Housing Starts: Airbnb and Housing | Lenders, City Talk Stuy Town | Residential Construction Lags

August 11th 2014

  1. City Buys Time for Stuy Town The de Blasio administration has bought itself more time to avert what would be major hit to its ambitious affordable housing plan: The loss of 6,000 middle-class apartments at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, a sprawling complex on Manhattan’s east side. Two months ago, CWCapital Asset Management, which represents the senior creditors in control of the property, told the city it would commit at least 60 days to finding a solution to preserve the affordability of those units as it moves toward selling the buildings. Now, the company has agreed to continue the discussions for the foreseeable future, the mayor’s office said. [Capital New York – 08/11/14]
  2. Airbnb’s Threat to Affordable Housing Now, even as Mayor de Blasio makes an admirable effort to bend the trend lines, affordable housing in New York City faces a new threat that’s wrapped in the sheen of tech innovation: Airbnb, the website and app that makes it easier than ever for people to rent out rooms or whole apartments for short periods of time. According to the New York State Attorney Genera’s Office, approximately two-thirds of the 19,522 New York City Airbnb units are being rented out in violation of the law that prohibits apartment rentals lasting fewer than 30 days with the owner not present. If the Attorney General’s numbers are accurate, more than 13,00 units in New York City are being used as illegal hotels where they could be used as housing units. [New York Daily News – 08/09/14]
  3. How A Brooklyn HDFC Co-Op Succeeds in Keeping Apartments Affordable In the early 1980s, the 16-unit co-op at 572 Sterling Place in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn was an abandoned, derelict shell. Catholic Charities and the parish of St. Theresa of Avilahelped secure it a $440,000, 30-year mortgage, and property was incorporated as a co-op under the city’s Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC). Each unit was valued at just $27,500, and shareholders agreed to contribute sweat equity for 10 percent of that sum, including demolition work and installing flooring, trim, and cabinets. It was a building designed to be affordable to low- and middle-income New Yorkers. But now some shareholders, delighted by the low price when they bought, are seeing things differently as they go to sell — warping the very affordability the HDFC program fosters. [Habitat Mag – 07/28/14]
  4. Residential Construction in New York City Lags Residential construction in the city has been slow to rebound after the recession, posing an obstacle to the de Blasio administration’s goal to leverage the real-estate market to build 80,000 apartments for low- and middle-income families. In contrast to other major U.S. cities, the number of units authorized in New York City through building permits remains well below levels before the market crashed in late 2008, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. [Wall Street Journal – 08/11/14]
  5. The Financial District Gains Momentum Loss framed the narrative of the neighborhood not long ago, as Wall Street banks relocated to Midtown, and far more profoundly, when thousands of lives were taken by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. But this waterfront neighborhood at Manhattan’s tip has renewed itself with vigor. By some definitions, the financial district takes up the southern tip of Manhattan south of Chambers Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, including the South Street Seaport and, for the purposes of this story, Battery Park City. But the area does not always give off the vibe of a settled place. [New York Times – 08/10/14]
  6. Albany Doubling Down as Casino Boom Fades New York State is charging headlong into the casino business, with four full-service gambling resorts expected to be approved this fall and opened as early as next year, and talk of a torrent of new revenue, thousands of new jobs and a powerful economic jump-start for long-depressed upstate communities. Supporters of the expansion — most notably Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — hope it will reverse the fortunes of economically stagnating regions like the Catskills, where little has filled the void left by the demise of the borscht belt. But analysts, economists and casino operators warn that the industry is already suffering the effects of fierce competition, if not saturation, even in the Northeast, once a rich, untapped market. Winnings are flat or shrinking in many places. Casinos in Atlantic City are closing; Foxwoods, in Connecticut, is cutting costs. The longstanding image of gambling as a no-doubt winner for state governments has quietly gone the way of a bettor’s bankroll after too many hours at the tables. None of which bodes well for the long-term goals of Mr. Cuomo’s plan. [New York Times – 08/10/14]
  7. Brooklyn Court Facility Could Yield Affordable Housing What seemed like a routine application process for creating a new home for a juvenile court facility in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section took an unexpected turn this weekIt came when Borough President Eric Adams approved the plan but only on the condition that excess development rights above the three-story structure that will be used to house the court facility be used to construct an affordable housing development on the 1.2-acre site. [Crain’s New York Business – 08/08/14]
  8. De Blasio Pushes Wage Law Towards Finish Line A state judge approved a joint motion by the de Blasio administration, the City Council and two labor unions to end a Bloomberg-era lawsuit against the city’s prevailing wage law. The ruling removes perhaps the final legal obstacle to the implementation of the law, which provides increased wages to building service workers in developments that receive at least $1 million in city subsidies or that benefit from significant rent payments by the city. Building service workers union 32BJ and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union were also parties to the motion. [Crain’s New York Business – 08/08/14]
  9. De Blasio to Push for 2016 Democratic National Convention in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to host a two-day fete for Democratic National Committee officials starting Monday, in a bid to convince the party that New York has the transportation infrastructure—and the donors—to pull off its 2016 national convention. The mayor had billed his effort as a play for a first-ever national political convention in Brooklyn, showcasing the borough’s emerging status as a national beacon of diversity, urbanism and cool. But Monday and Tuesday’s events also will feature wining and dining in Manhattan, including a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a barbecue at Gracie Mansion. City officials on Friday released cost estimates for a potential convention: More than $140 million. Most of that will be paid for by private donors, who are expected to give $80 million to $100 million. City officials expect about $50 million in reimbursements from the federal government. City taxpayers would be on the hook for about $10 million, officials said, based on the bill from the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan. It would be the seventh national convention held by the nation’s two major parties in New York. [Wall Street Journal – 08/11/14]
  10. Can Churches Fund Affordable Housing Despite the gleam and glitter New York City presents to the world, on the ground, in its long and stubborn shadows of poverty, is a deepening affordable housing crisis gripping millions of people who struggle to live here. This dilemma is one of the most profound and pressing concerns facing the city’s political, civic and business leaders. Even well-intentioned policymakers struggle with finding viable solutions to solve the affordable housing crisis. At issue, is the question of how to expand the pool of affordable housing options for more than half of the city’s residents, especially at a time of dwindling federal support, Congressional political will and local resources. There is one approach, however, that is showing promising results: the participation of alternative financing sources, particularly from religious institutions and other non-profits. [City Limits – 08/08/14]
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