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Plot Twist: Developer Do-Gooder In NYC

Plot Twist: Developer Do-Gooder In NYC

By James L. Knobloch August 31, 2016
Photo courtesy of Activity Post

It’s easy to look at the state of the world and feel defeated—be it the fires and floods, turmoil in the Middle East, or the clown show that is the current election. It’s only September, and 2016 has already claimed the likes of Garry Marshall, Elie Wiesel, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Zaha Hadid, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and most recently, the great Gene Wilder. Suffice to say, if you’re in need of a bit of refreshingly pleasant news, you’re not alone. Try this on for size:

“Building a home takes much more than bricks and mortar; we have to invest in our community and our neighbors.”

Related: Can You Even Afford A Micro-Studio? NYC Debuts Its First Micro-Apartment Block

At first read, you might expect such a statement to come from a community activist, a civic leader, or perhaps a pandering politician. Spoiler alert—the answer is “D. None of the above.” Those prophetic words were spoken by one Matthew Finkle, who runs the affordable housing division of Related Companies. Related is a privately owned real estate firm whose portfolio includes Time Warner Center, Hudson Yards, and 520 West 28th, designed by the aforementioned architect Zaha Hadid.

Recently, Related purchased a cluster of seven affordable housing-dedicated buildings known as the Marine Terrace Complex (20th Avenue between Shore Boulevard and 21st Street) near the Astoria waterfront for just over $120 million. But lest you think that another out of reach, luxury high-rise is on the way, rest easy. Related plans to renovate the properties’ existing units and add two additional buildings to the site to provide housing for veterans.

The two new buildings, which will be three and four stories tall, respectively, will be built where two sets of soon to be demolished parking garages currently stand. According to Related, the resulting 53 units will be rented with a “preference to veterans, and 20 percent of them will also give preference to those who are homeless.”

As for the nearly 450 apartments that already exist at Marine Terrace, those will be getting a major facelift—including “new kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and flooring”—and will continue to be a part of the Section 8 affordable housing program, bringing the site to about 500 units total.

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Marine Terrace Complex will provide affordable housing for vets. Photo courtesy of newyorkyimby.com

But wait, there’s more!

The renovations and construction, for which Related anticipates breaking ground next summer, will do more than provide affordable housing to people who really need (and deserve) it. Almost 5,500 square feet of community areas will be added, which will include a “fitness center, computer lab, resident lounge, laundry room and nurse’s office.” With these facilities in place, those who call Marine Terrace home will have access to programs like “computer training, after-school tutoring, and health screenings.”

Developers making the community a better place? I guess anything is possible.

James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

A creative professional with a sharp tongue and a big smile, taking on city living one slightly-veiled sarcastic comment at a time. Born and raised just outside of New Orleans, James is a living testament to his own mantra, “Southern hospitality is a privilege, not a right,” giving his work a unique, dry humor meets charm perspective.
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