Last year, the Hudson Housing Authority floated the idea of tearing down Bliss Towers and building new apartment complexes to take its place.
This week, the Hudson Housing Authority decided to move forward with plans to demolish Bliss Towers and rebuild public housing in the city.
Whoa. That’s quite a leap. The demolition of the nearly 50-year-old Towers would also include Columbia Apartments, which are the low-rise units on the same property as the high-rise building. But before any bricks are removed, a few details have to be ironed out.
The Authority will have to prove to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that repairing housing it owns would be more expensive than constructing new apartments.
The Authority’s Board of Commissioners will make public a draft Request for Qualifications in the coming days. The goal of the Request for Qualifications, or RFQ, is to find a developer to demolish and reconstruct the city’s federal housing complex.
Now, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Essentially, the board will ask developers to explain their qualifications in detail to demolish Bliss Towers and take on the redevelopment of public housing in Hudson. Basically, developers working in this industry will be asked to send in portfolios explaining why they have what it takes to do a job of this magnitude.
One surprise is that the Bliss Towers proposal was fueled by tenant and community feedback. Clearly, the tenants want a bright future and an improved quality of life that matches the progress driving Hudson forward.
The caveat here is that the HHA will be responsible for finding new permanent or temporary housing for hundreds of tenants at a time when the rest of the city is in the throes of an affordable-housing crisis.
As many residents of Hudson know, affordable housing is a tremendous problem and solving it will not be easy, even if all the pieces fall into place for a 21st century Bliss Towers — a job that could take years to complete. Tearing down Bliss Towers and rebuilding new public housing won’t necessarily mean Hudson is out of the woods on its housing crisis.
Hudson will need a perfect storm of leadership, skillful management, a winning plan and a healthy dose of luck to pull this off.