Friday, April 13, 2012

Up in the old hotels' business

Have they got a piece of luck in New York City:

By way of this HUD item, I've just run across the Subsidized Housing Information Project (SHIP) database at NYU's Furman Center, and wow. It will not only find you subsidized housing by neighborhood and category all over the New York City area, it will also tell you useful stuff about the ownership, subsidy types, and financing of any given building that happens to catch your interest.

For a test, I looked up the old Times Square Hotel, flagship property of the respected Common Ground housing and homelessness nonprofit. The address is 255 West 43rd St. in Manhattan.

(In the process of looking that up I found a great nostalgic discussion thread about the building's history among commenters who knew better answers to a Canadian's question than did the New York Times Travel Section. Eh, not surprised after what they said about us South of Market.)

Anyway, just by entering that address into the Furman Center's engine, up comes the owning entity's name and address, the site's census tract and legislative districts, whether the project gets LIHTC tax credit financing and as of when (yes, as of 1994), any major housing code violations (none), number of units and floors, and assorted other goodies.

Super-useful. Not just for academic research or development prospecting, but also quite practically for when a tenant or tenant's advocate wants to know which subsidies support the particular building where a dispute has developed and what federal or other rules may apply to the site. Important, because the type of subsidy can affect all kinds of things, from rent amounts to service animal accommodations.

Now, when do we get one of these databases out here?

[BTW, title of this item is derived from Joseph Mitchell's classic New York City reportage collection, Up In The Old Hotel. Totally recommended.]

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