According to a press release put out today, an affordable housing coalition of ten groups has proposed a five-year, $4 billion capital plan to address the housing crisis in New York. As Governor Cuomo and the state legislature begin the 2016 legislative session, the group hopes that the plan, proposed for 2017-2021, can combat the fact that “more than half of statewide renters pay over 30 percent of income on housing costs, and more than 80,000 people are homeless across the state.” Specific to the city, the plan wants to close the NYCHA funding gap and increase senior housing.
“Elite Emissions: How the Homes of the Wealthiest New Yorkers Help Drive Climate Change” is a new report from Climate Works for All, a project of advocacy group ALIGN. As 6sqft has previously reported, New York City is expected to be hotter, rainier, and severely underwater in the future, and this new study points to luxury buildings as one of the main culprits.
As first explained by Curbed, “The group looked at the Forbes Billionaire List, then Business Insider’s 20 Most Expensive Buildings in New York City list, and cross-referenced this information with the city’s Energy Benchmarking data.” They then drew up a list of the top ten offenders, all of which received an F for energy efficiency. Leading the pack is 838 Fifth Avenue, followed by 101 Warren Street, Trump Park Avenue, and Trump Tower, respectively.
Courtesy of James and Karla Murray authors/photographers of “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York“
“The evidence of disease is everywhere,” claims Jeremiah Moss. No, he’s not talking about New Yorkers’ health; this is something he believes is even more merciless: hyper-gentrification. Moss, the pseudonymic chief editor behind the “bitterly nostalgic” blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and the founder of the anti-gentrification movement #SaveNYC, and James and Karla Murray, authors and photographers of “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” submitted a short film to last month’s Municipal Arts Society Summit 2015. The ten-minute clip opens with a sinister assertion that “the soul of New York is dying,” and plays as a visual obituary of the small businesses we have lost over the past two decades.
Shortly after Jeremiah’s melancholic melodrama, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen was asked whether New York should adopt commercial rent control policies. Unconvinced this is an applicable solution, she instead emphasized that a “healthy and vibrant mix of businesses” is important and “bad” businesses must be allowed to fail. Nor is Glen convinced of the plight of the mom and pop, calling it a Manhattan-centric argument. While she acknowledges certain neighborhoods are changing rapidly, she says independent businesses are thriving in other boroughs.
There’s a lot to complain about in New York, but few of us have the opportunity to make our voices heard. As such, the New York City Council has created the Idea Collection Map, a handy map tool that allows you to suggest improvements you’d like to see in your neighborhood, and anywhere else, right from your computer screen.
After months of squabbling over who’s responsible for funding repairs and expansions of NYC’s transit system, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio reached an agreement on Saturday to keep the MTA’s $26.1 billion, five-year capital plan on track. The state will put in $8.3 billion and the city $2.5 billion (much more than de Blasio’s original $657 million planned contribution). However, Cuomo was clear that their commitment won’t come from increasing taxes and that he’s confident the money can be found in the existing state budget. The city, too, said it would not raise taxes, but rather take $1.9 billion from city funds and the rest from sources that could include development rights or rezoning. The agreement still leaves the MTA $700 million short of its total, but the agency hopes to close the gap by finding “further efficiencies.”
Image © Daniel Fleming
Eminent domain, defined as “the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use,” is typically enacted to build projects such as bridges, highways, or schools. But the De Blasio administration plans to use it to erect an amusement park. According to the Post, the city is “frustrated by stubborn Coney Island landowners” and “plans to seize property under the city’s rarely used power of eminent domain in order to spur long-stalled economic development in the People’s Playground.” The land in question is three vacant beachfront sites and two smaller adjacent sites on West 12th and West 23rd Streets that total 75,000 square feet, largely comprised of the 60,000-square-foot site where the original Thunderbolt once stood (immortalized in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”). Under the plan, the Parks Department will oversee new amusements and amenities, details of which haven’t been shared.
Image via Wiki Commons
Today, proponents of building more supportive housing will meet with the de Blasio administration to convince them that New York is in dire need of 35,000 new housing units statewide—and both the state and city should fund it. Currently, there are over 80,000 individuals without homes, including a number here in the city who are employed but still have salaries too small to afford NYC’s skyrocketing rents. While there has been plenty of talk about how the issue needs remedying, action has yet to be taken. In an op-ed written this morning for Crain’s, Enterprise Community Partners‘ Judi Kende sounds off on why, though we may think that building all these homes is way too expensive, ignoring the problem will cost us more financially in the long run.
Historic brownstones in Brooklyn Heights via City Realty
The war wages on between the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and citywide preservationists. Many thought the contention between the groups over whether or not historic districts lessen affordable housing was a personal sentiment of former REBNY president Steven Spinola. But his successor John Banks has released a new report that claims landmarking doesn’t protect affordable housing.
The report looks at the number of rent-stabilized units in landmarked and non-landmarked districts between 2007 and 2014, finding that “citywide, landmarked properties lost rent stabilized units (-22.5%) at a much higher rate (-5.1%) than non-landmarked properties.” Of course preservationists quickly fired back. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) calls the study “bogus” and says it does nothing to address how many units would have been lost had these areas not been landmarked.
Map courtesy of the Times Square Alliance
It looks like Mayor de Blasio’s wish of coralling the costumed characters and topless performers in Times Square may be coming true. The Daily News reports that the Times Square Alliance has endorsed the “Times Square Commons” plan, which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmen Daniel Garodnick and Corey Johnson publicized in an op-ed in the paper yesterday.
The proposal would rezone Times Square’s pedestrian plaza so that instead of being mapped as a street it would become a special district called Times Square Commons. This area would be divided into three zones: general civic zones, which would feature tables and chairs and arts events; pedestrian traffic flow zones, areas to walk with no physical obstructions; and the aforementioned designated activity zones, small slivers of space that “would allow any activity involving the immediate exchange of money for goods, services or entertainment.”
Early last month, we reported that building permits were soaring to levels not seen since the 1960s. Now Crain’s tells us that the trend has taken a sharp decline with permits plunging a whopping 90 percent from June. The numbers, which were pulled from the latest stats released by the U.S. Census Bureau, point to changes in the very generous tax breaks provided by the 421-a tax abatement program as the culprit.