New Space Brings More Affordable Housing to Clinton/Hells Kitchen

City Hall – The City Council today overwhelming passed a Land Use bill to rezone the Western Rail Yards (WRY). The rezoning plan will allow for the preservation of existing and the creation of new affordable housing for the neighborhood, the vast majority of which is permanent. The plan also allows for the development of 16,000 square feet of cultural space for the community and the creation of a new green space.

“The passing of the Western Rail Yard rezoning plan by the Land Use Committee is a victory for our community,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This rezoning reflects years of conversations, outreach and input from community members. Soon, thousands of New Yorkers will have the opportunity for new affordable housing and cultural space right in their neighborhoods. A rezoning of this magnitude that unlocks an unprecedented amount of developmental potential would only be tenable with a guaranteed affordable housing program.”


Through this Land Use bill, over 20% of all residential units will be affordable and available to low, moderate and middle income New Yorkers. This will be possible through the development of City owned properties, on the Western and Eastern Rail Yards, and the preservation of existing neighborhood affordable housing buildings that are currently in danger of deregulation.


The Council was also able to address the increasing important need for green space in a neighborhood that desperately lacks sufficient park land. With this rezoning plan, the neighborhood will see the creation of new green space on the parcel of land currently owned by the Department of Environmental Protection, which will fund the cost of design and make a capital contribution to the eventual cost of construction.


Additionally, the Council has made significant progress in securing the commitment to develop 16,000 square feet of cultural space to be provided in multiple facilities. This will increase the likelihood that small neighborhood based organizations will be able to benefit from this space.

“With this rezoning of the Western Rail Yards, this undeveloped area will finally be able to reach its full potential for all New Yorkers,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “This sensible rezoning plan will allow us to develop critical affordable housing and community space amidst the density of Manhattan’s West Side. I want to thank Speaker Quinn and the City Council for leading an inclusive and productive coalition of community members and elected officials to reclaim this underused asset.”

“I applaud New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership in bringing permanently affordable housing to the Western Rail Yard site, preserving affordable housing in the wider community, and rehabilitating public open space for neighborhood residents,” said New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, in whose district the Western Rail Yard project will be built. “I am pleased that the City, the community, and all stakeholders have come to an agreement that recognizes the vision laid out by Manhattan Community Board 4 in their thoughtful response to the Western Rail Yard ULURP applications. In the coming months, I look forward to continuing to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accommodate their office space needs while maximizing permanent affordable housing off-site.”

“A main priority of mine in any development project is that a healthy amount of affordable housing be included. This rezoning plan will bring an affordable housing commitment to build two- and three- bedrooms in 50% of the units built on redeveloped City property, and I applaud that action,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, who represents parts of the Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood. As a member of the Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports committee in the Assembly, I am also pleased that a significant amount of cultural space will be added to the neighborhood for all residents to use and enjoy.”
“The final plan is a tremendous improvement over the original, primarily because it guarantees to create and preserve affordable housing for a community that really needs it,” said Borough President Scott Stringer. “Whether we’re talking about affordable housing or the creation of new parks and cultural spaces, this agreement ensures that construction over the Western Rail Yards will create New York’s next great neighborhood.”

Members of Community Board 4 and the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood have been working on a vision for the Western Rail Yard for nearly a decade. The housing and cultural modifications to the plan translate into significant improvements for the community. In conjunction with the WRY project, other community victories include:

· The development of more than 20% of all residential units in the WRY rezoning as affordable units. The vast majority of this affordable housing will be permanent;

· The commitment to develop at least 50% 2 bedrooms or larger in the City owned housing sites, creating family sized housing the community needs;

· The commitment from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to review the Community Board’s proposed Hell’s Kitchen South historic district and several individual landmarks;

· The creation of a construction task force that will include any subcontractors of the Developer; and

· The addition of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on the Open Space Governance Board. This board will be made up of representatives from the developer as well as the community and will be tasked with approving programming of the more than 5 acres of open space.

“I want to thank Speaker Quinn and her staff for their tireless work in helping to craft an agreement on the Western Rail Yards plan that embodies so many of the important neighborhood principles we have fought for over the last two years,” said John Lee Compton, chair of the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee. “We now look forward to the hard work of translating this plan into a new, vibrant part of our community.”