Residents and NYCHA Announce Plans for Complete Rebuilding of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses

The new path forward follows five years of robust resident engagement that began with the Chelsea Working Group, continued with a Resident Review Committee, and recently included pre-development planning and inspections led by the
resident-selected partner team

Resident survey confirmed that more than half of all respondents wish to pursue total redevelopment over rehabilitation of current buildings

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) joined residents of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses to announce plans for a complete rebuilding of the campuses, following a recent survey that was the latest component of an unprecedented resident engagement effort underway since the formation of the Chelsea NYCHA Working Group in 2019. This spring, the resident-selected partner team, Essence Development and Related Companies, continued their engagement with residents, NYCHA, and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) to facilitate a process for all residents to decide whether to pursue total redevelopment of their campuses or to rehabilitate existing buildings. More than half of resident respondents were in favor of building brand-new NYCHA Project-Based Section 8 buildings across the Fulton, Elliott, and Chelsea campuses.

The new redevelopment plan, which will be overseen by NYCHA and Essence Development, and co-developed by Related Companies, prioritizes the rebuilding of all the campuses’ existing NYCHA apartment buildings, as well as the redesigning of community centers and outdoor spaces, and building additional mixed-income buildings and community facilities (additional plan details are below). This continuation of a robust resident engagement process is a model for having residents inform and cultivate a path to new, modern, and functional homes, while improving quality of life. In December 2021, the Resident Review Committee – which consisted of 10 resident leaders from the campuses – selected Essence Development and Related Companies as the team that would deliver comprehensive upgrades for nearly 4,500 residents living in 2,055 apartments through the PACT program. The Resident Review Committee evaluated proposals and conducted interviews regarding proposed building upgrades, management practices, sustainability and design features, and plans to enhance social services.

This year, over a 60-day period beginning in March, Essence and NYCHA held 35 information sessions, canvassed thousands of residents, and mailed informational packets to every apartment within the developments to inform the community of the selection process and the three options up for consideration. Residents 18 years of age and older could indicate their preference of new buildings or rehabilitation of existing buildings, using either an online or paper survey. If residents selected new buildings, they could then choose from two variations of new construction plans.

NYCHA currently has a growing backlog of over $40 billion worth of repairs and maintenance due to aging infrastructure and decades of federal disinvestment — the results of which are evident at all NYCHA developments, including Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses. Following the 2021 designation of the joint venture between Essence Development and Related Companies as the development partner, a pre-design due diligence process revealed significant, previously unknown structural, systemic, and environmental issues, tripling the cost and requiring temporary resident relocation. Before going ahead with renovations at such a drastically higher cost, longer timeline, and more disruptive schedule, Essence Development, NYCHA, and resident association leadership partnered to develop two alternative paths forward and engaged with residents directly in a transparent process for them to determine the future of their homes.

The resident-selected plan includes the following:

  • All 2,055 existing NYCHA apartments – including 1,111 homes at Elliott-Chelsea and 944 homes at Fulton – will be replaced on existing campuses within brand-new NYCHA buildings that offer enhanced layouts, ventilation, and energy efficiency.

  • Roughly 3,500 new mixed-income apartments, including approximately 875 new affordable apartments, will be added to the campuses.

  • Amenities in each building will include resident-controlled, in-unit heating and cooling; new dishwashers, washers, and dryers in every apartment; common area amenities; large, multipurpose community spaces; and rooftop space.

  • Onsite community resources will be enhanced with healthcare facilities, community centers, grocery stores, retail stores, and additional outdoor recreational spaces.

  • With updated zoning restrictions allowing for taller buildings, new construction is expected to be completed in approximately six years.

  • Before residents move into new buildings, some renovations and upkeep will be completed in existing NYCHA residential buildings to immediately improve quality of life while residents await the construction of new NYCHA Section 8 replacement housing. Additionally, on-site security will be upgraded during this time as well.

