The city’s 421a program, which provides tax breaks of up to 25 years to new residential buildings that reserve at least 20 percent of units as affordable housing, expired in January, leaving Mayor de Blasio concerned for his push to add/preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. According to a REBNY report last year, 421-a is responsible for 5,484 affordable apartments and 13,801 market-rate units in the pipeline, and if it’s not renewed some of them could end up as high-end luxury condos or lost forever as housing for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. Critics of the program, however, feel that it actually destroys affordable housing by virtue of itself, giving unfair tax breaks to the wealthiest developers, and the Mayor doesn’t disagree.
The Real Deal reports today that de Blasio “implored the state’s affordable housing developers to pressure Albany to pass a reformed 421a program before the legislative session comes to a close next month.” He said, “When it comes to the 421a program, I’ve said many times, the way it was configured in past years didn’t make sense anymore. It wasn’t fair to the taxpayers. It wasn’t helping us create the affordable housing we needed. It focused too much on luxury buildings.” But considering his “icy relationship” with Governor Cuomo, it’s definitely a toss up.
Lead image via Jason Farrar