Policy

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affordable housing, Features, Policy, renting 101, stuff you should know

Area median income: What it means and how it’s calculated

By Cait Etherington, Tue, February 26, 2019

Photo via Flickr cc 

If you’ve ever applied for affordable housing in New York City, you’ll know that it is all about the area median income, or the AMI. If you make too little or too much, you won’t qualify at all for affordable housing. Even if you do qualify, however, your AMI will impact your likelihood of actually acquiring a unit since most buildings have more units available in some AMI bands than others. For most New Yorkers, this is one of the most confusing aspects of affordable housing, so we’ve broken it down, from how AMI is calculated and what the current NYC parameters are to the many controversies surrounding the guidelines.

Everything you need to know

Policy, real estate trends

Pied-à-terre tax backed by NYC Council members

By Devin Gannon, Tue, February 26, 2019

220 Central Park SOuth, Vornado, Robert A.M., Stern

Via Vornado Realty Trust and Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Update 2/26/19: Council Members Mark Levine and Margaret Chin announced on Monday that they plan on introducing a resolution in support of the pied-à-terre tax, as amNY reported. The tax would be modeled after the measure sponsored by State Sen. Brad Hoylman and apply an annual surcharge on non-primary homes worth more than $5 million.

Last month, billionaire Ken Griffin closed on a penthouse at 220 Central Park South for over $239 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in the United States. Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, said he will not use the pricey pad as a primary residence, but instead as “a place to stay when he’s in town.” The staggering sale has renewed support from public officials for a pied-à-terre tax, which would place a yearly surcharge on homes worth $5 million and up, and apply to non-primary residences, as reported by the New York Times.

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Policy, Transportation

L train, nyc subway, mta

The MTA said in a press release that 100 percent of riders during high ridership hours will have full service under the revised approach to L train repairs. Also, added transit options such as more G, 7 and M service, new Williamsburg Link buses and free transfers will benefit evening and weekend riders. Starting in March, the MTA will be holding open houses with the community to discuss the plan.

Open house dates and more info this way

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy, Union Square

Photo via Wiki Commons

In a heated second hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the owner of the iconic Strand Bookstore, Nancy Bass Wyden, continued her fight to keep the famed bookseller’s building from being designated a city landmark along with seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets. Instead, Wyden is offering to put in place a historic preservation easement on the storefront, Gothamist reports. The easement would be the result of an agreement between the property’s owner and a nonprofit group that would serve as a steward for the building’s preservation, ensuring that, in this case the building’s facade, would be properly preserved. At a previous LPC hearing The Strand’s owner voiced strong concerns that a historic designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future.

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Long Island City, Policy

Amazon will not move to Long Island City

By Devin Gannon, Thu, February 14, 2019

Via CityRealty

Amazon said on Thursday it will no longer build a new headquarters in Long Island City, the New York Times reported. The online retail giant selected the Queens neighborhood last year for its “HQ2” campus following a 14-month nationwide contest. Amazon had promised to bring 25,000 jobs to New York City in exchange for nearly $3 billion in state and city incentives. In a statement, the company said it does not plan to look for another location at this time.

Details here

Policy

Via CityRealty

A package of legislation being introduced in the City Council on Wednesday aims to make renting in New York City more affordable. The bills, drafted by Council Members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera, would limit broker fees and security deposits each to one month’s rent, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The bills come after a report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer released last summer found that New Yorkers paid over $507 million in security deposits in 2016.

Get the details

Long Island City, Policy

amazon, long island city, amazon nyc

Rendering via NYCEDC

News broke last week that Amazon was reconsidering its move to New York City after facing opposition from residents and local officials. But a new poll released on Tuesday shows a majority of New York voters actually support the deal for the tech company to open its headquarters in Queens. According to the Siena College Research Institute, 56 percent of voters in the state back the project, while 36 percent disapprove. City residents support the Amazon deal even more, with 58 percent approving, according to the poll.

Details here

Featured Story

Features, Long Island City, Policy, real estate trends

Learning from Seattle: How Amazon could shape NYC real estate

By Cait Etherington, Mon, February 11, 2019

Via CityRealty

Since Amazon announced it had selected Long Island City for its new headquarters last fall, a lot of people have wondered what will happen to the neighborhood and its surrounding communities. While LIC has already undergone a series of radical changes of the past two decades—first there was an influx of artists seeking larger live-work spaces and later a wave of condo developments—the arrival of Amazon promises to have an even deeper impact on LIC.

And the potential negative effect of the tech giant moving into town has not gone unnoticed by public officials and locals, who have led a strong opposition campaign. It was reported on Friday that Amazon was reconsidering its plan to move to the neighborhood after facing an intense backlash from those who fear increased rents and even more congestion. But with no plan to officially abandon Queens, it’s important to understand what could happen if Amazon does put down roots in LIC by first looking at how the company has already changed Seattle, where it first set up shop back in 1994.

More on the effect

Long Island City, Policy

Amazon is rethinking its move to Long Island City

By Devin Gannon, Fri, February 8, 2019

Via Wikimedia

After facing months of intense backlash from residents and local officials, Amazon is rethinking its plan to open a massive complex in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Sources told the newspaper, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that executives at the tech company have had discussions to reassess the plan to open its “HQ2” in New York City. “The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” a source told the Post.

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affordable housing, New Jersey, Policy

homeless nyc, nyc homeless shelters

Photo via Wikimedia

In a statement this week, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka asked that New York City’s Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) Program providing homeless shelter residents with free rent for a year if they are willing to leave NYC be re-evaluated due to “serious defects.” A recent investigation by WNYC confirmed that some families ended up in “illegal and uninhabitable” apartments in Newark. As CBS New York reports, Baraka cited the fact that participants were coming to Newark under the program–which pays landlords a year’s worth of rent upfront–and ending up in the aforementioned conditions, then being abandoned to become homeless again when the year was up.

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