  • Similar to NYCHA’s PACT program, all resident rights and protections will be preserved. Rent will continue to be calculated at 30 percent of adjusted gross household income, heads of households will be able to add relatives to their household composition, and lease renewals will occur automatically, among other important protections.

“Our administration has always put residents front and center in decision-making, and I am excited that the residents of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses have seized their opportunity to plan their own future,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “No one knows better than the residents what they and their neighbors need, and they were smart to recognize the potential benefits of completely rebuilding their campus. This is how our administration has been conducting business since taking office, and this is how we will continue to do so: With NYCHA residents making decisions about their own communities.”

“The tenants at Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea were front and center of the plan to redevelop their homes, and they have worked together to choose a plan for their homes that will improve their quality of life,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “We designed a process so tenants can take control of decisions that affect the future of their housing developments. Congratulations to the Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea residents, supported by NYCHA, CHPC, Essence, and Related, for proving the power of this model.”

"What has been underway at Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea continues to build on the success of years of deep and meaningful resident engagement and participation by now facilitating the replacement of more than 2,000 existing apartments with brand-new buildings,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We applaud our partners' ability to nimbly and flexibly meet the needs of New Yorkers living at these developments and thank our residents for driving the process step by step on this exciting and important journey."

"The Fulton, Elliott, and Chelsea engagement process continues to be a prime example of how to center residents in the planning of the future of their homes," said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development Jonathan Gouveia. "We feel strongly that residents should have a seat at the table, and this process is yet another way to ensure we are doing just that. We remain committed to working with residents to devise the best solutions for their own developments and homes."

“We are grateful to the hundreds of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea residents that participated in this first-of-its-kind selection process, helping to bring NYCHA and our city’s public housing to the next generation,” said Tenant Association Presidents Miguel Acevedo and Darlene Waters. “When residents lead and have a seat at the decision-making table, we can find solutions that prioritize our safety and better our surrounding neighborhoods. Thank you to NYCHA and the development team for partnering with us to ensure residents had the opportunity to make their voices heard, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to make sure every resident has the modern and safe home they deserve.”

“We understand the choice of the residents is to move forward with a comprehensive rebuild of their current buildings and campus – that would bring the new and safe housing these NYCHA residents deserve,” said Essence Development Founder Jamar Adams. “We’d like to thank the hundreds of residents that took the time to make their voices heard, and to NYCHA and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council for overseeing a first-of-its-kind process. We look forward to working with the residents, NYCHA, and the broader Fulton, Elliott, and Chelsea community to deliver the vision of these residents.”

“We’re grateful to the residents of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses for their faith in selecting us to be a part of the team that will execute their vision,” said Related Companies President Bruce Beal. “We recognize that this work is vitally important to securing and improving not just apartments, but the lives of thousands of NYCHA residents. Our company’s mission is to create and preserve high-quality housing for all – and for more than two decades we’ve been committed to advancing this goal for everyone in West Chelsea. We look forward to continuing to work with residents, our elected officials, and the entire community to deliver on the promise that was made to Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea tenants to finally give them the homes they deserve.”

“Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea residents have proven that their input is a valuable resource to the needed housing upgrades they deserve. NYCHA and its development partners presented multiple options, and families selected what they thought would better represent their needs, ultimately deciding on development that will foster a better quality of life,” said HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “This transformation will serve as an example for future NYCHA redevelopment. I look forward to seeing the result and joining the officials, developers, and residents that made it all happen to celebrate their new housing.”

“It is incredibly powerful to see the role that NYCHA residents are playing in making decisions for this critical project,” said Citizens Housing & Planning Council Executive Director Howard Slatkin. “Essence Development, NYCHA, and the resident leaders at Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea have achieved exceptionally high resident participation in this survey, ensuring that residents have an active role in shaping the future of their homes. This process has demonstrated the importance of transparency and partnership with NYCHA residents in navigating challenging decisions to improve the quality of life for public housing residents in New York City.”

