Jerilyn Perine, a former HPD commissioner, tells City Limits in an email that a litany of challenges can make what looks like an obvious housing site into a costly if not impractical location. For a piece of land to work for housing, she says, “it has to not have very strange site conditions. The Bronx for example is famous for rock outcroppings and extreme contours that can make building infeasible.”

Perine, now the executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, continued: “The zoning has to be right, and you can’t just spot-zone for a small parcel out of context. The location has to work for housing (avoiding proximity to highways, noise problems, industrial adjacencies etc). Ownership has to be correct and undisputed: Just because something is on a list as city owned doesn’t mean there isn’t a title dispute that is ongoing or some other litigation. Everything has to be checked carefully.”