A year after the city’s 421-a tax exemption program expired, a new version of the affordable housing incentive is officially moving forward. In August, Governor Cuomo released a new version of the plan that which include wage subsidies for construction workers and extended terms for the tax breaks, and after the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) reached an agreement in November to move ahead with this version, the Governor’s office now reports that they’ll be advancing new legislation to move ahead the program that’s now been re-named “Affordable New York.” Cuomo says this will create 2,500 new affordable housing units per year.
Under Affordable New York, rental buildings with 300 or more apartments–in Manhattan south of 96th Street and in Brooklyn and Queens’ Community Boards 1 and 2 one mile from the East River waterfront–that reserve at least 20 percent of units as affordable for 40 years will be eligible for tax incentives for 35 years, up from 421-a’s 35-year requirement and 25-year tax break. Construction workers on those projects in Manhattan must receive an average rate of $60 per hour, while those in Brooklyn and Queens $45. Other provisions of the agreement are:
- Expand housing opportunities for low-income individuals by lowering income eligibility requirements
- Ensure enforcement and compliance of the wage and benefits requirements by requiring developers to hire independent monitors to audit payroll reports and create penalties for developers who do fail to meet the requirements.
- Allow projects that began construction after December 31, 2015 and on or before June 15, 2020 to qualify for the program if the completion date is on or before June 15, 2026.
In a statement Governor Cuomo said, “This agreement will help fulfill the real need for more affordable housing in New York City while recognizing the work of the employees who build them. [It] will expand housing opportunities for low-income individuals by lowering income eligibility requirements, and extend affordability for projects created with 421-a for an additional five years. This is a major step forward in our efforts to provide affordable housing in New York City and ensuring benefits and fair wages are paid to hardworking men and women. I’m urging the Legislature to pass the Affordable New York bill and release the $2 billion housing fund.”
The bill was sent to the legislature on Sunday. Cuomo hopes this will also incentivize Senate Republicans to release a $2 billion housing fund to create supportive affordable housing.
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- All 421-a coverage
Lead image via Jason Farrar