If you need more proof that there are some serious flaws with the 421-a program, once again, look no further than One57. As reported by the Journal, the super-luxe tower was the beneficiary of a whopping $65.6 million tax cut, an abatement granted in exchange for a paltry $5.9 million contribution to help cover the cost of 66 affordable apartments in the Bronx. That means your tax dollars subsidized apartments at nearly $1 million per unit—the highest known subsidy under the program—when affordable units on average cost a mere $179,000 apiece. It’s estimated that the generous cut could have provided for 367 affordable apartments. The findings came from the latest review by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO).
SHoP Architects‘ copper-clad fraternal pair of towers is finally rising along the East River, and a handful of newly uncovered images and a fly-through video reassure us that this dancing couple will be the boldest addition to the East River skyline in decades.
Developed by Michael Stern’s JDS Development Group, the nearly one-million-square-foot project, now known by its address 626 First Avenue, will contain a whopping 800 rental units, placing it in the league of other recent mega-rental developments such as Two Trees’ Mercedes House (864 units), Silverstein’s River Place (921 rentals), and Moinian’s Sky (1,175 units). Like these others, JDS is promising to provide an extravagant amenity package that they claim “will set a new benchmark for rental developments.”
Residential construction along the High Line continues at full steam as a rash of activity along the park’s northern extents rises higher and larger than earlier developments farther south. To provide a gradual transition from mid-rise West Chelsea to the enormous skyscrapers planned for the Far West Side, the Bloomberg administration in 2005 allowed more generous zoning between West 28th and 30th streets along Tenth and Eleventh avenues. Earlier this week Curbed, via ILNY’s Flickr photostream, gave us our first look at West Chelsea’s future tallest structure, a 425-foot rental tower at 319 Tenth Avenue that is part of a trio of buildings being developed by Long Island-based Lalezarian Properties.
The heated debate around Airbnb doesn’t seem like it’ll be cooling off any time soon. Findings show that roughly 58% of the room-share listings here in NYC are illegal, and earlier this year the city ruled in favor of evicting a rent-stabilized tenant for listing his apartment at triple the price of his rent. Those against Airbnb claim that it threatens the affordable housing market, and a new video that we recently featured takes a jab at this issue. Created by ShareBetter, the video titled “Save the Moguls” makes the case that Airbnb is just a charity for struggling real estate bigwigs. Though it’s satirical, many do agree with this claim. Are you one of them?
Currently, the city allots half of its new affordable housing stock to residents of the specific community district where the project is being built and who meet the income requirements. But the Anti-Discrimination Center says this “community preference” policy violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act, “which prohibits discrimination in housing sales, rentals and financing based on race or national origin,” according to an article today in the Wall Street Journal. The New York-based group filed a suit against the city on these grounds, claiming that it adds to existing segregation patterns. If they are successful, the verdict would undoubtedly impact Mayor de Blasio’s plan of adding 80,000 new affordable housing units in the next ten years.
The city’s fight against Airbnb continues to rage on, and this latest video created by ShareBetter jabs at the home-sharing company’s gross neglect when it comes to preserving much-needed affordable housing. Satirically dubbed “Save the Moguls,” the 60-second spot likens the multi-billion dollar powerhouse to a charity trying to being relief to the anguish that real estate bigwigs face when it comes to sustaining their extravagant lifestyles. “What would you do if you saw a real estate mogul right in front of you, all alone, clearly suffering?” the video posits. “They need your help to keep the sharing economy alive. By renting out just one of the hundreds of apartments and homes they’ve listed on Airbnb, you can join the fight against affordable housing.”
In a historic decision made last night, the Rent Guidelines Board voted 7-2 last night to freeze rents for the first time on one-year leases for New York City’s more than one million rent-stabilized apartments. The board, entirely appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, also moved to increase rents on two-year leases by just two percent, the lowest in the board’s 46-year existence. The decision follows last week’s lackluster vote at the state level to only extend but not strengthen rent regulations. “Cuomo betrayed us, the RGB can save us,” tenants chanted at the meeting.
Thanks to a provision added to the newly extended and altered 421-a tax abatement passed last week, developers looking to segregate their wealthy tenants from their affordable rate renters will have to think again. According to The Post, Mayor de Blasio inserted a reform into the tax program plan that would ban the practice in which developers build a separate entrance for folks occupying the cheaper, below market-rate apartments in their buildings—better known as “poor doors.”
Photo via Wiki Commons
For many New Yorkers, public housing is the only affordable way to live in the city, but despite an ever-growing waiting list, thousands of these homes are sitting empty, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal about an audit of NYCHA by Comptroller Scott Stringer. At a release of the findings yesterday at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses in Brooklyn, Stringer said: “Even though 270,000 New Yorkers are on the waiting list for housing, desperate to put a roof above their heads, we found that NYCHA is sitting on over 2,000 apartments they identify as vacant.” The audit shows that 1,366 apartments are empty awaiting repairs, and 967 are between tenants.
Take everything you think you know about “affordable” alternatives to pricey neighborhoods and throw it out the window. This map from the Community Service Society (first shared by the Daily News) analyzes newly released census data that compares median rents between 2002 and 2014. The data is drawn from a New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Urban Development survey of 18,000 New Yorkers every three years who had recently moved, which “eliminates the tendency of lower rents paid by long-time tenants to smooth out market changes and mask the changes that affect tenants who are looking for a place to live,” according to CSS.
The report shows that rents citywide have increased 32 percent over the past 12 years, not a new or surprising figure. But it also shows drastic increases in neighborhoods that have been traditionally thought of as more affordable. Central Harlem saw the biggest jump at 90 percent; the average rent in 2002 for new residents was $821 and now it’s skyrocketed to $1,560. Other no-longer-affordable neighborhoods are Bed-Stuy at a 63 percent increase and Washington Heights/Inwood at 55 percent. The other ‘hoods topping the list include less surprising areas like Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Fort Greene at 59 percent and Williamsburg/Greenpoint at 53 percent.