Clinton Housing Development Company (CHDC) builds community by preserving and creating high quality, permanently affordable housing in the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea neighborhoods on the West Side of Manhattan. We integrate community, cultural and green spaces into developments and provide consulting services for larger community initiatives.
We collaborate with neighborhood and citywide stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. CHDC developments promote diversity and economic integration by respecting and valuing the people, history and physical character of the community.
1973, CHDC was founded by volunteer community residents to preserve
and protect the historic Hell's Kitchen/Clinton community. At that
time, the community was faced with land speculation created by a
proposed convention center, resulting in buildings being vacated
and demolished, displacing long-term neighborhood residents. After
the City's fiscal crisis in 1975, with the demise of the convention
center project, the real estate market reversed and owners abandoned
hundreds of properties, leaving tenants without basic services.
City of New York was not prepared to manage hundreds of apartments
in deteriorated buildings. New strategies were needed.
Efforts in Housing Development and Renovation
1975, the renovation and cooperative conversion of a small 8 apartment
old law tenement became CHDC's first project. The plans for the
city-owned building at 433 West 48th Street were developed
jointly with its tenants, and funded by New York City's Municipal
Loan Program in that same year. At a cost of $150,000, it was one
of the first two Municipal Loan projects completed in the city.
the fall of 1977, at the request of the NYC Department of Housing
Preservation and Development, CHDC entered into the Community Management
Program. It began to provide management services to 66 families
in an 8 building blockfront on 10th Avenue, between 46th and 47th
Streets. These tenements, which had been taken by the City for the
owner's failure to pay real estate taxes, were in terrible condition.
With the initial funds provided by the Community Management Program,
CHDC hired a small administrative staff and maintenance crew, with
the goal of stabilizing the buildings, renovating them and working
with the tenants to create a low- and moderate-income cooperative.
Unfortunately, Community Management renovation funds were slow in
lack of funds, combined with the high cost, in 1977 terms, of renovating
Old Law Tenements (constructed pre-1901) to meet modern building
code standards, left CHDC in a holding pattern unable to complete
its goals. By early 1980, CHDC was managing 19 buildings containing
203 units, all in the same position. In 1983, the logjam was
broken and CHDC was granted funding under US Department of Housing
and Urban Development newly enacted 510 Demonstration Program, a
federally funded initiative for home ownership in urban areas geared
to low- and moderate-income families.
program, which linked the financing of Section 8 Rental Housing
to the financing of affordable cooperative ownership for low- and
moderate-income families, required a joint venture with a developer.
In response, CHDC joined with Settlement Housing Fund and Related
Housing to create a special purpose organization. The project
encompassed gut renovation of 6 vacant buildings on West 47th and
48th Streets creating 88 rental units; the original 8 buildings
on 10th Avenue became 50 units of low- and moderate-income cooperatives.
The focus of both components was on production of family size apartments.
Finally, in December 1983, after six years of complicated negotiations
with federal, state and city officials, CHDC assisted the 10th Avenue
tenants in closing on the cooperative purchase of the original eight
Community Management Program buildings, becoming one of only three
groups nationwide to successfully complete a 510 Demonstration Project.
that success and with new availability of Community Management funds
administered through the City's housing agency, CHDC turned its
attention to the remaining Community Management buildings on West
45th, 47th and 48th Streets. Over an eight-year period beginning
in 1984, CHDC completed reconstruction of 12 Community Management
buildings. The scopes of work were extensive, from installing
full bathrooms, to major structural work including replacement of
public hall staircases. CHDC's work now encompassed rehab planning
and packaging, contracting and public bidding for construction,
and construction supervision. With each new project CHDC refined
its expertise in rehabilitation of occupied buildings.
of Neighborhood Management Services
its continuing evolution as a community-based organization, CHDC
turned its attention to strengthening and expanding its capacity
in building management services. In 1982, it established its
Neighborhood Management Services (NMS) to provide community based
property management services to the 510 Demonstration Project
buildings it had renovated. NMS, which was fully operational by
1984, became an increasing part of daily work. CHDC offered building
management services on a full or part-time basis. Services included
an in-house maintenance crew, contracting for routine and emergency
repairs, rent billing and collection, arrears negotiations, initiating
legal actions, and mediating tenant disputes.
