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Making Precious NYC Land Work for the Community

New York City has almost no public land that can be developed as affordable housing or for other community benefit. But many churches and non-profits have lots they want to put to good use—and they need help. The Wall Street Journal  and NY1 News  highlighted a new LISC partnership that supports those entities in activating rare, untapped land for the good of the neighborhood.

The excerpt below is from:
N.Y. Churches to Get Help in Navigating Real-Estate Development
by Melanie Grayce West, The Wall Street Journal

A few times a week, pastor Sheila H. Gillams receives a phone call or a letter with a variation of the same pitch: “Wouldn’t you like a new church?”

The unsolicited offers—almost always insultingly low, she says—are for the prime parcels belonging to Shiloh Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ. The modest church is a short walk from a busy stretch of trendy restaurants and new retail outlets in Harlem.

Dr. Gillams and her parishioners want the land to be developed into affordable housing, with space that can be used for programs that serve the needy. The problem, she says, is that after over nine years of talking to fellow pastors and learning about deals, she’s seen the same thing repeated at churches all around the city.

“Congregations get fleeced” in such deals, she said.

A new program, to be announced this week, aims to broker good marriages between developers and charity organizations, with the aim of fulfilling the city’s need for affordable housing.

Called the New York Land Opportunity Program, the initiative is a joint effort of New York’s nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Continued [+]...