Dear Developers: City Proposes Swapping Air Rights for Permanent Affordable Housing

November 18, 2014

In the ongoing battle to provide more affordable housing to New Yorkers, the city has drawn up a new proposal that might just get developers clamoring to build more below-market units. The Economic Development Corporation has issued a request for proposals from developers who would, in exchange for no-cost air rights, provide a permanently affordable housing program that maximizes the number of units available and their affordability.

Three parcels of land with the air rights up for grabs are located under the Queensboro Bridge. The sites themselves can’t be developed due to bridge on- and off-ramps, but their development potential can be transferred to another site within the same block and zoning district.

long island city new developementsMap: Thousands of new apartments coming to Queens Plaza and Court Square. Via LIC partnership

Though not Manhattan or Brooklyn, the Long Island City site could prove to be an excellent testing ground for future proposals like it in hotter-to-trot areas in the city, as well as other up-and-coming neighborhoods seeing increasing growth and rising prices that could one day push out those who can’t keep up. Long Island City itself is quickly transforming with countless new buildings on the rise paired with increased interest from New York inhabitants (and developers) looking for sufficient space to stretch out in well-connected nabes.

Proposals for the air rights must include units with a mix of incomes that do not exceed 165 percent of area median income. There is no minimum percentage of affordable housing required of a proposal and developers can even submit to claim the development rights of the three parcels in whole or in part. Interested parties have until December 22, 2014 to submit their proposed development schemes to the city.

[Via NYO]

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