Housing Starts:Rent Stabilization Law Battle I No Hearing for High Line Dispute I NYC Pieds-aTerre

January 13th 2015

Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

  1. Battle Looms Over NYC Rent Stabilization Law Lawmakers, housing advocates and tenants say they are gearing up for a major battle over the future of the nearly 1 million rent stabilized city apartments. Although the Urstadt Law of 1971 regulating the units won’t expire until June, experts say the question of how to improve it for today’s tenants and landlords is going to be the biggest legislative debate of the year. ‘There will be a more public battle than in the past,’ said Harold Shultz, a consultant at Citizens Housing and Planning Council.The city has lost roughly 230,000 rent controlled and stabilized apartments since the 1980s. [amNewYork – 01/11/15]
  2. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Dispute Over High Line Park The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from New York property owners who say the federal government should compensate them for land converted to Manhattan’s High Line Park. The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said owners of land around the unused freight rail line gave up their right to sue when they signed a deal with New York City officials to develop the park. The property owners claimed the federal government was not a party to their agreement with the city. They’re seeking compensation for giving up development rights to valuable land surrounding the 1 1/2 mile long park on the city’s West Side. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/12/15]
  3. Nearly One-Quarter of NYC Apartments are Non-Primary Homes Roughly 24 percent of all New York City apartments are either investment properties rented to tenants or pieds-à-terre, according to data from the city’s Independent Budget Office. The agency’s findings do not include residential properties that receive a 421a tax exemption, the New York Times reported, which means the number of non-primary homes could be even greater. The percentage is slightly higher in Manhattan, where 29 percent of homes are not primary. [The Real Deal – 01/09/15]
  4. East Harlem Housing Complex Will Remain Affordable for Residents Tasha Williams has heard horror stories about people who were forced out of their homes, unable to pay the rising rent as gentrification spread through upper Manhattan.The 37-year-old mother of three has worried about where she’d go, should she be faced with an unaffordable increase. ’I love this building, and I wouldn’t want to leave,’ said the hospital worker, who has lived in Harlem Canaan House for 22 years. ‘I live paycheck to paycheck as it is.’Williams and hundreds of other tenants won’t have to worry, now that the nonprofit that runs their building secured a $40 million package to keep it affordable for 30 more years. [NY Daily News – 01/11/15]
  5. In Resort Towns, Working Class Squeezed Out as Rich Move In Resort towns like Aspen dramatically demonstrate an unnerving trend: Across the country, the rich are getting richer while the rest of the country is essentially treading water. From 2009 to 2012, inflation-adjusted income for the wealthiest 1 percent of U.S. households surged 31 percent, according to economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley. For everyone else, income inched up just 0.4 percent. In Aspen, the division is especially stark because it goes beyond mere money. The wealth gap is also a geographic divide. [The New York Times – 01/12/15]
  6. Seattle Firms Export Expertise On Senior Housing to China In a senior-living facility in south Shanghai, a volunteer leads a dozen people in singing and moving their bodies to the rhythms of a song. It’s not an unusual activity for a senior-care center in the United States. But such specialized housing for the elderly is not widespread in China. And even more unusual, it’s run by a Seattle-based company. [The Seattle Times – 01/10/15]
  7. Controversial Housing-Complex Plan Goes to a Vote An Indian cultural group’s controversial plan to build a senior-housing complex on former state property in Queens faces a key vote as early as Tuesday. But allowing the project proposed by the nonprofit Indian Cultural & Community Center — which sparked two state probes — to go forward would be a mistake, according to one opponent. It would be a travesty of justice if this applicant is allowed to do anything other than the one-story community center which was the intended purpose of them getting this land,” state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) said at a hearing. [NY Post – 01/11/15]
  8. Locals Raise Stink Over Bensonhurst Waste Plant Just three days before Christmas, 50 people put aside their final holiday preparations to pack themselves into a political club in Bensonhurst—and with good reason. Hours earlier, a city crew had begun construction of a long-disputed marine waste-transfer station on the neighborhood’s waterfront in Gravesend Bay, and the local elected officials stood aghast. ‘It’s a disgrace, it’s irresponsible and it’s reckless,’ said veteran state Assemblyman William Colton at the hastily called meeting. ‘At this point, the city is going to be responsible for every piece of environmental damage done.’ Mr. Colton told the crowd he had just visited the site with City Councilman Mark Treyger and said they had found a mound of toxic debris. The assemblyman also noted that the city had begun construction even before an appeal of his lawsuit to block the station had been decided by the courts. [Crain’s NY Business – 01/12/15]
  9. Frederick Douglass Tenants Sue NYCHA Over Rats, Mold, and Leaks Tenants at the Frederick Douglass Houses filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing the city of creating “deplorable conditions” that include rat and bedbug infestations, collapsing walls and ceilings, a lack of working toilets and sinks, broken radiators and rampant mold. The 16 residents of the public housing complex, which sits between West 100th and 104th streets and Amsterdam and Manhattan avenues, say the problems have persisted for years and repeated appeals to building managers have led nowhere. [DNAinfo – 01/09/15]
  10. City Pulls Redevelopment Project for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal The city withdrew its application for a massive project at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal after a local councilman did not sign off on the plan, officials said. The Economic Development Corporation had planned a $115 million reactivation in maritime services at the terminal, including $20 million to extend rail infrastructure to it, according to its website. [DNAinfo – 01/08/15]
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