Housing Starts: Three Cities Navigate Affordability | Housing Homeless Youth | Changes in Chinatown

March 31st 2015

A passive house in Bushwick, Brooklyn (Photo Credit: Pablo Enriquez for The New York Times)

  1. Developers and Cities Are Navigating the Affordable Housing Sea in a Leaky Boat Financing models for affordable housing developments vary from state to state, city to city, and project to project. Ones that take advantage of federal low-income housing tax credits are the most common, but more and more cities are considering inclusionary zoning and other tools to navigate spiking markets. [Next City – 03/27/15]
  2. The Passive House in New York A house built to passive standards uses less than a quarter of the energy of a traditionally powered home, according to the Passivhaus Institut, which developed the standard in Germany. Besides lower energy bills, benefits include quiet interiors because of thick, insulated walls, along with fresher, cleaner air, thanks to the filters in energy recovery ventilators. Builders and residents of passive houses say the filters can help eliminate allergies and asthmatic symptoms. [New York Times – 03/29/15]
  3. Residential Permits Up 11 percent, But is it Enough? New York City’s buildings department approved construction last year of 20,329 housing units spread across 1,415 buildings, an 11 percent jump from the previous year and a more than three-fold increase from the post-recession low of about 5,900 units set in 2009, according to a New York Building Congress analysis released Thursday. The city permitted construction of about 18,400 units during the 2013 calendar year and it permitted just over 11,000 in 2012. Despite the rise, those numbers are well below levels that must be reached for Mayor Bill de Blasio to achieve his ambitious goals of producing 80,000 units of affordable housing and 160,000 units of market-rate housing over the decade ending in 2024 [Crain’s New York Business – 03/26/15]
  4. Housing Homeless Youth Poses Challenge for Mayor de Blasio During the mayoral campaign, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would see to it that all homeless youths had beds. But after advocates for the homeless filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of illegally denying young people shelter, just before he took office, the mayor has surprised them, they said, by fighting the case. “It’s incredibly disheartening,” said Kimberly Forte, a supervising attorney with the Legal Aid Society, which filed the lawsuit in the waning days of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure in 2013. “We’re not seeing a new way of thinking about young people when it comes to homelessness from this administration.” [New York Times – 03/27/15]
  5. The Airbnb War: Big Money, No Victor Last September, the city’s powerful hotel union joined affordable-housing advocates to push back against Airbnb. Their group—Share Better—and the popular home-sharing service have since spent millions of dollars to influence political and public opinion. Both sides point to victories, but the broader outcome has been a stalemate—and not much harm to Airbnb’s bottom line. [Crain’s New York Business – 03/29/15]
  6. NYCHA Quietly Selling Off Parking Lots, Green Space, Playgrounds to Help Ease Budget Woes NYCHA has sold small parcels here and there over the years, but in 2011 began to ratchet up its sales effort, a Daily News review found. Since 2013, they’ve sold off 54 plots with 441,000 square feet of public land to private developers, records show. Most of these parcels are related to 12 projects where NYCHA has sold vacant or what it deems “underutilized” land to developers to build affordable or senior housing. On some parcels, the housing is now up; on others it’s in the works. [New York Daily News – 03/29/15]
  7. Nashville’s Boom Prices Out Low-Income, Middle Class Residents Nashville is rising in national profile and quite literally: 30-story condominium towers are popping up downtown, modest homes are being torn down and replaced with 3,000-square-foot modern houses in East Nashville, and new restaurants, bars and clubs are opening seemingly every week. While the city is booming, incomes haven’t kept pace with costs. A city study found that the median family income in the Nashville area rose 6 percent from 2000 to 2013 but rents rose 21 percent for four-bedroom apartments and 39 percent for one-bedrooms. [Al Jazeera America – 03/29/15]
  8. Shelter to Shutter, Proving Hell’s Kitchen is No Place for the Homeless Gentrification in what had been one of Manhattan’s grittiest neighborhoods has claimed another victim. Hell’s Kitchen, it seems, is no place for the homeless. A shelter housing about 80 families on West 49th Street will close June 30. The Clinton Family Inn, located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood that is better-known for its bars and restaurants than for housing stock, is part of a four-shelter network operated by Manhattan-based nonprofit Homes for the Homeless. The shelter joins three others in the area that have closed in the past few years, said Ralph da Costa Nunez, president and chief executive of Homes for the Homeless. [Crain’s New York Business – 03/27/15]
  9. First Look at New York’s Tallest Tower Outside of Manhattan Before summer, construction will likely begin on not only the tallest tower in Queens, but in all of New York City outside of Manhattan. The 915-foot-tall,930-unit behemoth will rise beside—and partially consume—the iconic clock tower, dwarfing the 14-story landmark hopeful. A preliminary rendering by SLCE Architects revealed in the New York Times shows that the new skyscraper and the 1927 former bank will share a base, and the tower, which looks similar to SLCE’s 388 Bridge Street, will rise behind the Art Deco structure. It may look like the 77-story skyscraper will completely and totally overshadow the clock tower, but according to the developers, Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization, the development is giving ‘the building the prominence it deserves.’ [Curbed New York – 03/30/15]
  10. In Manhattan’s Chinatown, Signs of Change The ethnic enclave of Chinatown, with its narrow, winding streets crowded with vendors, shoppers, tourists and locals, has so far experienced less new development than other lower-Manhattan neighborhoods. But real-estate brokers and locals say they see signs that change is on the way. Several luxury condominium buildings have opened in recent years, and a handful of hotels have transformed some streets. Some buildings in Chinatown are changing hands, brokers say. There has also been an increase in new restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and developments along Chinatown’s boundaries, particularly the Seward Park area on the Lower East Side. [Wall Street Journal – 03/25/15]
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