City Planning Hears Application for Supportive Housing and Shelter Redevelopment in East Midtown

The rendering of the New Providence Redevelopment. Image Credit: NYC CPC/HPD/DHS.

The new building will allow Project Renewal to continue to operate its shelter while also offering permanent supportive and affordable housing. On January 19, 2022, the City Planning Commission heard an application from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to facilitate the construction of a new 21-story building at 225 East 45th Street in East Midtown. The new building, which will provide supportive and affordable housing and an emergency shelter would replace an existing women’s shelter that is retrofitted into two buildings. Project Renewal currently operates the existing shelter, and is partnered with DHS for this application. 

The 21-story building will feature 130 new supportive and affordable housing units. Seventy-nine units would be supportive housing for formerly homeless tenants who will pay 30 percent of their income. The remaining 51 units would be affordable at 60 percent area median income (AMI). All of the units would be studios. On-site social services will be available through Project Renewal, which partners with DHS to operate the current facility. There will also be a multi-purpose room and laundry facilities for residents. 

The building will also feature a new shelter with 171 beds for single women with psychiatric diagnoses. The shelter will also have kitchen and dining areas, laundry rooms and occupational therapy rooms. The ground floor will feature a medical clinic that would serve residents in the building as well as the community.  There will be separate ground floor entrances for the shelter, permanent housing, and medical clinic. The second floor contains outdoor rear terraces for both the shelter and the permanent housing residents. 

The site is underdeveloped for the current zoning in the area, which allows for taller towers with setbacks. The proposed building can be built as-of-right, but the project still requires public review as it is for the redevelopment of a City-owned site.

Project Renewal has operated a shelter at this location since the 1990s. According to Eric Rosenbaum, the President and CEO of Project Renewal stated that the current configuration is extremely inefficient for operations, with an example that the floor plates between the buildings do not align. According to Mr. Rosenbaum, the current medical clinic is open to the community, but the building’s existing layout requires people to go through the shelter to access the clinic, making it less accessible. The new building will allow Project Renewal to continue to operate its shelter while also offering permanent supportive and affordable housing. 

Commissioner Leah Goodridge asked if current shelter residents would be displaced by this project. According to Mr. Rosenbaum, the existing shelter clients will be moved to permanent housing before the project commences. If there are any remaining shelter clients when the project commences, they would be moved to other shelters that are ideally close to their support networks. 

Renzo Ramirez, a representative from 32BJ, spoke in support of the project, citing Project Renewal’s commitment to provide prevailing wage jobs to the building’s security workers.

Joelle Ballam-Schwan, the Associate Director of Engagement and Communications of the Supportive Housing Network of New York, spoke in support of the application, praising the opportunity to turn an outdated shelter into a newer building that better serves its clients and new residents. She stated, “At a time when the city faces dual housing and homelessness crises and is looking at the end of the eviction moratorium, it is more critical than ever before that we all work together to ensure that we create new homes and say yes to every opportunity to make a dent in the shelter census.” She also praised Project Renewal and discussed their history in providing services in this area.

No other members of the public spoke on this application.

The City Planning Commission will vote on this project at a later date.

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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