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Old 07-24-2010, 03:22 PM
 
9 posts, read 30,892 times
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Hello,

I am new to the forums and I am going to be moving to NYC next month to begin graduate school at Columbia University. I have never lived in NYC before but I am excited about it.

I have been looking at an apartment in a Mitchell-Lama rent-subsidized building on West 110th Street, between Amsterdam Ave and Morningside Dr. The apartment is renovated, in great shape, and the price is a bargain compared to the other stuff in the area. Due to my roommates and I being full-time students, we apparently qualify for the rent-subsidy due to our lack of employment/income.

I was wondering if someone on the board can help me out. Am I being shrewd and getting a good deal, or am I going to regret this? I am usually a firm believer that there's no free lunch in life -- this place is approximately 20-25% below the market rental rates. I have never seen the neighborhood, but I am a bit concerned about safety. Does anyone live nearby to this area? Could you please shed some light on the safety, demographics, etc.? Are there a lot of Columbia students living in this neighborhood? Is it safe to walk home alone from the Columbia campus to this area at night?

Additionally, if anyone can shed some light on the make-up, operations, and general quality of these Mitchell-Lama buildings in Manhattan, I would also be appreciative.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:18 PM
 
343 posts, read 968,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyme1 View Post
Hello,

I am new to the forums and I am going to be moving to NYC next month to begin graduate school at Columbia University. I have never lived in NYC before but I am excited about it.

I have been looking at an apartment in a Mitchell-Lama rent-subsidized building on West 110th Street, between Amsterdam Ave and Morningside Dr. The apartment is renovated, in great shape, and the price is a bargain compared to the other stuff in the area. Due to my roommates and I being full-time students, we apparently qualify for the rent-subsidy due to our lack of employment/income.

I was wondering if someone on the board can help me out. Am I being shrewd and getting a good deal, or am I going to regret this? I am usually a firm believer that there's no free lunch in life -- this place is approximately 20-25% below the market rental rates. I have never seen the neighborhood, but I am a bit concerned about safety. Does anyone live nearby to this area? Could you please shed some light on the safety, demographics, etc.? Are there a lot of Columbia students living in this neighborhood? Is it safe to walk home alone from the Columbia campus to this area at night?

Additionally, if anyone can shed some light on the make-up, operations, and general quality of these Mitchell-Lama buildings in Manhattan, I would also be appreciative.

Thanks in advance.

Price is always a reason for something. If you are in a mitchell lama building you are going to be in a building with lots of middle and working class families/born and bread new yorkers. Apartments are gonna be on the large side too. That's a Plus. Mitchell Lama has income requirements to keep it this way.

It's ok, not extremely dangerous/ not extremely safe. You should be ok. It is summertime, the loudest and rowdyest time in NYC. Walk around the hood...

its a little rough around the edges by columbus ave, like 104-109 streets, you have douglass houses and some tenemants and SRO's sprinkled around the blocks.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Do you feel safe walking from the train (at or near dark time is when you should go)

People may be hanging around your stoop/building, are you ok with that.

Things along those lines... With all that said.. the neighborhood is VERY diverse!
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:42 AM
 
9 posts, read 30,892 times
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Unfortunately I'm not in the area yet. I'm going to be on a tight schedule and basically plan to fly into NYC, sign a lease on this place in the morning, and move-in the same day.

So... I'm going off Google Maps street view. Yes, you're right, along Columbus from 100->106 or so it seems rough, but I see a marked improvement between 106->110. Additionally, the place I'm looking at is on 110, only one-half block east of Amsterdam... so hopefully it'll be okay to stick to Broadway/Amsterdam 99% of the time and just go east half a block to get home.

You are correct, the place is very large and inexpensive for what it is. The building also seems to be doing renovations and repairs in the common areas which also gave me a good feeling (I wouldn't expect brand new, high quality elevators to be installed if it was being run by a slumlord).

PS -- by guys hanging around on sidewalks, stoops, etc.... are you referring to drug dealers or legitimately guys just hanging out with nothing better to do?
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:50 AM
 
343 posts, read 968,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyme1 View Post
Unfortunately I'm not in the area yet. I'm going to be on a tight schedule and basically plan to fly into NYC, sign a lease on this place in the morning, and move-in the same day.

So... I'm going off Google Maps street view. Yes, you're right, along Columbus from 100->106 or so it seems rough, but I see a marked improvement between 106->110. Additionally, the place I'm looking at is on 110, only one-half block east of Amsterdam... so hopefully it'll be okay to stick to Broadway/Amsterdam 99% of the time and just go east half a block to get home.

