Mayor De Blasio

November 7, 2016

City says under-construction 421-a buildings must include housing for the homeless

As 6sqft reported last week, Governor Cuomo, developers, and unions have been engaging in closed-door talks to bring forth his revision of the city's 421-a program that includes wage subsidies and an extension of the previous 25-year tax break up to 45 years. Glaringly (but not surprisingly) absent from the negotiations is Mayor de Blasio, but he's now taking matters into his own hands, at least when it comes to those under-construction buildings that got in to the program before it expired in January. According to the Times, the de Blasio administration introduced a new policy that says these projects must include housing for some of the 60,000 New Yorkers currently living in homeless shelters, but developers, particularly Extell's Gary Barnett, are not happy about the changes.
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September 23, 2016

Construction has officially begun for citywide ferry system; first boats to arrive in 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Citywide Ferry operator Hornblower have announced that construction has officially begun on 19 vessels that will kick off New York City's first citywide ferry system, with vessels sporting the latest in 21st century maritime technology. The mayor said in a statement, “We are moving full steam ahead and bringing modern ferry boats, outfitted with the latest technology and safety features, to our waterways. This new fleet will help us connect commuters and visitors alike to neighborhoods throughout the city.”
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July 26, 2016

De Blasio Ahead of Schedule on Ambitious Affordable Housing Plan

It looks like it's been another successful year for Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing goals. When he took office in 2014, he pledged to build or preserve 200,000 such units over 10 years. In a January 2015 speech, he announced that during his first year, the city exceeded its goal by 1,300 apartments, building or preserving a total of 17,300 units. Now, an announcement on Monday from his administration says that the city is ahead of schedule with its goals thus far, financing the creation or preservation of nearly 53,000 affordable apartments. As reported in the Times, "just in the fiscal year ending June 30, more affordable housing units — 23,284 — had been built or preserved than at any time since 1989." In a statement the Mayor said, "This engine is in full gear, financing enough affordable homes for 130,000 people in just two and a half years."
More details this way
July 12, 2016

Is the Mayor’s Plan To Stop Dumping Garbage by 2030 Possible–or Just Trash Talk?

New Yorkers make a lot of garbage. We create more than 44 million pounds of residential and commercial waste every day–about a ton per person annually. Of that, only a third is recycled, composted or burned to generate energy. The rest is dumped in landfills. A recent Crain's article explains how Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to make a serious dent in all that dumping. He has pledged that by 2030, the city would be sending “zero waste” to landfills: “This is the way of the future if we’re going to save our Earth.” But like most things, the success of any plans to reduce the rubbish pile hinges on two things: management, and incentive (which, for most New Yorkers, means money).
What's the plan to get to zero waste
June 28, 2016

New Law Aims to Protect Small Businesses From Landlord Harassment

It seems that every day we're hearing of small businesses being forced to move or shut down altogether due to rising rents in just about every corner of the city. Even icons like St. Mark's Bookshop and Other Music have packed it in after years at their well-loved locations. And new businesses have an even tougher road ahead, trying to gain a foothold in changing neighborhoods where landlords hope change brings high-paying tenants. There are a number of grassroots efforts in the works to help businesses gain and maintain a foothold when faced with skyrocketing rents and challenging regulatory hurdles–and more help may be on the way. DNAInfo reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign legislation Tuesday that prevents harassment of commercial tenants by greedy landlords. Advocates hope the new law will make it less difficult for small businesses to thrive and grow.
Find out how the new law protects small business tenants
April 14, 2016

Mayor’s Affordable Housing Push Brings Tough Questions on Racial Integration

Affordability vs. racial inclusion may sound like an odd battle to be having, yet it's one that often simmers below the surface in discussions of neighborhood change. The words "Nearly 50 years after the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act..." are, of course, no small part of the reason. And in a city known for its diversity–one that often feels more racially integrated than it is–the question of how housing policy might affect racial makeup tends to be carefully sidestepped, but the New York Times opens that worm-can in a subsection called "Race/Related."
Is there a tradeoff between integration and affordability?
August 24, 2015

Should Poor Neighborhoods Stay Poor to Avoid Gentrification? Mayor De Blasio Speaks Out

Recently on the Brian Lehrer radio show on WNYC, Mayor De Blasio addressed questions about the effects inclusionary development–i.e. giving developers the green light to build market rate housing if they set aside 25-30 percent of the units for low- and middle-income residents–has on the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods. A growing concern among housing activists is that reliance on this kind of inclusionary zoning leads to gentrification that pushes out the lower income residents due to the 70-75 percent of market rate units bringing new, wealthy residents and new businesses that will cater to them.
Hear what the mayor has to say
July 8, 2015

