Thursday, November 28, 2013

Affordable Housing , High Rents, Inspectors Arrested #701

Gentrification 
Airbnb Bad Neighbors, Warehouses Apartments -- Rising Rents and Increasing Gentrification










Goldman Sacks Deputy Mayor Glen Helps Developers Ignores Homeless Housing  
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen helps her Goldman Sachs friends instead of pushing for more homeless housing, activists charge (NYDN) Housing activist groups launched a blistering attack on Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, pinning the blame on her for the city’s failure to stem its homelessness crisis.  In a letter to Mayor de Blasio, groups including the Met Council on Housing and New York Communities for Change charge his top deputy for housing and economic development has “had the wrong priorities from day one.”  “She has enabled the real-estate elite, her long-time friends from Goldman Sachs, to make massive profits while refusing to help New Yorkers who are sleeping on the streets,” they wrote of Glen, who worked at Goldman before coming to City Hall.  The city has launched a rental subsidy program for people leaving homeless shelters, which is run by the Human Resources Administration, an agency outside Glen’s purview. Nonetheless, the activist groups, which also include Faith in New York and Tenants & Neighbors, accuse her of being too cozy with developers and say she could use her influence to pressure more landlords to accept the vouchers. They also fault her role in negotiating deals with developer Blackstone to take over Stuyvesant Town and Fairstead Capital at Savoy Park. “Glen’s harmful decisions, more than anyone else’s at City Hall, have worsened the tale of two cities you vowed to end,” they wrote. “She hobnobs with her developer and landlord friends over drinks while failing to push them to play a bigger role in expanding the number of apartments available for homeless New Yorkers.”

421-a Wasted $2.5 B in Tax Expenditures and It Is Coming Back to Waste More and Increase Gentrification
City wasted $2.5B in tax expenditures through 421a: IBO (Real Deal)  Program doesn't fulfill its purpose, agency report charges * The New York City Independent Budget Office released a report on Monday that claims the city squandered $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion in tax expenditures from 2005 to 2015. The report asserts that these dollars were wasted because condo owners receiving the benefit saved more in taxes than they paid in higher sales prices. The agency — which looked at 101,477 condo sales over 11 years — points out that Manhattan condo owners paid a mean of $35,500 more for properties with the 421a tax abatement. The report found that Manhattan buyers paid between 53 to 61 percent of their tax benefits extra for their properties. In the outer boroughs, buyers paid a mean of $31,200 for condos with 421a — or 42 to 50 percent of the benefit that they are expected to receive.  The crux of the report is that the tax benefit is being passed off to the condo buyer instead of the land owner/developer, when the program is ostensibly designed to encourage development. The IBO posits that the tax abatement therefore hasn’t fulfilled its purpose and may actually raise land and housing prices. (The developer would likely argue that the tax break is a major selling point — that it’s what makes the project feasible in the first place.) He also claimed that his program would’ve added 25,500 affordable housing units over 10 years, whereas the governor’s will only add 21,750. (The mayor’s math seems a bit different than the governor’s, which estimates that 2,500 affordable units each year would be created. A spokesperson for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development said the discrepancy is due to the small condo projects allowed outside Manhattan.) * A report by New York University’s Furman Center found that, under the latest 421-a tax abatement proposal, New York City would lose $2.6 to $5.7 million in tax revenue for each 300-unit building, The Wall Street Journal reports.








NYP Correctly State That de Blasio Affordable Housing Plan is Peanuts Does Not Help Fight Homelessness Paper Does Not Connect the Damage Gentrification and Airbnb is Doing to NYC Affordable Housing Stock 
The futility of de Blasio’s ‘record’ housing success (NYP Ed) de Blasio high-fived himself Thursday for financing “more affordable housing in 2016” than at any time in 27 years. But his strategy hasn’t eased the city’s housing crunch one bit — or even made a dent in the ranks of the homeless.  Since 2014, the city has spent billions to build and preserve 62,500 homes, including 22,000 units last year, the most since 1989.  Yet it’s an old and futile tale. In the 1980s, Mayor Ed Koch launched a $5 billion, 180,000-unit program. In 2006, Mayor Mike Bloomberg bragged that his housing plan was the biggest “in the nation’s history.” But the city’s housing shortage never goes away.   Subsidized housing hasn’t even cut the ranks of the homeless, as promised. The shelter census is at 60,200, a record high.  A new Coalition for the Homeless report offers clues as to why: Though “more people are exiting . . . to stable housing than at any time since 2004,” a far greater number are entering the system. So the shelter population is up 14 percent since 2014, “despite Mayor de Blasio’s efforts” to offer more permanent housing. As for the city’s programs to boost the housing stock: A 2014 report put the number of city units at 3.4 million, including 2.2 million apartments. De Blasio’s bragging about adding 22,000.   New York City has a vast pent-up housing demand, but laws from rent regulations to the tax code choke non-luxury construction. Decades of efforts have proved that city government can’t make up the difference.  So de Blasio can set all the new-units records he wants — and his successor will still face a crisis every bit as big.




