Riverside Center Breaks Ground on Upper West Side

An early image of what Riverside Center is planned to look like in Manhattan

Last Friday a development that will eventually include 2,500 apartments, a hotel, a movie theater, an auto showroom, a new public school, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and office space, broke ground on the Upper West Side. Located along Riverside Boulevard between 59th Street and 61st Street, the Riverside Center Development promises to be the biggest new development on the Upper West Side. Once it’s completed, it is set to have five apartment towers with a park in the middle. Although locals fought over aspects of the development for months, it was approved by the City Council two years ago.

The first building in the development, being developed by Carlyle Realty Partners and the Extell Development Company, is also one of the most interesting projects. The bottom four floors would house the new Pre-K through 8th grade public school, while the rest would be apartments. The building itself will contain 616 units; 172 studios, 306 one bedrooms, 112 two bedrooms, and 25 three bedrooms. 127 of these will be designated as permanent affordable housing, a number that figures out to be 20.6 percent of the total units. This is very significant because a minimum of 20 percent is required to qualify for the 80/20 tax abatement program.

This program also stipulates that units designated as affordable housing must be given to households with incomes at 50 percent or less of the local Area Median Income, adjusted for family size. In addition, affordable housing units must exist on at least 65 percent of the floors and that no more than 33 percent of any one floor can be designated as affordable. The first building and public school is slated to open in 2015. The entire development is expected to complete construction in 2017, but it remains unclear how that time table will hold. 

Riverside Center is the newest addition to a host of new developments on the Upper West Side that include buildings like The Rushmore and Ariel East, both are building that overlook the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. With the construction of Riverside Center, the Upper West Side moves forward in its mix of affordable and luxurious housing.