Policy

February 23, 2024

$12B Hudson Yards casino proposal details three skyscrapers, 1,500 apartments, a hotel, and offices

What could a casino look like in Hudson Yards? Related Companies this week filed plans with the city detailing a massive $12 billion development on the undeveloped western portion of Hudson Yards. As first spotted by Crain's, the proposal calls for the construction of three skyscrapers, including an 80-story residential building with 1,500 apartments, an office tower with roughly 2.2 million square feet of office space, and a gaming facility and hotel resort with 1,750 rooms run by Wynn Resorts. Related is one of the latest developers to unveil plans as part of a bid for one of the three downstate casino licenses to be awarded in the coming months.
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February 22, 2024

Westfield sued over plans to ditch Fulton Center

A plan from the Westfield Corporation to exit its 20-year retail lease at Fulton Center early is being met with a lawsuit from the New York City Transit Authority. As first reported by Bloomberg, the NYCTA sued Westfield after the mall operator announced it wanted to terminate its lease 10 years in. The suit, which aims to keep Westfield as the mall's operator, claims the transit agency would suffer major financial losses that could impact commuters if Westfield pulled out of the lease.
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February 22, 2024

5,000 NYCHA apartments are sitting vacant, new report finds

Despite the city's current housing and homelessness crisis, about 5,000 public housing apartments are sitting vacant. According to a report published Wednesday by Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor overseeing the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), a special team assembled by the agency to expedite turning over vacant apartments has actually slowed down the process, leaving apartments in need of repairs empty for months, as The City reported. The number of empty NYCHA apartments has increased from just about 490 in 2021 to nearly 5,000 as of last month, even though roughly 240,000 New Yorkers are on the waitlist for an apartment.
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February 21, 2024

Mayor Adams sued over failure to enact housing voucher laws

The New York City Council on Wednesday filed a motion to join a class-action lawsuit against Mayor Eric Adams for failing to comply with new laws regarding housing vouchers that should have taken effect on January 9. The Legal Aid Society filed the suit last week on behalf of four plaintiffs who are unable to access housing vouchers they are entitled to under laws passed by the City Council last year, according to Gothamist.
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February 21, 2024

MTA installing LED lights in every NYC subway station

Bright LED lights will be installed in every New York City subway station in a new effort to make the system safer for commuters, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced this week. The project includes replacing all 150,000 fluorescent lights across the city's subway system with LED lighting by the middle of 2026. Officials say the lights will enhance safety on the subway by brightening every platform and mezzanine and improving the visibility of the 15,000 security cameras found throughout the transit system.
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February 14, 2024

Bjarke Ingels unveils design for Freedom Plaza casino development next to the U.N.

As the state's process for choosing a site for a New York City gaming facility continues to slowly move forward, new renderings released this week offer a closer look at one proposed casino in Manhattan. Renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) on Monday unveiled new images of Freedom Plaza, a mixed-use development with apartments, a hotel, a museum, a 4.77-acre public park, and an underground casino just south of the United Nations.
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February 13, 2024

The Brooklyn Edison Building may be NYC’s next landmark

The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted to calendar the Brooklyn Edison Building in Downtown Brooklyn. Located at 345 Adams Street, the office building was designed by renowned architectural firm McKenzie, Voorhees & Gemlin and constructed between 1922 and 1926 for the Brooklyn Edison Company. The structure stands out for its important role in the borough's development and its striking Renaissance Revival architectural features, according to the commission.
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February 12, 2024

Crown Heights townhouse seized from slumlords available for $678K through lottery

A Crown Heights townhouse owned by an infamous slumlord duo and seized by the city is for sale. The home at 1214 Dean Street was turned over in 2022 after a $2.25 million settlement between the city and the previous owners, who tried to illegally evict tenants during the pandemic and ran an illegal hotel. Following a restoration, the property is now accepting applications as part of the city's affordable housing lottery system. First-time homebuyers with at least a four-person household earning 110 percent of the area median income can apply to buy the home, which is listed at $678,000.
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February 9, 2024

