Crumbling infrastructure and an untenable fiscal situation has led the NYCHA to turn its parking lots into cash. As part of its Land Lease program, the NYCHA seeks to solve its budget woes by leasing its parking lot areas to developers who will develop market rate housing.
The NYCHA, the nation’s largest housing authority, has been dealing with a budget shortfall totaling $876 million since 2001. The backlog for repairs in NYCHA buildings is inching towards 400,000 with wait times as long as 5 years. By leasing the land to developers the NYCHA expects to generate an additional $30-50 million per year.
The eight NYCHA sites selected for redevelopment are Baruch Houses, Campos Plaza, Carver Houses, Douglass Houses, La Guardia Houses, Meltzer Tower, Smith Houses, and Washington Houses. The Meltzer Tower location, a landscaped area, is the only redevelopment site that is not currently a NYCHA parking lot.
Looking at the selection sites, the agency’s intent in clear. Many of the parking lots are insecure and underused. There are over 600 parking spaces among the eight selection sites. The NYCHA projects developments will total 4,000 new units, 20% of which will be at or below Area Median Income, and the remaining units will be market rate. Ground floor retail is also a requirement for developers submitting RFEIs.
In a real estate market where median rent is $3150, the future of parking lot development remains uncertain. Even with parking in short supply, the value of parking space is much less than a property’s commercial and residential potential. With a booming residential market one wonders whether private parking lots can resist the temptation to sell to developers.