You are correct, the place is very large and inexpensive for what it is. The building also seems to be doing renovations and repairs in the common areas which also gave me a good feeling (I wouldn't expect brand new, high quality elevators to be installed if it was being run by a slumlord).

PS -- by guys hanging around on sidewalks, stoops, etc.... are you referring to drug dealers or legitimately guys just hanging out with nothing better to do?
Google street view is normally a couple of years old, so changes may even be different. Guys hanging out could be drug dealers and guys with nothing better to do.. sometimes its hard to differentiate unless you've been there a while and know the players. Amsterdam and Columbus are rough btwn 100 and 110. When coming from the train I would use the B/C and the 109 street exit. I think the building you may be referring to is on that block if im not mistaken.

FYI, me personally, I hate when people don't check out the nabe before moving in. BIGGGGG NO NO.

I would hate to see you back on the forums talking about how u hate it and want to move... like another poster around here who shall remain nameless
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
9,015 posts, read 22,157,609 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyme1 View Post

I have never seen the neighborhood, but I am a bit concerned about safety.
Are you saying that you are about to rent an apartment that you have not seen in a neighborhood where you have never been ?

If so,not a good idea at all....ever in NYC.You should always visit the area around where you might live in NYC at different times of day and late at night to see how you feel about things and what it's like coming home or going out late.

It's not a great neighborhood and things can vary a lot from block to block.

It's a little unclear to me for some reason whether you have actually been in the apartment or whether this is all transpiring electronically.

There is no such thing as "25% below market rates".That's just real estate agent gibberish.The market price is the market price.If the price seems lower than other things around the UWS/Morningside there is a very good reason why.The only thing you could compare it to would be an identical apartment in the same building. Sorry but LOL at your wondering whether you are shrewd.That's too funny.

Last edited by bluedog2; 07-25-2010 at 09:13 AM..
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:39 AM
 
9 posts, read 30,892 times
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Originally Posted by bluedog2 View Post
Are you saying that you are about to rent an apartment that you have not seen in a neighborhood where you have never been ?

If so,not a good idea at all....ever in NYC.You should always visit the area around where you might live in NYC at different times of day and late at night to see how you feel about things and what it's like coming home or going out late.

It's not a great neighborhood and things can vary a lot from block to block.

It's a little unclear to me for some reason whether you have actually been in the apartment or whether this is all transpiring electronically.

There is no such thing as "25% below market rates".That's just real estate agent gibberish.The market price is the market price.If the price seems lower than other things around the UWS/Morningside there is a very good reason why.The only thing you could compare it to would be an identical apartment in the same building. Sorry but LOL at your wondering whether you are shrewd.That's too funny.
Let me clarify:

A) Yes, you are correct, I have never seen the place. However, my roommate has seen the place and the neighborhood and he has taken several dozen high resolution pictures. I feel fairly comfortable from what I know so far, but he unfortunately didn't get to spend a lot of time in the neighborhood. You can find out a lot electronically these days from across the country.

B) The reason it is below market rates is because it is a Mitchell-Lama housing development. These are subsidized/rent-controlled buildings for middle-income residents that have a long, involved application process and require approval from the NY State Housing Dept.

Am I being shrewd? I don't know, I guess time will tell. Overall, I'm not terribly worried about walking one-half block east of Amsterdam. Additionally, the new Avalon Morningside Park development which has 24/7 security is literally right across the street... so that comforts me a bit also.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:52 AM
 
2 posts, read 10,221 times
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If the building is still in the Mitchell-Lama program, it must have a waiting list - and most of the waiting lists in M-L buildings are several years long. That means you would be jumping the list, and therefore getting in illegally. The list of existing Mitchell-Lama buildings is found at 2007 Annual Report Mitchell-Lama Housing Companies in New York State - Table of Contents (http://www.dhcr.state.ny.us/Publications/Mitchell-LamaAnnualReport/mlhcar07toc.htm - broken link). You'll find the provisions for waiting list at Mitchell-Lama Housing Program .

