“We don’t have any poor doors here.
What we do have
is different management companies and different management
—Pam McConnell, Toronto city
Rich door-poor door
in New York City
The use of poor doors has its distractors raising hell in New York
California and in London England but so far, it has been a non-issue in
Toronto. However, that may change as the practice becomes more common.
entrances: Are New York style ‘poor doors’ here in Toronto already?
By Jessica Smith Cross
03 September 2014
In 2018, some residents of the new Aqualina Bayside development on
Toronto’s waterfront will enter through one door and other
residents—who aren’t as wealthy—will use a different one.
If this was New York City, they’d call that entrance the “poor door.”
Some New Yorkers are outraged their city has approved a development on
the Upper West Side that includes subsidized, affordable and
market-rate units, because it will have segregated entrances and common
areas, so, in effect, the wealthier won’t rub elbows with the poor who
live in the building.
Alicia Glen, a deputy mayor in New York, told the New York Times that
poor doors were not in keeping with the administration’s principles of
equality. “Walking into a building should not be any different based on
income status,” she said.
According to Toronto city staff, our city has already built two condo
developments that include both market-rate condos and affordable
housing units already built, and six more have been approved.
The largest is the Aquilina at Bayside development, south of Queens
Quay, between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament. The massive development,
to be finished in 2018, will include 225 market-rate condominiums and
80 affordable rental units for artists and their families on the west
and north sides of the first to ninth floors in the same building.
affordable units are completely separate
However, affordable units are completely separate from the market-rate
condo units, and accessed by a separate door.
Tridel’s Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Jim Ritchie,
released this statement to Metro: “In Bayside’s Aquavista community, we
are proud of the fact that we are bringing 80 artist’s residences to
the city. We are also delivering 230 for sale condominium suites at
market prices. We have worked together with the City of Toronto in
designing and permitting the project for construction. Bayside is an
upscale, waterfront development and all entrances will be exquisite,
leading into a fabulous building in which all our residents will be
proud to call home.”
Sean Gadon, Toronto’s director of affordable housing, said the city is
essentially purchasing that section of the building, finishing it
separately and putting it under separate management, the non-profit
group Artscape. One reason it’s separate is to keep the common costs
down, he said.
“We are developing affordable housing, so there were cost
considerations as to amenities and what the lobby would look like.
“The residents have their own amenities space that doesn’t include …
things that you would find in an upscale condominium. The affordable
component is designed to be affordable,” he said.
There are also separate entrances at a development at Abell and Sudbury
streets, in the King West area, where 68 units for artists were built
with Westside Lofts condos above them—much like the building causing
the controversy in NYC.
Gadon said he doesn’t believe any of the developments in Toronto where
there is a separation of affordable from market-rates units—and thus
separate entrances—qualify as having a “poor door,” because the
separation exists because of separate management.
“It’s not as if, oh, those are the poor people we want to segregate
them and give them their own entrance,” he said.
However, the Upper West Side building that sparked outrage in NYC is
also planning to have separate management and, like in Toronto, will be
considered a separate legal entity.
Artscape manages the existing artist condos and apartments in the
Triangle Lofts and will manage the affordable artists units in the
Aquilina at Bayside.
segregation is an asset
Artscape Executive Vice President Celia Smith said the segregation is
an asset. “We build communities for artists,” she said. “We co-locate
artists in one space. It was important for us to have our own entrance,
our own space.”
Artscape will manage some units that are integrated into other
buildings as well and prefers to keep them separate from the rest of
Toronto has only recently begun mixing affordable housing with condos.
One completed building, and five that are underway have their
affordable units completely integrated into the condo buildings,
accessed by the common entrance.
Pam McConnell, the ward councillor, supports the Bayside development
and said separate entrances aren’t new in Toronto; affordable housing
co-ops have co-existed with TCHC housing, in the same buildings, with
separate doors, for decades.
In those cases, the wealth disparity is far less stark than at the
controversial NYC luxury condo development.
“different management arrangements”
“We don’t have any poor doors here,” said McConnell. “What we do have
is different management companies and different management
Two buildings in her ward have co-ops and TCHC units, with separate
entrances. At Front and Jarvis Streets, one huge building has four
residential entrances: 109 Front Street East is for condos, but the
building also includes a TCHC section and two co-ops, plus retail
space, all with separate entrances, and separate management.