1989 and 1990 CHDC doubled its client base. In 1991 9 buildings
containing 74 units were added. By 1997, 58 buildings with 572 units
were receiving services. The wide client base attested to CHDC's
management arm's expertise: 21 buildings owned by low-income, limited-equity
Tenant Cooperatives; 8 buildings directly leased to CHDC by the
City; 3 buildings leased to Tenant Associations by the City; a 3-building
SRO complex under court stipulation; 1 privately-owned SRO as 7A
Administrator; 2 privately owned condos; a 3-building Single Room
Occupancy (SRO) complex; a 5-building SRO complex; a 7-building
complex owned by CHDC affiliates; and 5 buildings in city-sponsored,
Stabilization and Preservation
activity has long plagued the Clinton neighborhood. In the mid 80's,
the neighborhood was still the province of ensconced long-term community
residents, and on certain blocks, was openly tolerated by the police.
Tenants, fearful for their lives and safety, chose a path of accommodation.
This combination of factors made organizing to rid buildings and
blocks of drugs an impossible task. In 1986, a young West 48th
Street Tenant Association officer was brutally shot in a CHDC managed
building. Thankfully, she survived; however, this incident galvanized
the tenant body and the block. CHDC, now backed by a great deal
of community involvement and police enforcement, commenced a series
of coordinated drug evictions on 48th Street. Within 9 months, major
drug dealing on that block was brought to an end. That success brought
to CHDC, in 1987, a notorious 5-building SRO complex on the corner
of Restaurant Row for the same type of coordinated action. After
a two-year effort involving 29 legal actions and eventual evictions,
the source of drug dealing and prostitution was eliminated. A series
of similar coordinated actions at 506-508 9th Avenue in 1990 removed
a center of drug activity on 9th Avenue and West 38th Street. In
1994, at the request of the City of New York, CHDC assumed management
of 353 and 355 W 30th Street. Both buildings were home to dozens
of drug dealers, presenting a constant danger and seriously affecting
the quality of life on the entire block. After 18 months of drug
evictions the buildings were stabilized in 1995, and major structural
repair work was conducted at 353 W 30th Street.
In 1985, the
approval of the Times Square Redevelopment project by the State
and the City of New York established the $25,000,000 Clinton Preservation
Fund. The Fund focused on the financing of the renovation of city-owned
buildings and the acquisition of privately owned buildings to create
affordable tenant ownership. With funds supplied equally by the
Governor and Mayor, managed by a community based advisory committee,
the Fund had a major impact on the Clinton neighborhood and CHDC
as an organization. In 1987, to address the Fund's goals, CHDC created
its Development Team to assist tenant associations to renovate and/or
purchase their buildings. The Clinton Preservation Fund funded the
Team for 3 years. Rehab activity was dramatically increased by
$2,050,000 in Clinton Preservation Fund grants awarded to CHDC.
Development Team staff packaged not only rehab plans but also now
began to work on complicated acquisition financing packages. Tenant
Associations were assisted in assembling grants, long and short
term loans necessary to bring buildings out of mortgage foreclosure,
estates or bankruptcy into tenant ownership. Legal representation
was handled on pro bono basis by large law firms such as Weil, Gotshal
& Manges; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Kramer,
Levin, Nessen, Kamin & Frankel; and Schulte, Roth & Zabel.
From 1988 to 1997, 12 rehabs were packaged, financed, monitored
during construction and completed. Feasibility studies and pro formas
were run on 9 projects and 12 buildings were acquired.
Path to Casework
amount of renovation led to new problems. For the most part, renovation
was done with tenants in place. Temporary relocation, if any, was
within a building, in one or two vacant apartments. Bathrooms and
kitchens were shared for the duration of renovation. The disruption
to tenant's lives was immediate and immense. However, to seniors
and the mentally ill, it was devastating. At 353 West 47th Street,
the 78 year old building officer, who led the Tenant Association
in its fight to secure renovation funding, was the same man who
stopped construction dead cold for over a year. When actually faced
with such drastic change, the fear of that change led this man to
refuse access to allow the job to proceed. In 1990, to reconcile
the goals of building renovation and special needs tenants, CHDC
created a casework position. The caseworker focused intensively
on social services to meet the needs of CHDC's most troubled tenants.
