Manhattan real-estate developer Extell, which is building a new luxury apartment complex in New York City's tony Upper West Side, wants to take advantage of tax breaks and other building allowance by the city. In order to do that, it needs to set aside affordable housing units for low-income families.
But how does Extell make sure that its rich clientele does not have to rub shoulders with the riffraff? Here's the solution: two separate entrances, one for the rich and another one for the poor.
Needless to say, the developer's plan is drawing fire, as noted by Gawker. Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal told West Side Rag, "This 'separate but equal' arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side. A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off. The developer must follow the spirit as well [as] the letter of the law when building affordable housing, and this plan is clearly not what was intended by the community."
Extell, naturally, disagrees. It released a statement to CBS New York defending its plan. "Many factors go into the design of a building including efficiency, cost and financibility, especially when the units are permanently affordable, which is the case here." Extell noted that the affordable housing units are part of a separate entity, which is required by zoning regulations to have its own entrance. It continues, "The goal we will deliver on is filling a neighborhood need by adding high quality affordable residences in a beautiful neighborhood – residences we are confident will attract no shortage of applicants."