June 26, 2015 By Christian Murray
A 10 story, 220-unit building is being planned to go up on Barnett Avenue (near 52nd Street), directly across the street from the Phipps Garden Apartments.
The site is currently being used as a parking lot and is located in a manufacturing zone. The developer, Phipps Houses, will soon be seeking a zoning change in order to build the structure.
Phipps is currently working with the city in order to construct a building that would be 100 percent affordable. The company, which is non-profit, has a long history of building and managing affordable housing complexes.
Michael Wadman, vice president of Phipps Houses, went before Community Board 2’s Land Use committee Wednesday and provided an overview of the project. He said that 20% of the units would be for tenants who earn 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 30% for those who earn 100% of AMI and the remaining 50% for those who earn up to 130% of AMI.
“We think this is the right kind of affordability for this neighborhood and in general,” Wadman said. However, the income levels have not been finalized, he said.
The plans are still in the conceptual stage, although they are likely to be certified by the City Planning Dept. this fall, which will then start the ULURP process, required for the zoning change.
Herbert Mandel, an architect with MHG Architects, told committee members that he believed the structure would be an attractive addition to Barnett Avenue.
“We think this will be a handsome building that will improve the streetscape,” Mandel said. He said that an extra row of trees will be planted in addition to the existing street trees to provide a canopy. The building will also be set back from the road.
The apartments will be more geared toward families. More than half of the units will be either two or three bedrooms. Only 5% of the units will be studio apartments.
Some of the units will be ground floor duplexes that will provide tenants with their own garden space that looks out onto the street.
The rental costs for the lowest income bracket will be between $500 and $1,000 depending on the size of the unit. Meanwhile, for moderate income earners those figures are expected to be between $1,200 and $2,100, and for the higher end $1,600 to $2,800.
These numbers are preliminary figures.
Mandel said the building will also include space for universal pre-K. There will be a deck on the second floor that will be for recreational purposes that will look over the rear of the property.
The developer is likely to make room for as many as 199 parking spaces. Those spaces that are not used by residents will be available to the public. There was no discussion as to cost.
Mandel said the building has been designed so it will not overwhelm the Phipps Gardens Apartments, a property that it owns and manages.
While the new building will be 10 stories, compared to the Phipps Gardens Apartment’s six, Mandel said that the floor heights of the older Phipps building are much higher so the size difference will not be that vast.
Please note: The photos were taken during a PowerPoint presentation at the community board meeting Wednesday. They are of poor quality. However, they do provide an indication of what’s planned.