NYCHA Scraps Holmes Towers Plan in Face of Boro Prez Lawsuit

(THE CITY) June 16, 2019

A controversial plan to build a new private residential tower at a public housing complex is back to square one on the Upper East Side — but even more market-rate housing is on the way.

Housing officials are scrapping the current design by Fetner Properties for a 50-story building at the Holmes Towers complex in Yorkville in order to “redraw and redo,” New York City Housing Authority Chair Kathryn Garcia told THE CITY.

Their goal is to allow more market-rate apartments on the site in an effort to raise more money for the cash-strapped Housing Authority.

“We will re-engage with the residents regarding all of the tools that we have … to drive as much investment into Holmes as we possibly can,” Garcia said on Friday.

The now-shelved plan, first announced in 2017, would have had Fetner Properties paying the authority an up-front $25 million in funds committed to making much-needed repairs at the Holmes complex.

Under that scheme, half of the apartments in the new tower would have been market-rate and the other half subsidized for households making less than 60% of the area’s median income, or about $57,660 for a three-person household.

Now, Garcia says, the new plan will have closer to 70% market-rate apartments and 30% subsidized apartments. The complex would still get money for repairs — hopefully, a lot more than $25 million, she said — and all of the cash raised would go only to the Holmes Towers.

According to NYCHA’s most recent assessment, the two towers at Holmes, built in 1969, need about $36 million worth of repairs immediately, with more than $100 million needed over the next 20 years.