Mayor Bill de Blasio

City Living, Policy

Photo via Dan Nguyen/Flickr

In the “it’s about time” department, the New York Post reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a tax that would discourage retail landlords from letting their properties sit vacant, depriving potential local businesses of opportunity while giving the middle finger to neighborhood morale. Addressing the rising number of vacant storefronts in just about every neighborhood in the city, the mayor said Friday on WNYC that he would like to see a penalty in place for landlords who leave storefronts sitting unoccupied, presumably waiting for big-ticket tenants who have yet to materialize.

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affordable housing, maps

In addition to upping the number of affordable housing units created or preserved in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for greater transparency of his ambitious plan to bring 300,000 affordable units to the city by 2026. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) launched an interactive map on Monday that displays all of the units, buildings, and projects that count towards the mayor’s Housing New York 2.0 plan (h/t Curbed NY). The counted units, with data starting with units from January 1, 2014 on and will be updated quarterly, are shown by the number of units and occupancy size.

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New Developments, Policy, Union Square

124 East 14th Street, union square, tech hub, GVHPS, preservationists

Rendering via NYCEDC

In what may be shaping up to be one of New York City’s biggest preservation battles of the coming year, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s application Monday for a rezoning in order to move forward with a proposed tech hub at 124 East 14th Street in Union Square led neighborhood preservation and affordable housing groups to escalate cries of protest. Community organizations, including the Cooper Square Committee and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), restated the urgent need for assurance that rezoning would come with protections for the adjacent residential neighborhood. Preservationists fear the creation of a new “Silicon Alley” near Union Square will bring rent hikes and more condo and office towers. The proposed tech center, which the mayor hopes will nurture budding entrepreneurs in the technology field and bring over 600 jobs to New Yorkers, is planned at the site of a P.C. Richard & Son store, in an area already filled with new developments with more on the way.

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City Living, Policy

Jitterbug dancers via Wikipedia

Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed legislation that repealed the city’s 91-year-old Cabaret Law, making it legal to bust a move without getting busted in the city’s drinking and gathering establishments. Though it’s somewhat of a formality that’s arguably trivial, the law’s official demise represents an epic victory for decades of nightlife denizens. 6sqft previously reported on a petition started by the Dance Liberation Network and the NYC Artist Coalition calling for to repeal the onerous law with racist roots on the grounds that the law is out of place in a cultural Mecca like New York City.

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affordable housing, Policy

bill de blasio, housing new york 2.0, affordable housing

Image: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Calling it “Housing New York 2.0,” Mayor Bill de Blasio has just released a new road map to his goal of building and preserving 300,000 affordable New York City homes–100,000 more than his previous pledge. The plan accelerates and expands the production of new housing, fights tenant displacement, creates more housing for seniors and working families and provides new home ownership tools. Among the more technologically advanced strategies outlined are plans to use innovative smaller homes on vacant lots that are too small for traditional housing and the expansion of modular buildings and micro-units.

Mitchell-Lama, vacant lots, modular building and micro-units, this way

affordable housing, Policy

mayor bill de blasio, affordable housing, mitchell-lama

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city will invest $250 million to protect 15,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments from going to market rate. The investment is part of the city’s initiative to create or preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026. The new program will address over 15,000 Mitchell-Lama homes where affordability is at risk over the next eight years.

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Policy

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces findings on tenant representation last August. Image: nyc.gov

6sqft reported last year on a new bill that would guarantee a lawyer for all low-income residents facing eviction. On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed that bill into law, guaranteeing legal representation for low-income residents who face eviction (h/t Citylab). The legislation is the nation’s first that provides right to counsel in housing matters. The new law is the result of efforts of activists and organizers that began in 2014.

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Policy, Transportation

NYC subway, subway platform

After months of what has seemed like rapidly accelerating deterioration, scary incidents, complaints and finger-pointing, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority revealed on Tuesday an $800 million emergency rescue plan for the city’s beleaguered subway system, the New York Times reports. Some key solutions identified for the initial phase of the plan, called “MTA Moving Forward,” included taking out seats on some cars–Boston’s transit system has done this in some cases to make room for more commuters. When asked when riders would begin to see the benefits of the plan, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said that key parts of the plan’s initial phase would be implemented “relatively quickly.”

A hefty tab and a bitter feud

City Living, Transportation, Urban Design

east river greenway

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city would develop the gap in the Manhattan waterfront greenway that runs between 41st and 61st Streets along the East River. The city has pledged to spend $100 million on closing the largest unfinished space in the 32-mile loop, including a new esplanade, with an additional $5 million to be spent on filling smaller gaps in East Harlem and Inwood. “The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk and play along the water,” said the mayor in a statement. “This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality.”

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Transportation

Queensboro Bridge, 59th street bridge, new york bridges

In what will be the largest capital investment in the East River bridges since 2010, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2017 Capital Commitment Plan has allocated $392 million for the project, reports DNAInfo. The Queensboro Bridge–the busiest of the East River crossings–will get $110 million, the biggest chunk of the project’s funding according to a report from the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO). The bridge received only a “fair” grade in a recent DOT rating system (the Brooklyn Bridge got the lowest rating). The repairs will happen over the next three years.

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