The inaugural NYC Ferry ride with Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017; Photo © 6sqft
The city agency that operates New York City’s ferry system failed to report nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in expenditures during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, according to a new audit released by City Comptroller Brad Lander on Wednesday. The 50-page audit says the Economic Development Corporation spent $758 million on ferry operations from July 1, 2015 through December 31, 2021, but only reported $534 million. The report also details tens of millions in unnecessary expenses as a result of the agency’s “poor financial management.”
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
The 421-a tax abatement program, which gives real estate developers who construct new residential buildings a property tax exemption in exchange for designating a portion of the homes affordable, will expire on June 15 after state lawmakers last week did not renew it during the final day of this year’s legislative session. Even with it set to lapse, the controversial program will continue to cost the city revenue for decades, according to a new report. According to findings published Monday by the Independent Budget Office of New York City, the tax abatement program will cost the city over $1 billion annually until 2034, with total costs not ceasing until the fiscal year 2056.
Brooklyn Point in Downtown Brooklyn offers 421-a benefits through 2045; Rendering by Williams New York
The controversial 421-a tax abatement program that provides a tax break to developers who set aside affordable housing at new developments should not be replaced when it expires in June, says New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. According to an analysis released Wednesday by Lander’s office, the tax program will cost the city $1.77 billion in forgone tax revenue in 2022, without creating homes that are affordable to most New Yorkers. While Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a replacement plan as part of her budget, the comptroller, along with other elected officials, called the governor’s proposal too “modest” and instead wants deeper structural reform of the property tax system.
Photo by bobistraveling on Flickr
The New York City Council on Tuesday approved the biggest rezoning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration just weeks before his term ends. In a near-unanimous vote, the Council approved plans to upzone 82 blocks of Gowanus, a former industrial hub turned affluent residential neighborhood. As the first rezoning of de Blasio’s administration in a predominantly white and wealthy neighborhood, the decision could pave the way for upzoning in similar communities, including the proposal to rezone Soho and Noho, scheduled for a vote next month.
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When the area surrounding the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site by the EPA in 2010, it seemed all but impossible that the contaminated, warehouse-laden neighborhood could get on par with the rest of Brooklyn. But recent years have brought major cleanup efforts along the 1.8-mile Canal, leading to new additions like a Whole Foods (quite possibly the first sign of gentrification) and subsequent interest from developers in creating higher end housing. This fall, reports DNAinfo, the Department of City Planning will launch a study to explore a rezoning of Gowanus that would allow for more residential developments in what is currently an industrial section.
Locals, however, have similar concerns to those who opposed the recent, controversial East New York rezoning–that it will only incentive developers, causing displacement of longtime residents, and that any affordable housing put forth in the plan would still be out of reach for the lowest income residents. They’ve therefore created their own redevelopment plan called Bridging Gowanus, which, as the Times notes, calls for “greater density and more affordable apartments in return for improvements and guarantees that preserve the precarious soul of the district.”
More details ahead