City officials shared with Greenwich Village residents Wednesday night the results of its community engagement process for the all-affordable rental building on city-owned property at 388 Hudson St.
Representatives of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) presented Manhattan Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee with the results of its months-long community visioning process, which will be included in the site’s request for proposal to guide applicants as they submit designs for the building.
The results of outreach that the agency tabulated from both in-person and virtual events show that a slim majority of residents want a community or cultural space on the building’s non-residential ground floor; they overwhelmingly prefer a mix of rental homes for both lower and middle class households; and they want a low-to-mid-rise building.
The reactions to HPD’s survey results were mixed.
Committee members raised concerns and clarifications about the non-residential space on the ground floor, the permanence of affordable housing and the distance that the building would have to be setback from the sidewalk for infrastructural reasons, among others.
Though the HPD’s questionnaire results found that a 53% of respondents were in favor of a community space, just above 49% in favor of a grocery store, members of the community board noted that they had specifically ask for a cold weather recreation space, and asked for that to be reflected in the materials it sends out, which HPD spokesperson Tyler Tichenor said it would be.
On the depth of the setback from the street, Tichenor said that the city Department of Environmental Protection would not know how much space the developer would have to leave to protect ground infrastructure until after the RFP process has been concluded and construction can begin.
Not all the results included?
Some residents and stakeholders, particularly Greenwich Village Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman, criticized what he saw as results that didn’t add up with the amount of design feedback members of his organization had submitted.
Berman said that virtually all of the 2,000 emails his organization had collected and submitted said that they wanted a lower building that was commensurate with the height of the buildings around it in order to minimize shadows on JJ Walker Park.
“I don’t see reflected anywhere in this document,” Berman said.
A HPD spokesperson said that the community visioning report will mention the letters that the agency received from Village Preservation and summarize their contents.
Members of the community board and the Village Preservation group also asked this city for a guarantee that the affordable housing in the units would be permanent since the regulatory agreement with the developer would only last for a 60-year term.
“We can ensure permanent long-term affordability,” said Tichenor.
After the initial agreement expires, he said, a regulatory tool in the deed called an affordability reverter that states if the developer doesn’t extend and renew the agreement for another term, the land and any improvement will have to return to city ownership.
HPD will be publishing its community vision report, containing all the information it presented to the community board in detail in the next couple of weeks, and shortly after that it will release the RFP for the building.