Plan to Replace Car Storage With Affordable Housing Clears Community Board 7

The vote means that several hundred car storage slots on West 108th Street will almost certainly give way to hundreds of subsidized apartments.

An affordable housing developer wants to expand the Valley Lodge transitional homeless shelter and build new apartments on the sites of three parking garages between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue on W. 108th Street. Photo: Google Maps
An affordable housing developer wants to expand the Valley Lodge transitional homeless shelter and build new apartments on the sites of three parking garages between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue on W. 108th Street. Photo: Google Maps

Last night Manhattan Community Board 7 endorsed plans to convert two city-owned parking garages on West 108th Street into affordable housing. Video from the meeting is available on YouTube.

With CB 7’s support, plans to replace 675 parking spaces and an existing homeless shelter with a 100-bed transitional homeless shelter for seniors and 194 below-market rental apartments are almost certain to move forward.

For each of the five resolutions endorsing the project, the show of hands in favor was overwhelming. The last of those resolutions urged City Planning and the developer, the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH), to hasten the timeline for converting a third garage on the block into additional affordable housing. WSFSSH had previously said it would delay that garage conversion to appease project opponents.

The outcome was not a given.

The contingent who organized against the project under the banner “Save Manhattan Valley” turned out big numbers last night hoping to stop the plan. At one point, it looked like they might succeed. Some board members pushed for an amendment conditioning CB 7’s support on the city and WSFSSH producing a plan to replace demolished parking spaces. But the motion failed spectacularly, with eight votes in favor and more than 30 against.

The debate over the amendment highlighted the faulty logic of project opponents, many of whom have claimed that their demands for off-street parking don’t conflict with housing needs in one of the city’s densest, most transit-rich neighborhoods. WSFSSH reps made it clear to the board that replacing the 650 parking spots would make the project prohibitively expensive.

“There are no new garages being built because they’re not market affordable,” board member Richard Robbins told his colleagues. “If we’re going to force them to build a 600-car garage somewhere in the district, the parking spots could be $2,000 a month.”

Following last night’s vote, the project has three more stops in the land use review process before it’s official policy: an advisory recommendation from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a vote in the City Planning Commission, and a vote in the City Council. But the CB 7 vote is a strong indicator that it will proceed. WSFSSH expects construction to begin mid-2018 and wrap up in 2020.

  • KeNYC2030

    I guess we can kiss Manhattan Valley goodbye!

  • kyle

    Oh, please. If you value your parking so much then move to the suburbs. The Upper West Side is one of the most densely populated, transit rich neighborhoods in the City and country. There are many other garages in the area that those who have cars can use and there are zero plans to get rid of those because they are privately owned. Plus, car owners already get FREE parking in the public right of way on the majority of NYC streets. Hoping the City takes on that goliath next!

  • KeNYC2030

    I guess my irony was too subtle. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  • CtotheC

    Because it’s not irony, it’s sarcasm. Both of you missed the mark.

  • Reggie

    A community board does some dumb ass thing and there is no end of comments about how the members of all boards are idiots and the bodies need to be abolished. A community board gets the big picture and takes the appropriate action and crickets.

  • RGD

    Please don’t be pedantic. Sarcasm is often considered as a type of irony (correctly or not).

  • CtotheC

    Now ?this? is irony – telling me not to be pedantic but becoming pedantic themselves in explaining.

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