Mixed-income Development May Point Way to Affordable Housing Development in NYC Suburb

With a median single-family home sales price of nearly $600,000, many residents, and want-to-be residents, of Westchester County, N.Y. struggle to find housing that is affordable.

Lloyd and Sharon Alpert outside their home at Woodcrest Village

Mt. Kisco, N.Y.–With a median single-family home sales price of nearly $600,000, many residents, and want-to-be residents, of Westchester County, N.Y. struggle to find housing that is affordable.

But a mixed-income community in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. may provide a template for more affordable and workforce housing to get developed.

Woodcrest Village is a 90-unit residence (three buildings, four floors each) for individuals age 55 and over. The community, which opened in 2005, attracted local Mt. Kisco retirees and others from the tri-state area who were looking to downsize their living arrangements after their kids left home. Of the 90 units, 66 one and two-bedroom were sold as “affordable, ” with a household limit of no more than 80 percent of the Westchester area median income, adjusted by family size. Base prices were $210,000 for a two-bedroom and $170,900 for a one bedroom. The remainder of the units had no income requirements, but were priced at below-market levels—about $275,000 for a two-bedroom, larger home.

Those who live in the affordably-priced units mingle freely with those in the higher-priced units, says Alexander Roberts, executive director of Community Housing Innovations, the non-profit sponsor of the project, which was developed by Wilder Balter Partners.

Also, Woodcrest’s neighboring community, Glassbury Court, features 30 market-rate homes, with a wide range of residents, including families and young professionals. Some of the condominiums in the community have sold for up to $1 million. The two communities share a swimming pool and a clubhouse.

“That’s been the deal right from the beginning, and it’s worked out very well,” Roberts says. “Everyone has accepted it.”

While there is a need for housing for affordable housing for families with income up to 80 percent of the area’s median income, the need for workforce housing, with families whose income is 120 percent of the median, is frequently forgotten about by communities, Roberts contends.

Westchester County is under federal court order to build 750 units of affordable housing in low minority areas, Roberts says, and believes that mixed-income communities can help fulfill this need. Also, he would like to see more inclusionary zoning ordinances enacted by communities, which allows developers density bonuses if they included affordable housing units in their projects. The Village of Ardsley in Westchester recently passed such a zoning ordinance, he says.

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