NYC rental vacancy rate drops to 1.4%, lowest in 50+ years

New York City's net rental vacancy rate has dropped to a mere 1.4 percent, the lowest rate on record. According to a survey released by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Thursday, the city had a little over 33,000 vacant rental apartments available between January and mid-June of 2023 citywide, out of a total stock of 2,357,000 units. Despite adding 60,000 units since 2021, the demand for housing in all five boroughs is outpacing the construction of new homes.
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February 8, 2024

NYC real estate developer arrested in $86M+ fraud scheme

The former executive of a luxury New York City development firm has been arrested for his connection to an $86 million fraud scheme. Nir Meir, the former managing director of HFZ Capital, was taken into custody on Monday along with other high-ranking industry officials, for stealing money from investors, subcontractors, and the city of New York, according to the indictment. Prosecutors claim Meir, who managed the firm's largest projects, specifically The XI (now One High Line), directed more than $253 million of the project's funding to LLCs controlled by HFZ despite being legally required to use the money for the development.
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February 7, 2024

New York lawmakers propose new state agency to build affordable ‘social housing’

New York lawmakers want to create a new publicly-funded agency to address the state's ongoing affordable housing crisis. State Sen. Cordell Cleare and Assembly Member Emily Gallagher on Tuesday introduced a bill proposing the creation of the Social Housing Development Authority (SHDA), a new agency that would use state money to finance the creation of permanently affordable, 100 percent union-built housing, instead of relying on private developers. According to City Limits, SHDA would create "social housing," a term used to describe developments typically owned by public entities, non-profits, or the residents themselves.
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February 6, 2024

70 NYCHA workers charged with bribery and extortion

Dozens of current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) were charged on Tuesday with bribery and extortion offenses. As many as 70 superintendents and assistant superintendents at nearly 100 NYCHA buildings allegedly demanded over $2 million in bribery money from contractors collectively in exchange for $13 million in work, according to charges unsealed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. According to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, the action marks the largest single-day bribery takedown in the history of the Justice Department. Williams said 66 of the 70 defendants were arrested this morning.
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February 5, 2024

NYC reveals automated, side-loading garbage truck

A revolutionary garbage truck is hitting New York City streets, four years ahead of schedule. Mayor Eric Adams last week revealed a new automated side-loading garbage truck that will allow Department of Sanitation workers to easily collect trash from large containerized bins at high-density residential buildings. With the use of the new trucks and a data-driven containerization model, Manhattan Community Board 9 will be the first district to have 100 percent of its garbage containerized next year.
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February 2, 2024

Open gangway subway cars are now in service on the C line

The New York City subway system's new open gangway cars have officially hit the rails. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday participated in an inaugural ride of the open gangway subway cars which are in service on the C line between Washington Heights and East New York. The ride marked the first time in modern history that an open gangway train, already used in major European and Asian cities, has operated in the United States.
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January 30, 2024

Staten Island Ferry to offer food and drinks for the first time since Covid

Staten Island Ferry riders will be able to enjoy food and drinks on board for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Tuesday announced a request for proposals (RFP) for vendors interested in selling food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, on the Staten Island Ferry. Proposals are due by March 7, with the new concessions expected to be in operation by the fall.
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January 30, 2024

NYC unveils plan to develop 570 affordable homes on Inwood parking lot

New York City is moving forward with an ambitious plan to advance two dozen affordable housing projects on public land this year. The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) on Monday began the public outreach process for the redevelopment of an unused city-owned parking lot in Inwood with roughly 570 affordable homes, public green space, and a STEM facility. The Inwood Waterfront project falls under Mayor Eric Adams' "24 in 24" plan, which pushes for 24 affordable housing developments on 24 publicly-owned sites to ultimately create or preserve more than 12,000 housing units.
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January 26, 2024

