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One45 Is Back From the Dead

A contentious Harlem housing development is back for round two, and more links for your chilly Friday.

The site of the proposed One45 Harlem for ALL development, which currently hosts a truck depot. (Hell Gate)

Here we go again—on Thursday, developer Bruce Teitelbaum revived his plans for the mixed-use Harlem housing development One45, which is now being called "One45 Harlem for ALL." What is dead may never die, as they say! In announcing that he's kicking off the rezoning process again, he's setting up what's sure to be yet another contentious battle with Harlem Councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan, whose opposition to the plan over what she perceived as its lack of truly affordable housing killed the previous iteration. 

Round two promises to be as depressing as the first, which ended with Teitelbaum withdrawing his application and then, in what could easily be regarded as a middle finger to both Jordan and the neighborhood, later opening a truck depot on part of the site. 

What's in the new One45 Harlem for ALL? Much of the old One45. In a letter addressed to Councilmember Jordan, and provided to Hell Gate, Teitelbaum shared that his new plans include "at least 915" new apartments, with 174 of those units targeted to people earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income, 164 restricted to people earning 60 to 80 percent of the AMI, and 120 units at an unspecified "affordable" level. (Teitelbaum didn't note the income restrictions for the latter, merely writing instead that those apartments would be "built for union households like members of 32 BJ & Local 79, civil servants, blue collar workers, teachers, healthcare professionals, and other working-class Harlem families." He added, a bit snippily, "These New Yorkers are also in desperate need of affordable housing, but are missing from your 'community rubric' for housing.")

As for the fate of the widely hated truck depot? He's still using it as a negotiating chip, writing, "At the same time, we are also going to continue to work on our as-of-right plan (a truck depot on the partially vacant site and, once vacated, a mix of 100 percent market rate housing, a self-storage facility, parking, and retail)."

Teitelbaum laid out what he sees as the choice before Jordan: "So, 145th Street will now be proceeding on parallel paths. Either One45 Harlem For ALL, or, if you choose to scuttle affordable housing for Harlem again, 145th Street’s limited existing as-of-right entitlement (a similar choice as last year)."

While Jordan didn't respond to a request for comment on the new proposal, in an Instagram post from earlier this week, she gave some inkling as to where she (still) stands. 

"There is room to go up, there is nothing below," she wrote in a recent email to Teitelbaum and his fellow developer Tristan Nadal, a screenshot of which she shared in her Instagram post. She added, "Until you speak to the media with the proper narrative standing in truth and honesty, I will ask our community to stand with me and our housing task force members in the streets." She concluded, "In good faith of these meetings you need to shut down this truck stop."

Aside from his letter to Jordan, Teitelbaum has been pretty blunt about what he thinks of the councilmember. In a recent Facebook post, he wrote of Jordan: "This is who I am dealing with. In the last week she has; Held another protest against 915 homes in Harlem, Supported naming street in honor a Elijah Muhammad and the NOI, (Southern Poverty Law Center referred to NOI as organized hate group) and now she violates the law by using taxpayer $ to support her political campaign." (The latter is a reference to this.) He concluded: "This, is our government. Is it any wonder." (In a comment responding to his own post, Teitelbaum shared that he and his team now refer to the truck depot as the "Richardson Truck Stop." Yikes.)

None of this seems to indicate that Teitelbaum and Jordan will be able to come to any sort of agreement on both the amount of and the affordability levels for the below-market rate housing in the new proposal. Will Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine intervene somehow? Will Jordan's fellow city councilmembers override her wishes, exploding member deference in the process? Will Jordan even be in office next year? (Already, three challengers have emerged to take on Jordan in June's primary, two of whom—current Assemblymembers Al Taylor and Inez Dickens, who once held Jordan's seat—have both expressed their support for the One45 development.) Stay tuned!

And more links for ALL, for your Friday:

  • How much does police misconduct cost the City every year? Last year, it was $121 million—more than three times the amount Mayor Adams wants to cut from public library funding.
  • The City has stopped funding companies that provide certain educational services to yeshivas, due to alleged fraud. Via the New York Times: "The new policy comes after an executive at some of the city's top-earning special education providers, Martin Handler, was arrested last month and charged with stealing millions of dollars in public money intended to pay for early education for low-income children. Mr. Handler has pleaded not guilty…According to an indictment unsealed last month in Federal District Court in Manhattan, he stole money through child care firms, some of them secretly owned, including by creating what prosecutors called a 'fake after-school program' and billing for services that he never provided. Mr. Handler used the money to dole out no-show jobs, buy real estate and purchase an array of historical religious artifacts at auctions, prosecutors said."
  • Mayor Adams is open to discussing City workers' demand for a hybrid work schedule, as part of ongoing contract negotiations. How nice of him.
  • In other news, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams issued some weak criticism of the mayor over his use of the NYPD to remove asylum seekers from outside the Watson Hotel, calling it "disappointing."
  • And councilmembers are mad at the NYPD for how the agency handles anti-Drag Story Hour protesters. 
  • OMG?! (Do NOT read if you're a dog owner.)
  • Stay safe out there, folks:
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