Albany must ensure dormitory project meets affordable housing needs

The article, “Builder Sweetens Dorm Proposal,” on December 3, should have been titled, “Builder gets kudos for thumbing his nose at Albany’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.” The builder is planning a massive $80 million student apartment building at 1415 Washington Ave. -use developments) of more than 50 units be affordable. There is no exception in our municipal law for student apartment buildings or because the developer chooses to rent per bed instead of the apartment.

Our municipal ordinance requires that at least 12 of these 240 apartments be affordable – a small obligation for a project of this size. Needy students could benefit from the enforcement of this ordinance. The promoter does not want to be burdened by a law that would force 12 of these units to be reserved for eligible students.

It is a for-profit developer that plans to invest $80 million in a building that will conservatively generate $560,000 a month, or $6.7 million a year, in rent, according to testimony. Albany council member Alfredo Balarin at the city’s Sept. 28 meeting. Planning Council. Why should the developer be able to buy his way to set aside 12 affordable apartments by making a one-time payment of $300,000 to a non-profit agency?

Anita Thayer


Albany Housing for All

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