Our young mayor is certainly creative. And he appears to have a lot of class. But is he a member of the vaunted "creative class" that developers and city officials want to lure downtown?
I don't know. But Mayor Ravenstahl seems like he might be smarter than all that.
Exhibit A is Ravenstahl's commentary in this article on affordable downtown housing. Check out this downright frugal assessment of his own living conditions:
The mayor and his wife, Erin, toyed with moving Downtown, but determined that on his $96,511 salary and her earnings as a beautician, they'd be hard-pressed to afford it. The lower-end condominiums are coming on the market at around $200,000.
The mayor wants people earning even $50,000 to be able to consider the center city.
But just hold on a second. That $200,000 condo, financed over 30 years, would cost less than $1,500 a month, even with nothing down and a nasty 7-8 percent interest rate. It would probably be something more like $1,000 with a down payment and a better loan.
And we KNOW that someone making $100,000 a year can afford $1,000 a month. In fact, we know that someone making just $50,000 can afford $1,500 a month. How do we know that?
Because the Piatts said so. Or at least implied as much in their recent proposal to build "affordable" apartments that cost up to $1,500 a month. And these apartments are designed for whom? Check it out:
The mayor acknowledged a need for more affordable housing. He supports Millcraft Industries, the developer of the old G.C. Murphy store on Fifth Avenue, in switching from condos to apartments targeting renters with incomes of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Rents will range from $750 to $1,500 a month, said Lucas Piatt, Millcraft's vice president of real estate.
So someone making $50,000 a year can afford $1,500 a month. Now do the math. If the mayor and his wife are making $100,000 a year, shouldn't they be able to afford $3,000 a month? There are certainly apartments available for that amount downtown. Really nice apartments. As for condos, for $3,000 a month the Mayor and Mrs. Mayor could afford a $450,000 condo (30 years, 7 percent interest). At least according to a handy online mortgage calculator. But let's say these numbers are off for some reason I don't understand. I would think that the mayor could at least afford a $350,000 condo.
And keep in mind that this would not be a stretch. This would fall into the category of "affordable."
Doesn't seem that way to me. And it certainly doesn't seem that way to the mayor. So I wonder: When the Piatts come calling with their proposal to build $1,500 a month affordable housing for people making $50,000 a year, what will the mayor say to them?