A time consuming
and caring effort resulted in the major cleaning of 14 "Collier"
apartments, the restoration of benefits to 29 persons, and the securing
of 8 home attendants. Not only were the concrete accomplishments
important, but also was the emphasis on linking these troubled people
to their neighbors. The caseworker worked with the Tenant Associations
to demystify their neighbors or problems, and to set up a structure
of neighbors in the building to provide ongoing support.
In 1991, CHDC
began to enter into partnerships with social service organizations
to create new housing for special needs and homeless populations.
All projects being developed were integrated housing, combining
social service needy populations with an existing or new low and
CHDC's first such partnership sponsored 5 buildings under the New York City Special Initiatives Program (SIP) creating new housing for homeless families, first with the Partnership for the Homeless, then later with Metro Baptist Church. With Fountain House and Self Help Housing, two groups who work with the mentally ill and seniors, respectively, providing social services, CHDC developed 55 units of Shared Apartments on West 35th Street for singles, for both homeless and community residents. With services provided by the Episcopal Mission Society of New York and St. Luke's Church, CHDC developed 300 W 46th Street, as integrated housing for persons with HIV-AIDS and homeless individuals. In 1995, the project became the first HIV-AIDS housing to be developed in Clinton.
As the neighborhood
changed CHDC responded to those changes. In 1973, our objective
was solely to empower residents through tenant ownership and self-management.
By 1991, faced with the unique needs and circumstances of the
homeless, mentally ill, elderly, and physically incapacitated, CHDC
served as both a housing resource and the essential link to available
In 1992, CHDC
expanded its catchment area to encompass the entire Manhattan Community
Board #4 district. It now covers the area from 14th Street to 26th
Street, West of 6th Avenue; and 27th Street to 57th Street, West
of 8th Avenue. In 1994, Clinton Housing was qualified to participate
in HPD's Neighborhood Redevelopment/TIL Pilot Programs. Those program
goals are to remove the City from the housing management business
by turning over occupied city-owned buildings to community-based
not-for-profits to renovate and to create affordable rental or cooperative
housing. Organizing efforts began in late 1996, and CHDC started
leasing these buildings from the City in February 1997. CHDC has
developed 3 buildings through this initiative.
Building in Hell's Kitchen
of Clinton between 34th and 42nd Streets, the heart of the old Hell's
Kitchen, is woefully lacking in basic community amenities. Cut up
by ramps leading to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Dyer
approaches to the Lincoln Tunnel, the area has over 6000 people
living in residential buildings dispersed throughout a former manufacturing
zone. A combination of tenements and lofts, Hell's Kitchen homes
represent extremes from 5th floor walkups with tubs in the kitchen
to the 4000 square foot designer lofts. CHDC has sought to bring
amenities and focus to this mixed-use area of the neighborhood.
In a storefront in one of the SIP buildings on West 37th Street
and 10th Avenue, CHDC opened the Clinton South Community Center
in 1993. The goals of the Center were to integrate the homeless
families into the community, and provide a safe place for neighborhood
children to play and learn. Starting small, the Center had after
school programs such as arts and crafts, theater lessons, aerobics,
trips to museums, movie and discussion nights, swimming, nutrition
and cooking classes for parents. From 1994 to 1999, a summer day
camp--"Finding Your Place in the Neighborhood"-- was attended
by 40 kids. In 2002, the Community Center became home to the Urban
Dove, an after school program that serves high school students.
Organized out of the Clinton South Community Center, by CHDC staff,
the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association (HKNA) is a block association
covering the blocks from West 34th Street to West 42nd Street between
8th to 10th Avenues. With membership representative of the community,
its concerns are quality of life issues such as drug dealing, sanitation,
green-space and zoning. The Association has run itself for over
11 years with many active committees. It has been a main participant
in neighborhood planning, sponsoring the "Hell's Kitchen Conference"
at the Javits Convention Center and proposing alternatives to the
City's development plans for the Westside.
