom, recreation room, business center, outdoor terrace and the apartments come with washer and dryers in each unit as well as dishwashers.
With such amenities, you’d think that these apartments would have been snatched up immediately but clearly after over a year on the market, people aren’t too convinced.
Compared to the massive 1,500 unit Bankside and the almost 500 units at The Arches just a few blocks south along the Harlem River waterfront, 276 Grand Concourse is conveniently located next to the subway whereas the folks at Bankside and The Arches have to trek a few blocks across and alongside a dirty highway to get to the subway.
And yet, over 30 apartments are still available.
In order to qualify for a studio at 276 Grand Concourse, you have to make a minimum of $64,458 per year which is more than 3x the area median income of $21,737.
According to data from the New York City Department of Planning, this minimum requirement is more than what 80% of households within Community Board 1, where the development is located, make per year.
For the average Mott Haven and South Bronx resident, these rents coupled with the income requirements is anything but affordable.
The Bronx, along with New York City, continues to experience an affordable housing crisis and had these units been more in line with what residents need, they wouldn’t be sitting vacant for over a year.
New York City needs to do a better job when it comes to affordable housing and units requiring 130% of the Area Median Income shouldn’t be allowed to be a part of the affordable housing program and lottery.