The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday released its largest capital plan ever, with a proposed investment of $51.5 billion in the city’s transit system. The 2020-2024 capital plan, which requires board approval, would invest a whopping $40 billion in subway and buses alone, which includes fully funding the long-awaited second phase of the Second Avenue Subway. In phase two, three new subway stations would be built with the Q train extending to East Harlem.
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New York officially capped the cost of applying for an apartment at $20, clearing up confusion over a key part of rent reform legislation passed earlier this summer. The Department of State announced on Friday that licensed real estate brokers and salespeople cannot charge more than $20 for a rental application, as Gothamist first reported. The DOS released a set of guidelines to help real estate professionals understand the new rent laws.
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The MTA’s five-year capital spending plan for major system-wide repairs from 2020 to 2024 has been under increasing scrutiny from public transportation watchdog groups, who have asked the MTA to provide more detailed priorities and policy goals for the project. The organizations–including the newly-formed Build Trust Campaign made up of TransitCenter, the Riders Alliance, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Reinvent Albany, released a report Monday asking that the MTA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo significantly improve transparency in planning the project and provide a fiscal roadmap to outline the plans for major repairs to the subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, and the bridges and tunnels that fall under MTA management, Curbed reports. Cuomo also issued a letter to the MTA board Monday outlining his own list of priorities for the Capital Plan.
Blackstone Group has apparently shifted course and is now renovating and leasing all vacant units at Stuyvesant Town. This comes after the landlord faced criticism following revelations that the company has been keeping 20 to 50 percent of rent-regulated apartments at Stuy Town empty in reaction to the city’s new rent laws. It didn’t take long for authorities, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, to express concern over the findings. On Friday, a spokesperson for Blackstone told Gothamist, “We are renovating and leasing all vacant units, and we will continue to fulfill our commitment to voluntarily preserve 5,000 affordable apartments.”
The city is seeking proposals from nonprofits interested in running a new immigrant research center and performing arts center in Inwood. The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) released a request for expressions of interest on Wednesday for a nonprofit organization to “design, construct, and operate” the Northern Manhattan Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center (IRPAC). The neighborhood boasts a diverse community, with 49 percent foreign-born as well as the city’s highest concentration of residents of Dominican descent.
Twenty cyclists have been killed in New York City so far this year, doubling the number of deaths from 2018. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled in July a plan to spend roughly $58 million over the next five years to make streets safer for cyclists by adding protected bike lanes and redesigning intersections. This week the mayor said his office is looking into some new ideas: requiring Citi Bike riders wear helmets and making bikers obtain licenses (h/t Gothamist).
The City Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a plan to replace the Rikers Island complex with four new jails across the city. The plan, unveiled by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017, would close Rikers by 2026 by moving inmates to new, smaller facilities in Lower Manhattan, the South Bronx, Downtown Brooklyn, and Kew Gardens. Despite disapproval from four community boards, three borough presidents, and criminal justice advocates, nine CPC members voted in favor of the plan, with three opposed and one abstained. The proposal will move to the City Council on Thursday for a public hearing.
Via Creative Commons
Some real estate brokers in New York City continue to charge prospective renters more than $20 for application fees despite a new state law that prohibits landlords from doing so. The new measure, passed in June by state lawmakers as part of a major rent reform package, says a “landlord, sub-lessor or grantor” cannot charge applicants more than $20 for background and credit checks. But, as the New York Times reported on Monday, the language of the law does not specifically include brokers.
Rendering by FXCollaborative
A Harlem church looking to rezone part of Central Park North revealed plans this week to incorporate a music school and cultural center to its proposal for a 33-story residential tower. During a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday, La Hermosa Christian Church and FXCollaborative presented their design for the apartment building and the three-story community facility space. Congregants and church officials say the building at 5 West 110th Street is deteriorating, with many of its spaces unusable and inaccessible. “The project that we’re proposing means the survival of our church,” La Hermosa Pastor Dan Feliciano told the commissioners.
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Sources told The Real Deal that Blackstone Group is keeping 20 to 50 rent-stabilized apartments at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village vacant, following state rent law changes that will impede the landlord’s ability to raise rents through renovations. 6sqft reported last month that Blackstone—who purchased the massive 11,000+ unit apartment complex in partnership with Ivanhoe Cambridge for $5.5 billion in 2015—had stopped all non-urgent renovations and other planned work at Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village as a result of the new rent laws.