The Feasibility of Developing Affordable Housing on New York City Public Library Sites

Client: Enterprise Community Partners
Faculty: Rae Zimmerman and Kei Hayashi
Team: "Carrie-Ann Ferraro, Dan Guilbeault, Melanie Ochser, Ji Young Yi, Adam Zeidel"
Year: 2008
"The perpetual demand for affordable housing in New York City, coupled with the lack of development sites throughout the five boroughs, have required developers to become creative in their site selection techniques. Consequently, Enterprise Community Partners has been examining the potential for developing affordable housing on top of existing public library sites. Many of these libraries were constructed in the 1960's as one­story bunker­type buildings, and are not fully built out to their maximum floor area ratios. Since these libraries are aging and many are in dire need of renovation, Enterprise retained a Capstone team to investigate the potential of partnering with the library systems (Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library) to determine the costs of rebuilding libraries with affordable housing. The team examined the inner workings of each library system and researched recent capital construction projects. The Capstone team learned about Enterprise's development costs, analyzed the costs of construction for a public library, and examined alternative funding sources for such a project. Finally, the Capstone team performed an air rights analysis and applied the team's construction metric on a few sites pre-selected by Enterprise."