Policy

Policy, real estate trends

NYC affordable housing

Photo via Wikimedia

City Comptroller Scott Stringer unveiled a plan on Monday that would allow renters in New York City to count on-time, monthly payments toward their credit score. While homeowners who punctually pay a mortgage can boost their credit, renters currently cannot count on-time payments in the same way. Those without credit or bad credit often pay higher interest rates on loans and other monthly bills, like utilities or cell phone payments. As the New York Times reported, Stringer’s office looked at a sampling of tenants who pay less than $2,000 per month and found that 76 percent of them would improve their credit scores if rent payments were reported. Stringer told the Times that his plan “could create a powerful credit history that could lift you out of poverty.”

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Policy, Transportation

nyc, traffic, congestion pricing

Photo via Lucas Klappas on Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a five-point plan designed to ease congestion in the city’s busiest neighborhoods. The program, called “Clear Lanes,” includes a series of initiatives like creating new moving lanes in Midtown, clearing curbs during rush hour and expanding NYPD enforcement of block-the-box violations. Beginning in January, in addition to the heavily congested Midtown, rush-hour deliveries will be banned during a six-month test run on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (h/t New York Times).

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Long Island City, Major Developments, New Developments, Policy

TF Cornerstone, Hunters Point South, ODA Architects

Updated rendering of parcel c for Hunters Point South, courtesy of ODA Architecture

TF Cornerstone on Thursday filed its first permits for a 1,200-unit apartment building as the second phase of the city’s Hunters Point South redevelopment, a project that first began in 2013. The plan for the waterfront neighborhood in Long Island City, Queens called for a mixed-use, affordable housing development that would hold up to 5,000 units, with 60 percent of them affordable. Selected for phase two of the ambitious project by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, TF Cornerstone’s original proposal was delayed for four years after local, state and federal authorities forced the developer to rethink its design (h/t Crain’s).

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Brooklyn, Financial District, hudson yards, Long Island City, Policy

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Economic Development Corporation released their official pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters on Wednesday, one day before the deadline. Boasting the city’s talented tech workforce, the de Blasio administration has pitched Midtown West, Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle (DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard), and Lower Manhattan as the four best spots for Amazon to call home. The tech giant’s nationwide competition, announced in September, set out to find their next headquarters, called HQ2. The company promises the headquarters will bring 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in initial city investment.

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Design, Policy

governors island

Photo of Governors Island via simplethrill on Flickr

Since Governors Island first opened in 2005, transforming the 172-acre piece of land in the New York Harbor into a public space has been slow. However, after a 40-acre park with a playground opened last year the ball has officially started rolling. According to Crain’s, the Trust for Governors Island recently released two requests for proposals aimed at making the waterfront location a destination for entertainment and cultural activities. The trust is offering licenses for up to three years during the island’s season, which runs from May 1 through October 31.

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maps, Policy

Density of population and infrastructure in the projected 2050 floodplain. Image: RPA.

Hurricane season is impossible to ignore, and as the October 29th anniversary date of Superstorm Sandy approaches, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) has released a report titled “Coastal Adaptation: A Framework for Governance and Funding to Address Climate Change” that warns of the imminent threat of rising sea levels and outlines a strategy to protect the many vulnerable stretches of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. According to the report, 59 percent of the region’s energy capacity, four major airports, 21 percent of public housing units, and 12 percent of hospital beds will be in areas at risk of flooding over the next 30 years. RPA research found that even in light of these projections, the region’s climate change planning tends to be reactive and local rather than pro-active and regional–and it’s not nearly enough.

Find out more about who’s at risk and what can be done

Policy, Technology, Transportation

self-driving cars, driverless, general motors

A self-driving vehicle, photo via GM

General Motors will bring a fleet of self-driving cars to a 5-square-mile section of lower Manhattan early next year, becoming the first company to deploy autonomous cars in New York City. As the Wall Street Journal learned, in partnership with driverless-car developer Cruise Automation, GM’s testing will include an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor the performance and a second person in the passenger seat. In May, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state began accepting applications from companies interested in autonomous technologies in New York. GM and Cruise’s planned testing will become the first time Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be tested in NYC, getting a head start on making the Big Apple a hub for self-driving cars.

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New Jersey, Policy, real estate trends

Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble on Flickr

Amazon’s nationwide competition to find a home for its second headquarters draws to a close this week, with pitches from stakeholders due Thursday. While New York City meets most of the requirements the tech giant listed for its HQ2– a population of at least 1 million people, proximity to an international airport, mass transit access and talented workforce–business costs in the city would be sky-high. However, as Crain’s reported, even if Amazon does not set up shop in NYC, politicians and developers have been preparing for a comparably-sized company to move in for over a decade. The failure of the city to win the 2012 Olympics bid back in 2005 actually turned into a success, allowing apartments to rise in Brooklyn where sports stadiums never did.

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Architecture, infographic, maps, Policy, real estate trends, Top Stories, Urban Design

6sqft has reported previously on the increasing alarm caused by New York City’s future skyline and its growing army of skyscrapers-to-be, with community groups expressing deep concern about the shadows cast across the city’s parks by the tall towers. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has been leading the pack when it comes to thorough analysis of the issue, which they see as having its roots not only in the sheer height of the new buildings but in a lack of regulation of how and where they rise in the larger context of the city. This “accidental skyline” effect reflects the fact that New York City currently has no restrictions on the shadows a tower may cast–the city doesn’t limit height, it only regulates FAR (floor area ratio). At this week’s MAS Summit for New York City, the organization released its third Accidental Skyline report, calling for immediate reform in light of an unprecedented boom in as-of-right–and seemingly out-of-scale–development. MAS president Elizabeth Goldstein said, “New York doesn’t have to settle for an ‘accidental skyline.’”

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Midtown, Policy, Top Stories

666 Fifth Avenue, Kushner Companies, Jared Kushner

A previous rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects

Instead of the 41-story Midtown tower becoming an 80-story office building with hotel rooms and luxury housing, 666 Fifth Avenue will now get a much more simple upgrade. According to Bloomberg, Vornado Realty Trust, the project’s partner alongside Kushner Companies, told brokers the property will remain an office building, with“mundane” renovations planned. As one of the most financially troubled developments for Kushner Cos., the Fifth Ave project has been losing money since its purchase was first coordinated by Jared Kushner, currently a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, in 2007.

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