Since Grade Inflation Worked Team de Blasio is Now Trying to Inflate Affordable Housing Data
Inside de Blasio’s ‘land grab’ aimed at boosting affordable housing data (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio is attempting a Soviet-style takeover of 1,200 privately-owned co-op buildings in what critics charge is a blatant effort to artificially boost his affordable-housing numbers. The Stalinesque secrecy of the plot — developed over two years behind closed doors — has alarmed some lawmakers, who wrote to the city last week to put the plan on hold.  The private co-ops were once derelict buildings in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side that the cash-strapped city sold to residents beginning in the 1980s for as little at $250 per unit. The city was happy to off-load the headache properties, which had been abandoned by absentee landlords or seized from tax deadbeats.  They resembled urban war zones, with blown-out windows, no doors, heat or running water and junkies overdosing in the hallways.  Over the years, the homesteaders banded together to create livable apartments, and at the same time revitalized blighted neighborhoods.  Now, the city wants to seize control of what have become valuable assets, and livid residents are preparing for a legal war to stop it. “Clearly, the city is attempting a land grab and it’s not progressive because [it is] … while attacking the property rights of low, moderate and middle income people and trying to take the only thing that they have in the world,” said John McBride, a co-op owner and a leader of the opposition.




Affordable Housing Lie  87,000 People Applied for 104 Subsidized Apts At Dominos









Senior de Blasio Official in Washington Resigns (WSJ)  Shake-up comes amid rising concerns about possible cutbacks under President Trump Senior de Blasio Official in Washington Resigns  Shake-up comes amid rising concerns about possible cutbacks under President Trump 

Another de Blasio Commissioner Leaves HPD After Announcing New Affordable Housing Plan This Week?
New York City’s housing commissioner resigns (NYDN) The city official in charge of the mayor’s affordable housing plan announced on Tuesday she’s stepping down from her post, the third high-profile departure from the de Blasio administration in less than six weeks. Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, who last week announced the city had reached its ambitious affordable housing goals for 2016, said she would return to her teaching post at New York University on Feb. 6. She’d been on leave from her tenured job.  Maria Torres-Springer, now president of the city Economic Development Corp., will take her spot. James Patchett, chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, will take her role at the economic agency.






Affordable Housing Plan Melt Down
And City Council Wants More Affordable and Make Sure Any Plan Prevents Gentrification
SPIN SELLING SENIOR HOUSING FOR A COMPLEX HOUSING PROBLEM
The de Blasio administration defended its Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal at a New York City Council hearing by saying it would pave the way for the creation of senior housing across the city and mixed-income residences near transit: (City and State)


Affordable-Housing Standoff
At Council Hearing on de Blasio’s Housing Plan, Many Voices Rise (NYT)Speaker after speaker expressed their concerns over, or support for, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to require private developers in New York City to build affordable housing.* COUNCIL HOMES IN ON CHANGES: Pols push for cheaper apartments under Mayor de Blasio's housing plan (NYDN) * * At a hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal, the New York City Council cited broken promises tied to prior rezonings and asked how the mayor could guarantee that subsidies would come through and prevent gentrification: * During the City Council hearing on a zoning proposal, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the administration was open to discussing ways to guarantee a number of new units be built for those with very low incomes, TheNew York Times reports:  * De Blasio housing plan encounters pushback from City Council Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan was the focus of fierce debate during a contentious hearing at City Hall on Tuesday. The result was a standoff, as City Council members demanded that the new housing include more—and more-affordable—units, while the administration insisted those changes aren’t feasible. [Crain’s New York Business] * Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan draws concern and support at a City Council hearing, as the city looks to require private developers to build affordable housing to meet the needs of the city’s lowest-income residents.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration offers defense of itsaffordable-housing strategy (WSJ) * Lapsed 421-a controversy resurfaces with unprompted email (PoliticoNY)  On Monday afternoon, the lead labor negotiator for a now-expired development tax break known as 421-a put out an unusually timed statement. "After exhaustive, good-faith conversations had over the last seven months, it is clear that 421-a as we know it is dead and will not be revived," Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in an email. "After careful consideration, we believe it is very clear that absent a prevailing wage requirement, the 421-a tax abatement program should not be renewed under any circumstances. We need a new, comprehensive approach that builds needed affordable housing citywide, while also offering construction workers good middle-class wages and benefits." LaBarbera was tasked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo with negotiating a deal on 421-a, a lucrative property tax exemption, with the Real Estate Board of New York when the program was up for renewal last year.


