New York City, Seattle considering banning so-called 'poor doors'

Building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has not only different entrances for condominium owners and renters, but also different addresses.
Building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has not only different entrances for condominium owners and renters, but also different addresses. © Victor J. Blue for The New York Times - The units at Extell’s building are eligible to households with incomes of $30,240 to $50,340, with rents listed at $1,082 for a two-bedroom, $895 for a one-bedroom and $833 for a studio in a prime location by the Hudson River. Mr. Barnett argued that the response showed that the poor door issue was a “made-up controversy.”“The most important thing is to provide affordable housing,” he said. “It’s what people really want.”Affordable-housing advocates are divided on the issue, with some saying the focus should be on building more homes rather than on where to enter them. Although many residential buildings in New York integrate low-cost units, developers like Mr. Barnett say that segregating the rentals in a separate part of the building is preferable when market-rate units with the best views and amenities are for sale, and can draw top dollar, in turn allowing them to build more affordable units.But in the case of the Upper West Side building, that means the poorer tenants will not have access to the pool, the gym, the bowling alley and the private theater, among the add-ons used to entice buyers passing through the nonpoor door. (The renters will have their own laundry room, a community room and bike storage.) There are even separate addresses: 50 Riverside Boulevard for the condominiums, and 470 West 62nd Street for the rentals.Mr. Barnett’s company built the low-income rentals in exchange for the freedom to construct more square feet than city rules would otherwise allow, a housing strategy called inclusionary zoning. And under current rules, if the developer chooses to attach the affordable segment to the market-rate portion of the project, it is required to provide separate entrances.But the two-door option, adopted in a minority of new residential projects, is not in keeping with Mr. de Blasio’s liberal political stance, and officials are looking to change a range of housing codes and programs to prohibit them.

A new building in Vancouver's West End neighbourhood is getting some attention because of its segregated entrances for condo residents and those living in social housing units.

The West End Neighbours community group says the market-priced condo units and social housing units for the 19-storey high-rise for 1171 Jervis Street will also be branded differently at the entrances and have separate amenities.

The development permit was approved Monday by city staff. 

The development application shows the entrance for the 28 units designated as social housing will be on Davie Street, while residents of the 63 market units will enter on Jervis Street.

The building has become a flash point in the neighbourhood because a public hearing was not required for the project under city regulations implemented in 2013, according to the group.

It won't be the first multi-use building in Vancouver to have separate entrances, but the proposal comes at a time where cities like New York and Seattle consider banning what some have called  'poor doors.'