“As I have made clear throughout this process, NYCHA residents know their communities and developments best and must have a real voice in determining their future,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “This plan puts the needs and priorities of the residents front and center, and I am pleased that the relevant parties — most notably the residents themselves — have come together to move forward with a complete rebuilding of the Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses. With the current buildings in disrepair as New York faces a housing crisis, these new apartments will provide modern, comfortable housing for all existing residents while adding approximately 3,500 new units to the campuses. This victory has been years in the making, and I’m proud of my partnership with our City and West Side elected officials who never stop fighting for NYCHA residents.”

“I’m proud to stand with the tenants of Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses in support of the proposed redevelopment plan," said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. "With more than half of the tenants having voted in support of the plan, it’s clear that these NYCHA tenants want and deserve better housing for themselves and their neighbors. I look forward to working with the tenants, my elected colleagues, NYCHA, Essence Development, and Related Companies in seeing this ambitious plan to completion.”

"Over the past few months, my team and I have been regularly on the ground to ensure any plans for the future of NYCHA campuses in Chelsea are informed and chosen by the residents who deserve to live in dignity," said Assemblymember Tony Simone. "As this process now moves to the next stage, I will continue to ensure that the future of NYCHA homes is in the hands of no one but NYCHA residents. Our neighbors here have lived in deteriorating and dangerous conditions for far too long, and the time for delays and excuses is long past."

“NYCHA residents have been neglected and disrespected for too long. So it’s incredibly important that the residents of Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses have been given the power to choose the path forward for their developments. And I am excited about the path they have chosen,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The physical conditions of the buildings in Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea have degraded over decades of neglect and are now absolutely unacceptable. The plan put forward by NYCHA and the development team will bring about a desperately needed transformation, giving residents modern and energy-efficient homes and vibrant community spaces. I am looking forward to the beginning of a long-awaited new era in these developments.”

"NYCHA tenants are our neighbors, our friends, and our family," said Council Member Erik Bottcher. "For too long, they've had to endure unacceptable living conditions, and they're tired of the platitudes and talk. They want safe, quality and affordable housing, and we must do everything we can do to suport them. I look forward to partnering closely with NYCHA residents and my colleagues at all levels of government to ensure that the tenants get the high quality affordable housing they need and deserve."

“Hudson Guild stands with our neighbors in NYCHA as they have voted to rebuild the Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea complexes,” said Hudson Guild Executive Director Ken Jockers. “The Guild is committed to supporting a plan that results in decent, dignified apartments for all with, at minimum, the same protections and rights that Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton residents have today. Hudson Guild looks forward to working with our neighbors – continuing our current programs and developing new services and activities – to assist during this transition and into the future.”

Residents also considered the following two options:

  • Additional New Construction Option Presented (Within Current Zoning):

    • This option would have replaced all 2,055 existing apartments within brand-new NYCHA buildings that offer enhanced layouts, ventilation, and energy efficiency.

    • This option would have built new buildings within current zoning restrictions, which would have limited the building height. Construction under this plan would have been completed in approximately nine years.

  • Original Plan for Rehabilitation of Current Buildings:

    • This option would have resulted in the renovation of all apartments, including new windows; updated kitchens, bathrooms, floors; updated heating systems; and new security features.

    • All tenants would be relocated out of their units into temporary housing for at least 21 to 30 days (longer in some cases, if necessary, to allow for abatement of serious conditions like asbestos or lead).

    • Rehabilitation of current buildings under this plan would have been completed in roughly four years.

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to 1 in 17 New Yorkers, providing affordable housing to 528,105 authorized residents through public housing and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) programs as well as Section 8 housing. NYCHA has 177,569 apartments in 2,411 buildings across 335 conventional public housing and PACT developments. In addition, NYCHA connects residents to critical programs and services from external and internal partners, with a focus on economic opportunity, youth, seniors, and social services. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.