NYC brokerage to pay state $260K after allegedly charging excessive broker fees

A Manhattan real estate brokerage accused of scamming tenants with excessive broker fees has agreed to pay the state $260,000 in penalties. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced a settlement with brokerage firm City Wide Apartments, Inc. after an investigation by the New York Department of State, which licenses real estate agents, found the firm charged exorbitant brokerage fees, in one case charging more than $20,000 in added fees to tenants searching for housing.
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January 25, 2024

Chinatown’s Kimlau Square to receive $56M revamp

Chinatown's chaotic Kimlau Square is set to receive a $55.8 million redesign, as first reported by amNewYork. During his State of the City address on Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams announced Kimlau Square will be renovated in three phases: an expansion of the square into a pedestrian plaza with shortened street crossings, the beautification of Park Row between the plaza and the Brooklyn Bridge, and the creation of an archway that welcomes people into the neighborhood. The project aims to straighten out the confusing six-way intersection that surrounds the plaza and increase the size of the space from 12,000 to 20,000 square feet.
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January 24, 2024

Adams looks to develop 24 affordable housing projects on public sites across NYC

The city will push forward 24 residential developments on city-owned properties across the five boroughs. During his State of the City address on Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled several proposals addressing the ongoing housing crisis, including a new initiative called "24 in 24." The plan calls for two dozen affordable housing projects on public land, which could create and preserve over 12,000 affordable apartments.
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January 23, 2024

NYC to curb ‘community preference’ policy in affordable housing lotteries

New York City will restrict the preference it gives to residents applying for an affordable apartment within their community district according to a settlement reached on Monday. Under the current policy, 50 percent of affordable apartments are set aside for New Yorkers who live in the same neighborhood as the development, known as “community preference." After a lawsuit first filed in 2015 challenging the policy as discriminatory, a new order signed Monday caps the preference to 20 percent of units through 2029 and then to 15 percent after that.
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January 22, 2024

NYC’s latest film studio is opening in Long Island City this year

New York City's latest film studio will open in Long Island City this year. Taking up the upper three floors of a five-story development at 23-30 Borden Avenue, Borden Studios includes four sound stages, office and support space, and more than 8,800 square feet of outdoor space, including a rooftop terrace. Developed by Innovo Property Group and operated by The MBS Group, the studio is expected to open this spring.
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January 22, 2024

MTA installs new subway platform barriers at 191st Street station

Commuters should now feel more secure waiting for the 1 train at the 191st Street subway station. This weekend, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority installed new barriers on the edge of the platform at the Washington Heights station, as part of a pilot program aimed at improving safety and preventing people from falling onto the tracks. The station is the first of four to get the barriers under the program.
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January 17, 2024

City launches initiative to ‘rainproof’ NYC

State and city agencies, nonprofits, and community leaders will join forces to develop ideas aimed at dealing with New York City's heavy rainfall problem. The Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice on Tuesday launched "Rainproof NYC," a collaborative initiative to come up with policies and programs addressing the high frequency of heavy rainfall due to climate change. The initiative will complement ongoing Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) projects that are underway across the state, including sewer upgrades, green infrastructure, cloudburst projects, and Bluebelts.
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January 12, 2024

Trump name removed from Bronx golf course

A sign bearing Donald Trump's name has been removed from the Bronx golf course previously operated by the former president. New manager Bally's Corporation rebranded the course, previously called the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, Bally's Links, and celebrated with a new sign reveal and ribbon cutting on Thursday. Bally's purchased the lease for the course last September for $60 million and will operate the city-owned site as part of an effort to secure one of the region's three casino licenses.
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January 10, 2024

Hochul calls for replacement and extension of 421-a tax abatement in NYC

As housing production in New York City hits new lows, Gov. Kathy Hochul is calling once again for a replacement of the 421-a tax abatement program that expired in 2022. During her 2024 State of the State address on Tuesday, the governor said she plans to introduce legislation permitting the city to offer a tax break to developers of new rental construction, as well as an extension of the completion deadline of the expired program. Hochul's previous proposals to replace the program in 2022 and 2023 failed to move forward.
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