On the neighborhood: 110th Street EAST of Amsterdam is newly ritzy, at least for one block until Morningside Park. Beyond that, it is the north end of Central Park, and a newly-gentrifying area.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
9,015 posts, read 22,157,609 times
Reputation: 7240
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyme1 View Post
Let me clarify:

A) Yes, you are correct, I have never seen the place. However, my roommate has seen the place and the neighborhood and he has taken several dozen high resolution pictures. I feel fairly comfortable from what I know so far, but he unfortunately didn't get to spend a lot of time in the neighborhood. You can find out a lot electronically these days from across the country.

B) The reason it is below market rates is because it is a Mitchell-Lama housing development. These are subsidized/rent-controlled buildings for middle-income residents that have a long, involved application process and require approval from the NY State Housing Dept.

Am I being shrewd? I don't know, I guess time will tell. Overall, I'm not terribly worried about walking one-half block east of Amsterdam. Additionally, the new Avalon Morningside Park development which has 24/7 security is literally right across the street... so that comforts me a bit also.
Well,glad that at least someone has been in the apartment.The neighborhood is not that bad so I'm sure it will be ok.
How did you get an apartment in a Mitchell Lama project without being on a waiting list for 2 or 3 years? I know many people who live in Mitchell Lama projects all over the city and there was a multi year waiting list( sometimes 5 years) for all of them.It seems weird that there would be one with no wait.

There could be something funny going on with the place and you cannot say a rent is below market because it is Mitchel Lama.I know someone who has a huge 2 br,2 ba in a Mitchel Lama project near CPW and 98th and the rent is under 800/mo.If you are subletting from a leaseholder you might be paying above market because he or she might actually be paying peanuts.
I agree that you can do a lot electronically these days but one thing you definitely cannot do is get a feel for a NYC neighborhood or block.You will understand that with time.

Just make sure what you are doing is legal and legit.People sometimes rent apartments in NY and put money up but never get to move in and never get their money back.Others sometimes move into illegal places and are out on the street in a few months.Lots of rental scams.Lots of rental scam artists.

Last edited by bluedog2; 07-25-2010 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:55 AM
DAS
 
2,532 posts, read 6,405,998 times
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you will be living not to far from me, and i think being a grad student at columbia you will like it, because you are near columbia, and you are near everything. you wlll have tons of restaurants, bars, supermarkets, and all other types of shops. you have central park, morningside park, and riverside park near by. there are also at least 3 farmers markets around the area as well. there is plenty to see and do within walking distance.

the area is very diverse, and you will quickly see after living there for just a bit, that you will have neighbors of every race, combinations of races, and various religions all around you, and everyone gets along, and doesn't look strange, no matter what language they are speaking, or how they are dressed. people from all over the world live in the area, you can strike up a conversation at any given time, with someone that originally came from anywhere.

you can go to a supermarket in the area, and be on line with a major recording star, in front of you, and person buying with food stamps behind you. that is how the area is. you may go to an outdoor party at someone's building when the weather is nice, and both of those people can be there, talking to each other. so if you have an open mind like that you will like it, because basically that it how the area is.

this area is not really newly gentrified, because it is near columbia, and it is at the point where the upper west side, harlem, and morningside heights meet together, it has always been a racially, ethnically, and economically, mixed at least for the last 30 years. there are a lot of older mixed race people, and couples that have always lived in the area, because they could live comfortably there.
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:50 AM
 
9 posts, read 30,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue Save-ML View Post
If the building is still in the Mitchell-Lama program, it must have a waiting list - and most of the waiting lists in M-L buildings are several years long. That means you would be jumping the list, and therefore getting in illegally. The list of existing Mitchell-Lama buildings is found at 2007 Annual Report Mitchell-Lama Housing Companies in New York State - Table of Contents (http://www.dhcr.state.ny.us/Publications/Mitchell-LamaAnnualReport/mlhcar07toc.htm - broken link). You'll find the provisions for waiting list at Mitchell-Lama Housing Program .

On the neighborhood: 110th Street EAST of Amsterdam is newly ritzy, at least for one block until Morningside Park. Beyond that, it is the north end of Central Park, and a newly-gentrifying area.
Very helpful. I really appreciate the input and this was my impression -- after the new Avalon building went up, it seems to be quite nice.

As far as the legitimacy of the Mitchell-Lama building, we are trying to rent a fairly large apartment (3 or 4 bedroom) and we were told that there is no waiting list for these units. There is a several years long waiting list for studios and 1 bedrooms but apparently the larger ones don't have one. We have been working directly with the building manager/leasing office, so I would be very surprised if we get scammed or can't move in... That said, we are still waiting for approval and may or may not get it.
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