Upper West Side community board members are outraged that a new luxury condo will have separate entrances for people living in affordable housing units in the building.

The 33-floor condo building is slated for construction at 40 Riverside Boulevard between 61st and 62nd Streets. The building will include five floors of affordable housing (55 out of 274 units) for people who are making 60% or less of area median income to rent. But there'll also be separate entrances and elevators for those residents: "This ‘separate but equal’ arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side,” Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal told West Side Rag.

“A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off," she added. "The developer must follow the spirit as well the letter of the law when building affordable housing, and this plan is clearly not what was intended by the community." West Side Rag compared the arrangement to servants and nobles quarters in Downton Abbey, while the Post labelled it "Class Doorfare."

But this kind of housing arrangement is actually quite common. The building is owned by Extell Development Company, who are applying for the city's Inclusionary Housing Program: Extell pays for the whole low income housing section of the building, but get the bonus of more floor area, which they then add to their market rate units. They are able to completely cover their costs for all the low income housing and sell the bonus floor area to another building within a half-mile of the site.

According to the plan, “The affordable units will be on floors two through six in a ‘building segment’ which contains only the affordable units and has its own entrance as required by the Zoning Resolution.” The "building segment" means that Extell considers those units to be legally separate from the rest of the building (even though it's attached). In many of these kinds of cases, a non-for-profit organization will be brought in to run it, which means they are legally expected to have their own super, social worker, and entrances.

“I hate the visual of market-rate tenants going in one door and affordable tenants going in another, but that’s a visceral reaction,” Community Board 7 Chair Mark Diller told the Post. CB7 wrote a letter to the city Department of Planning and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development that asks the city to include “appropriate safeguards to avoid a situation in which the Affordable Housing tenants are relegated to the status of second class citizens.” You can see that letter below, via West Side Rag.

40 Rsd Letter