Housing Starts: Promises, Poverty in the Bronx I Suit-Proofing Housing Plan I Long Island City Units

February 3rd 2015

A business incubator in Hunts Point (Photo credit: Tina Fineberg/New York Times)

  1. More Than $55B Worth of NYC Properties Sold All told, nearly 5,200 properties traded hands at at total value of $55.8 billion, according to the report, which also noted a 20% citywide jump in the average price per square foot of property. The report noted that soaring retail rents continued to drive up the pricing for many properties. Meanwhile, strong demand for building sites pushed their prices to records. Markets such as Brooklyn and upper Manhattan saw dollar volume and the number of transactions beat records set at the peak of the last real estate cycle in 2007. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/30/15]
  2. Let Them Bake Baguettes: Programs and Promises Haven’t Banished Poverty in a Bronx Neighborhood In TriBeCa and Battery Park, which turn out to be the best places to be a child, the teenage birth rate is zero. In Hunts Point, it is 41.3 births per 1,000 teenage girls, one of the highest in the city. What the data indicate is that things are worsening in Hunts Point, compared with the rest of the city. Gentrification fantasies have long attached to Hunts Point and the rest of the South Bronx but never really materialized. Although the unemployment rate in the area decreased significantly from 2000 to 2012, it remained high at 16 percent. In the Hunts Point, Melrose, Mott Haven and Longwood sections, poverty stands at 46 percent, more than twice the citywide rate, according to data from New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. [New York Times – 01/30/15]
  3. City Analyzing 421a Plan While Advocates Call for End A top housing official for the de Blasio administration declined to say on Thursday whether the city’s 421a affordable housing program should be extended in its current form. At an oversight hearing held by the City Council’s housing and budget committee, New York City Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Vicki Been would only say that the administration is analyzing the program including looking for ways to make it more efficient. [Capital New York – 01/30/15]
  4. City Tries to Suit-Proof its Affordable-Housing Plan The de Blasio administration is poring over a portion of its affordable-housing plan to ensure that it will hold up under legal scrutiny. The push comes at a time when mandatory inclusionary zoning policies designed to encourage more affordable-housing development have been battered by lawsuits in other parts of the country. In California, for instance, most municipalities no longer require developers to include affordable units in rental buildings following a 2009 lawsuit charging the policy violated state law. Such an outcome here, where 70% of residents rent their homes and affordable units are increasingly scarce, could be disastrous. With that in mind, the administration is taking a close look at California as well as cases in states such as Idaho or Colorado. [Crain’s New York Business – 01/30/15]
  5. Deepening Housing Crisis Plays Out in Bronx Courthouse Landlord attorneys and tenants alike tell tales like these, of tangled bureaucracies that fuel gratuitous litigation even when they are meant to help. But the catch-phrase echoing through the crowded courthouse is always “more time.” It’s the best most tenants are hoping to leave with, and for too many it is a first stop to homelessness. A three-month City Limits investigation found that tenants in the Bronx are at a severe disadvantage when facing their landlords in court, not just because legal advice and basic instruction remain elusive for most, but also because the system is overburdened with a flood of housing needs in a borough where rent levels and tenants’ incomes are increasingly mismatched. [City & State – 02/01/15]
  6. Queens Plaza/Court Square Developers May Be Required to Build Affordable Units Should Rezoning Occur The concept of implementing a mandate requiring developers to include affordable units would be unique– since no other New York City neighborhood has done so, said John Young, the director of the Queens Office of City Planning. The idea is a departure from standard policy where developers are provided with “incentives” to build affordable units–such as allowing them to build slightly bigger buildings. Therefore, while the Queens Plaza/Court Square proposal is likely make way for larger buildings, the change would also guarantee more affordable units. [Long Island City Post – 01/29/15]
  7. Councilwoman Wants Bad Landlords to Pay for Relocating Tenants “We have to do more to hold bad landlord accountable when they neglect their rent-regulated buildings just to get vacate orders to force their tenants out,” Ms. Chin said today at a City Hall press conference. Ms. Chin introduced legislation last year that would empower the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to target certain landlords and require them to money in escrow, amounting to 10 percent of their building’s rent roll over five years, to fund temporary housing for residents who are displaced with a vacate order. [New York Observer – 01/29/15]
  8. The Best Affordable Housing Plan in the U.S. Isn’t Good Enough The hundreds of thousands of applications that have poured in for New York City’s new affordable apartments show just how tight the city’s housing market is. Rents rose 11 percent throughout the city between 2005 and 2012. In some places, like Manhattan and northern Brooklyn, the price increases have been even steeper. The average rental price in Manhattan is now more $3,800. In Brooklyn, it’s about $2,560. New York is also nine months into an ambitious plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years—easily the boldest housing undertaking in the country. [Slate – 01/29/15]
  9. In Program to Spur Affordable Housing, $100 Million Penthouse Gets 95% Tax Cut The penthouse at One57, which offers panoramic views from 1,000 feet above 57th Street, recently sold for a record-setting $100.5 million. But it is not the price that has grabbed the attention of housing advocates, policy analysts, developers and city officials. Rather, it is one of peculiarities of New York real estate: a billionaire’s lair that comes with an incentive that cuts this year’s property tax bill by 95 percent, or an estimated $360,000. That has turned the six-bedroom, 11,000-square-foot duplex into a prime example for an intensifying debate over the future of a housing program known as 421-a. [New York Times – 02/01/15]
  10. Thousands of New Yorkers Living in Dangerous ‘Cluster Units’ as Homeless Population Tops 59,000, A Record High Councilwoman Margaret Chin is renewing her push today for legislation that would allow the city to force landlords of unsafe buildings to set aside money for relocation expenses, something welcomed by tenant advocates but derided by the real estate lobby. The bill, in part, mirrors what the Department of Housing Preservation and Development can already do—that is, go after landlords to recover the cost of relocating tenants when a building is vacated due to hazardous living conditions. [New York Daily News – 02/01/15]
« Previous | The Stoop | Next »