Yesterday, YIMBY brought you news of the stabilization of the city’s new development pipeline through the end of 2017. Echoing the end-of-year positivity, 2018 has already brought one major new development to light, on Surf Avenue in Coney Island. Today, we have the latest on an even larger project coming to Harlem, with the reveal for the first rendering of the massive expansion proposed for Lenox Terrace, which would eventually yield over 1,600 new apartments by the time of full build-out.
We previously reported on the project back in 2015, but evidently plans for expansion have increased substantially since then. The proposed number of new units has seen a large jump, from 1,300 to 1,642.
Besides the residential component, which will include somewhere between 411 and 493 affordable apartments, the current plan would also add another 40,000 square feet of retail, 15,000 square feet of community facility space, and approximately 200 parking spaces.
The parking spaces are definitely the least palatable part of the plan. Lenox Terrace resembles many NYCHA properties in this regard, where residents who are already subsidized at dramatically below-market rates receive free or extremely affordable parking, taxing the city’s infrastructure and preventing the “towers-in-the-park” style complexes from reaching their full potential.
Unfortunately, this seems to further confirm that Mayor DeBlasio’s “Vision Zero” is nowhere near realization, with city officials failing to realize that urban planning is the most crucial aspect behind reducing the number of pedestrian and automobile fatalities and injuries.
Beyond fixing broken parking minimums, which still apply in many transit-rich neighborhoods, City Hall has failed to take action against one of New York’s own local politicians, Marty Golden, whose actions have resulted in a quantifiable death toll, and an ever-lengthening list of additional traffic violations, as Golden regularly speeds through school zones, and has allegedly impersonated a police officer.
With a double-standard for elected officials gaping wider than ever before when it comes to the rules of the road, it should not be surprising that redeveloping massive wastes of space still comes with additions of new parking. Lenox Terrace enjoys excellent transit access, with the 135th Street stop for the A, B, and C trains just three blocks west, and the 125th Street stations for the D, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains just ten blocks south.
Increasing density of long-underused parcels is a definite necessity as New York City continues to grow, however, it is time for a complete rethink when it comes to parking policies. With NYCHA’s failures widening into a chasm of deficits, their capital list now totals approximately $25 billion. Though residents who are already living in subsidized housing may feel entitled to free use of automobiles, the situation on city streets demands the exact opposite, with the elimination of wasteful and useless surface and underground parking lots across all “tower-in-the-park” style housing with proximity to transit.
As for Lenox Terrace, the first phase is expected to be completed by 2022, with the full build-out anticipated for 2027. The Olnick Organization is behind the project, though there is currently no word on which architect will design the ultimate build-out, with exact plans appearing to be in-flux.