In spring 1995,
CHDC opened Bob's Park, a small key park built on a vacant lot that
is a part of the 454 West 35th Street supportive housing development.
This park is the first new parkland built in this part of the
neighborhood since 1938. The park is both oriented to toddlers
and senior citizens, with play equipment set in sand in the front
and raised gardens and seating in the rear. Keys are available for
$1.25 from Manhattan Community Board #4. There are over 260 key
holders. CHDC and HKNA also worked to establish a Dog Run and Community
Garden on small lots leased from the Port Authority. CHDC then began
to integrate open space development into all its renovation projects.
All current and planned projects now include landscaped courtyards,
roof and/or community gardens.
the deadlock on the Clinton Urban Renewal Area
in 1969, this 6 block area in the West 50's between 10th and 11th
Avenue. After development of federally funded housing in late 70's
and early 80's, it remained in limbo from 1982 to 1994. Since fall
1995, CHDC has assisted various community stakeholders in the development
plans for the Clinton Urban Renewal Area.
As part of
an agreement with Manhattan Community Board #4 regarding the siting
of sanitation garage, the City agreed to put a 6-building complex
into the TIL program for renovation and conversion to a low and
moderate-income cooperative. However, the complex required more
extensive work than anticipated. In 1996 CHDC formed a partnership
with its tenant association to bring more investment into the project
through low-income housing tax credits. This complex was renovated
into 43 apartments and 4 stores and completed in 2000.
CHDC has actively participated in Clinton Urban Renewal Area Coordinating
Committee (the Triple "C" Committee). This consortium
of neighborhood organizations worked together to develop an overall
development plan for this neglected area. From 1999 to 2004 more
developments received funding commitments or began construction
than in the previous 30 years. CHDC projects include the renovation
of an historic model tenement and school facing Dewitt Clinton Park
on 11th Avenue, and 5 buildings for moderate income rentals. Currently
two middle-income developments are in the planning stages.
Private Equity through Inclusionary Housing
CHDC has partnered with private developers to develop a number of
buildings throughout the Chelsea/Hell's Kitchen/Clinton area to
produce affordable housing through zoning mechanisms. The main tool,
Inclusionary Housing, is a zoning provision which lets private developers
transfer development rights earned by building affordable housing.
Those development rights are used to produce market rate housing
at greater densities at one or multiple sites. The inclusionary
buildings remain affordable rental housing in perpetuity for existing
tenants and low-income residents.
Using both mandatory
requirements or voluntary incentives, CHDC has developed 64 inclusionary
apartments in 7 buildings, resulting in $15.7 million of investment
in affordable housing in the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Community. Our
development pipeline has Inclusionary projects in 6 buildings at
4 sites, which will produce 103 affordable apartments.
Kitchen/Hudson Yards Alliance - balancing citywide growth and neighborhood
CHDC has always
taken an active role in shaping the present and future development
of the neighborhood. Since the inception of plans for a football
stadium for the New York Jets over Hudson Yards on the riverfront
in Hell's Kitchen, CHDC has supported progressive and reasonable
neighborhood development. A stadium was inconsistent sustainable
development in Clinton. Balancing the extension of the Midtown Central
Business District with strengthening residential neighborhood of
the middle west side was clearly a better choice to welcome New
Yorkers of all incomes to the area's planned future.
CHDC was a founding
member of the Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards Alliance. The Alliance
is an umbrella group composed of elected officials, community organizations,
block and tenant associations, housing cooperatives, business owners
and individuals formed to provide a coordinated community response
to the City's far-reaching development plan. The Alliance has succeeded
in securing major changes to the zoning plan and the inclusion of
an affordable housing component.
stadium plan ultimately failed after the Mayor and his planning
staff failed to win the public opinion war over the future of the
West Side. Coupled with the city's failed bid for the 2012 Olympics,
the demise of the controversial and reviled stadium plan has allowed
for balanced and rational planning to begin the MTA rail yards.