Yet Eli Weiss, a principal at Joy who once worked in city government, said he understands how rezonings can be lightning rods for controversy. “They translate as change and possibly gentrification, and certainly for the last 30 years, there has been gentrification around rezonings,” Mr. Weiss said.
But Inwood should give his project a chance, he said. Every unit in the building, from studios to three-bedrooms, will be offered at below-market-rate rents, unlike at most ground-up projects, where the affordable part is usually at least 25 percent of the units. Still, going all in on affordable housing also qualifies the project for a direct subsidy from the city, possibly to the tune of $60 million, he added.
“When you get to the reality playing out with my project, you realize what a rezoning should accomplish,” Mr. Weiss said.
The project, whose wavy brick facade is by Aufgang Architects, which has also designed luxury condos, will also have two gyms, a roof deck and a parking garage. Also, as part of the rezoning, the city has promised to build a ribbon of parkland along the Harlem’s banks and under the University Heights Bridge, next door to the project.
Across the street, another once-moribund high-rise has also been exhumed. At 410 West 207th Street, a former Pathmark grocery store with a sprawling parking lot is being turned into a 690-unit residential development from a team led by Taconic Partners.
Taconic, which closed on its $24.6 million stake soon after the area’s zoning changed, was this August given the go-ahead by Building Department officials to begin demolitions. The project is set to open in 2025. One partner, Arnold Gumowitz, an investor with holdings on the Upper West Side and Midtown who controls the project’s ground lease, paid $9.5 million for the site in 2013, according to a deed.
Similarly, wrecking balls this spring leveled Inwood’s beige-brick library at 4790 Broadway to make way for the Eliza, a 14-story, 174-unit tower expected to open in 2023. The $100 million project, which is being built by the city on public land using subsidies, is an all-affordable project like Sherman Creek North Cove.