It’s Manhattan’s Last Affordable Neighborhood. But for How Long?

Inwood has the lowest average rents in the borough. Now developers and their high-rise buildings are coming.

For decades, Inwood has been one of New York City’s untouched gems. Nestled among rivers and rolling forest at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, the 500-acre neighborhood has again and again batted away the forces of gentrification — until now.

As the city confronts an affordable housing crisis, it has finally opened up Inwood to developers, generating fear among longtime residents and business owners who take pride in a place unlike any other in Manhattan.

Leafy and hilly, and with no building over 17 stories, Inwood is the most affordable neighborhood in the city’s most expensive borough.

Last August, Inwood became the fifth neighborhood to be rezoned under Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat whose signature housing plan calls for major development in up to 15 areas citywide — a strategy that aims to preserve and create hundreds of thousands of below-market units.

Building restrictions have been eased in parts of Inwood to allow for much taller residential buildings, some that could stretch nearly twice the height of the current skyline.

So far, the largest and most noticeable changes, such as two towering developments near the Harlem River, exist only on paper.

Behind the scenes, though, the rezoning has already brought significant changes. After the rezoning plan was announced in 2013, years before it was enacted, real estate investors swooped into Inwood and bought more than $610 million in properties, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

They have taken over thousands of residential units, most of which are rent-stabilized and owned by families or smaller real estate groups. The influx has fueled suspicion among tenants that the new landlords will seek to displace residents, deplete the stock of regulated units and raise rents.

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"It’s Manhattan’s Last Affordable Neighborhood. But for How Long?"; By Matthew Haag; NewYorkTimes; Sept 27, 2019

Ketwords: Affordability, Gentrification

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