How to Build Affordable Housing in New York City

How to Build Affordable Housing in New York City
Arverne View, the former Ocean Village in the Rockaways.

Hurricane Sandy was the last straw for many residents of Ocean Village, a housing project in the Rockaways. Heralded as state of the art when it opened in 1972, this beachside campus of high-rises and four-story townhouses had, over the years, taken a nose dive, the victim of bad management, crime and rot. Sandy left homes flooded, and poor tenants bereft of electricity and hot water. Residents who could, fled.

I visited the project not long ago. Rechristened Arverne View, the place is almost unrecognizable: Apartments are occupied once again. Hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and electrical systems are refurbished; lobbies opened up with big windows; a floodwall installed; the landscaping upgraded, with a broad promenade to the beach; and leaky facades clad with new, waterproof, energy-efficient panels. (Energy bills have dropped 30 percent.)

What happened? A new owner, L&M, a developer of subsidized housing, closed on a deal to buy the property two weeks after the storm, when one-third of Ocean Village’s 1,093 apartments were vacant. The company poured $60 million into a renovation.[…]