Lawsuit Against City Wants to End Affordable Housing Allotments to Certain Communities

Currently, the city allots half of its new affordable housing stock to residents of the specific community district where the project is being built and who meet the income requirements. But the Anti-Discrimination Center says this "community preference" policy violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act, "which prohibits discrimination in housing sales, rentals and financing based on race or national origin," according to an article today in the Wall Street Journal. The New York-based group filed a suit against the city on these grounds, claiming that it adds to existing segregation patterns. If they are successful, the verdict would undoubtedly impact Mayor de Blasio's plan of adding 80,000 new affordable housing units in the next ten years.
More details ahead
May 19, 2015

Mayor’s Plan to Revamp the City’s Public Housing Addresses Disrepair and Need for Revenue

Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce today the rollout of a ten-year plan to improve the city's debt-and-disrepair-riddled public housing. According to the New York Times, plan items include–perhaps most notably–the leasing of land within a number of housing complexes to developers; other items include the transference of some New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) employees (and the $90 million a year it costs the agency to pay them) to other city agencies and increased rents as well as higher parking fees for residents.
Find out how the mayor plans to shore up the city's public housing
May 7, 2015

To Increase Affordability, Mayor de Blasio Wants to End 421-a for Condos and Up the Mansion Tax

From the onset, Mayor de Blasio has been extremely vocal about his plan to add 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, 80,000 of which will be new construction. Though many feel this is an arbitrary number, backed up by no data as to where the units will be, the Mayor seems committed to reforming current policies to reach his goal. And after months of speculation, he has revealed his planned changes to the city's 421-a tax incentive program, which is set to expire in June. According to the Times, under his proposal, the controversial tax would no longer apply to condo projects (to understand the logic behind this decision just look at the $100 million sale at One57 that received the tax abatement). But it would apply to new rental projects, which would have to have apartments for poor and working-class residents make up 20 to 30 percent of the building in order to qualify for city tax breaks. It would also extend the abatement from 25 years to 35 years. Another part of the overhaul is to eliminate so-called poor doors. De Blasio also wants to up the city's mansion tax. Currently, home sales over $1 million are subject to a 1 percent tax, but de Blasio proposes adding an additional 1 percent tax for sales over $1.75 million, as well as a third 1.5 percent tax for sales over $5 million. He estimates this will bring in an extra $200 million a year in tax revenue, money that would be allocated to affordable housing programs.
More details ahead
March 16, 2015

Robert Durst Arrested for Murder; Try the Mayor de Blasio Lateness Excuse Generator

Go inside the studios of five Brooklyn artists. [BK Mag] On the final episode last night of “The Jinx,” HBO’s Robert Durst crime documentary, the real estate scion implicated himself in the murders of three people and was arrested Saturday in New Orleans. [Forbes] Space-saving takeaways from a 48-square-foot kitchen. [Curbed] Are you chronically late? Try the Mayor […]

October 17, 2014

Mayor De Blasio Finds a Tenant for His Park Slope Home

All the buzz surrounding Mayor De Blasio's home has yielded some great results for NYC's First Family. Bill and his wife Chirlane McCray have rented their house to the first folks who came to check out the property located at 442 11th Street. De Blasio listed the Park Slope home less than two weeks ago through Brooklyn Properties for $4,975 a month. Let's take a look inside...
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June 18, 2014

Caveat to DeBlasio’s Grand Central Terminal Area Rezoning Would Require Special Permit for New Hotels

The impetus behind the rezoning plan allowing taller towers in the blocks surrounding Grand Central Terminal - specifically the five blocks of Vanderbilt Avenue from East 42nd Street to East 47th Street - is to keep New York competitive with office development in other major cities like London and Shanghai. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the hotel-workers union, which had a key role in the demise of a similar proposal under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has flexed its muscles once again, seeking a concession that would require any new hotels to receive a special permit from the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
More details on the rezoning here
June 4, 2014

A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On: Is the City’s Development Leading to Its Destruction?

I sat under a canopy of blue sky on the elevated platform of the Sutter Avenue stop in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I like elevated subway stations because they’re, you know, elevated as opposed to that subterranean scene that transpires underground. What I wasn’t liking so much that particular day, high above the busy avenue, was the way the platform slightly vibrated with each passing vehicle below. It was somewhat unsettling. And then the ground really started to shake, so much so that I looked to the distance to see if Godzilla bore down on Brooklyn, smashing cars and pounding through buildings, breathing fire and squawking that awful squawk. But it was only the 3 Train rattling in from East New York. The platform continued to shake more and more until the train, thankfully, came to a stop. I got on board, but I wasn’t all that happy about it. And then I started to think about my dog.
Andrew, on cue from his dog, questions the physical stability of NYC