“There are different charges, different operating costs and different
governance, so these are standalone properties within the same
envelope,” she said.
McConnell said she believes separate entrances don’t have the same poor
door stigma in Toronto, because New York’s history of segregating
people by wealth is much greater.
“New York is New York … they’re much more used to separating people in
terms of economics,” said McConnell.
New York condo with
‘back door’ for poor tenants was part of
program to reduce inequality
By CNN Wire
19 February 2015
NEW YORK — The luxury apartment building in New York City that sparked
controversy for its so-called “poor door” has started accepting
applications from low-income renters.
The 33-story complex has 219 luxury condos — the cheapest is a
3-bedroom apartment for $3.6 million.
But the building also has 55 apartments for rent to low-income tenants,
with a studio available for $833 a month.
The low-income renters, however, will not have the same entrance as the
luxury buyers. They will have a separate entrance on the side,
popularly referred to as the “poor door.”
While it’s not the only building in the city with such a door, critics
called out the practice as a form of income segregation. To qualify for
below-market rates, tenants cannot earn more than $50,304 for a family
The building started accepting rental applications Wednesday. The city
did not immediately respond to a request for information on how how
many people have applied so far.
Besides grand river views, owners of the luxury condos also have access
to extravagant perks, including a pool, bowling alley, rock climbing
wall, a golf simulator and a screening room.
The low-income renters will have street views, a community room and
The rentals are not equipped with dishwashers or washer/dryers, but
there is a laundry room in the building. Parking is available for a fee.
The top rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,082.
Meanwhile, there is a seven-bedroom, nine-bath “tower townhome” for
sale in the building for $25.7 million.
Owners must pay extra for the amenities they enjoy. The common charges,
which vary based on the size of the condo, start at $2,224 a month.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The building was part of the city’s “Inclusionary Housing Program,” and
was designed to include affordable options in luxury condominiums in an
effort to mitigate inequality in affluent areas.
The program, enacted in 2009 under former New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, gives developers tax breaks and more space in exchange for
building affordable housing either in the building itself or close by.
In theory, the program gives families who couldn’t afford to live in
the city an opportunity to live in good school districts and new
buildings. But in practice, critics say it’s leading to a new kind of
backs down on West Hollywood
89.3 KPCC public radio
06 August 2014
The developer of a proposed large mixed-use building in West Hollywood
that planned to restrict tenants living in affordable housing units
from accessing the property's pool said Wednesday it will reconsider
after encountering strong objections from the city's Community
"The City of West Hollywood previously recommended comparable
amenities, which we had agreed to," Brian Lewis, a spokesman for the
project, said in a statement. "If the City now feels that shared
amenities and access best meet the needs of the residents of the
affordable housing units, we are more than willing to accept those
conditions of the project."
The West Hollywood planning commission is set to vote on approving the
proposed building Thursday, which is being developed by Townscape
Partners of Beverly Hills and the New York investment firm Angelo
Gordon & Co. A staff report from West Hollywood's Community
Development Department recommended against approval because of the
restricted pool access.
"The current configuration has the
affordable units looking down on a pool they are prohibited from
using," the report said. "This very obvious delineation of amenities
runs contrary to West Hollywood’s policies of inclusiveness and equal
access for all."
Restricted access – dubbed by critics as a 'poor door' – has become
increasingly popular in New York, as The New York Times reported in May:
Developers say amenities are a marketing tool to lure high-paying
tenants. And they say rent-regulation rules make offering them to such
no data on how widespread the practice is
But advocates for tenants view the policies as ways to demoralize
people who pay less than the going rate and to not too subtly encourage
them to move elsewhere. Although there is no data on how widespread the
practice is, both sides agree that it is on the rise.
The proposed project is located 8899 Beverly Boulevard, at what used to
house the ICM talent agency. This was the first time a developer
planned to offer amenities off-limits to tenants living in affordable
housing in Southern California, according to Larry Gross, Executive
Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival.
“I could have never thought that this would come to Southern
California, let alone West Hollywood,” said Gross. “It's appalling."