The talks fell apart last month and the program expired. It was not clear what prompted the email on Monday, and the statement seemed to echo LaBarbera's comments when the tax exemption expired in mid-January. Several sources close to the previous 421-a negotiations, who would only speak on background, said LaBarbera may have been pushing back against the possibility that State Senate Republicans would craft 421-a legislation that excludes a prevailing wage requirement — an idea that has been floated in recent weeks. The statement also came shortly before the New York City Council prepares for a contentious hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio's zoning proposal.* A key housing tax break is “dead and will not be revived,” the head of the building trades union, Gary LaBarbera, said in a statement. He called for a brand new program to be established in the place of the expired 421-a program. *  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration defended its affordable housing strategy ahead of two City Council hearings on proposed zoning changes, which are widely expected to pass the Council, the Journal reports:  *  The Daily News writes that the New York City Council Progressive Caucus threatens to curtail de Blasio’s affordable housing goals by demanding more than what is economically feasible and New Yorkers can’t afford “this wild-eyed purist political posturing:”* Council’s erroneous zones on affordable housing (NYDN) The Council’s 19-member Progressive Caucus, which includes Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is about to test those laws of economics by pushing regulations requiring buildings to lease more apartments for less money than de Blasio seeks. By overreaching, they threaten to curtail de Blasio’s affordable housing goals, which are already threatened by the death of a tax break because the Legislature and Gov. Cuomo heedlessly intervened to boost wages for construction workers. Analyses shared by City Hall offer no grounds to doubt that the plan before the Council pushes affordable housing mandates as far as dollars allow. Although de Blasio offers billions to subsidize lower rents, the Council progressives say he must write promises into law. They’re playing with dynamite. Demand too much and projects become financially infeasible. Then will come lawsuits to end the affordable housing mandates outright. Struggling to pay rent, New Yorkers in crying need of housing can’t afford this wild-eyed purist political posturing.* Year of the Sheep: at groundbreaking for new tower, de Blasio and supporters hail "100% affordable housing," avoid pesky details about cost (AYR)* De Blasio Administration Pushes Plan to TradeParking Spots for Senior Housing (NYO)
Suck Power Out of Neighborhoods . . . Where is This Generations Jane Jacobs  



de Blasio's Affordable Housing Plan Crumbles as He Heads to Iowa to Campaign for Hillary


The Cuomo administration strongly backed a plan by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer to divert $400 million over 10 years for affordable housing to make needed improvements at the New York City Housing Authority. But de Blasio quickly threw cold water on the idea, pitting him against two of his frequent critics. * De Blasio’s affordable housing plan allocates fewer units for the poorest households in the city than his predecessor, Mike Bloomberg’s did, according to a new study — frustrating advocates who say they supported him because he promised to help the neediest. IOWA NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to travel with his wife, Chirlane McCray, to Iowa this weekend to campaign in support of Hillary Clinton, his fellow Democrat and former boss, in the final days of her close race against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the state’s presidential caucuses. The couple will pay their own expenses.* Tish James & Scott Stringer participate in rally slamming @BilldeBlasio housing plan in comparison to Bloomberg's:



\@WSJ on DEB Iowa trip 2 "help" HRC echoes what I pointed out most people don't know him & a resident said NYC seems dysfunctional under him

de Blasio So Loves Developers He Allows Them to Build At Night 





As Many As 200,000 Apt May Be Missing From Rent Regulations
NY State Data Indicates Even More Landlords Duck Rent Limits(ProPublica) As many as 200,000 New York City apartments could be missing from rent regulation as required by law, according to figures released by the state’s housing agency.




Bronx Rejects de Blasio's Housing Plan
The Bronx really doesn’t like de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan(NYP) In another blow to Mayor de Blasio, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and each of the borough’s 12 community boards voted to oppose his affordable-housing rezoning plan Thursday morning. “So many different groups, organizations, and other concerned citizens came before our boards and my office to voice their concerns about these proposals,” said Diaz Jr., who’s considered a 2017 mayoral contender. “So many different communities have different reasons to be opposed to this ‘one size fits all’ approach to the future development of our borough and our city.” Thursday Borough Board vote is non-binding, but is sure to influence an upcoming City Council vote, which is expected to take place in early 2016. Diaz argued that a “neighborhood by neighborhood” approach to zoning has been successful since 2009 and that de Blasio’s plan would threaten to undue that. “These proposed text amendments go against the grain of this successful approach to community-based planning, and must be rejected. One size does not fit all,” he said.Along with all of the community boards, some Council members also voted against the plan as part of the borough board vote Thursday, including Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Andrew Cohen, Vanessa Gibson, Andy King, Annabel Palma, and Ritchie Torres. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents portions of the South Bronx, abstained. * De Blasio Zoning Plan Unites Civic Groups In Opposition To It: Civic groups from all corners of the city are… http://dlvr.it/CmYrLP  * De Blasio’s affordable-housing plan doesn’t have many backers (NYP) * Of the city’s 59 community boards, at least 22 have voted against rezoning proposals tied to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio  affordable housing plan, and these advisory votes may give City Council members pause, the Post reports:


Whistleblower Sues Battery Park City For Exposing Corrupt Contracts
Whistleblower claims he was fired for doing his job (NYP) A former vice president of the Battery Park City Authority has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit claiming he was fired for exposing corruption in the awarding of contracts, The Post has learned. Kirk Swanson, a former VP and chief contracts officer at the state agency, alleges he “discovered that high-level BPCA employees were making false statements in an effort to bypass the BPCA’s contract approval process.” * Kirk Swanson, a former vice president of the Battery Park City Authority, filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleging he was fired for exposing corruption in the authority’s awarding of contracts, the Post reports: * The chief counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is retiring amid an investigation into a highway project.*  Darrell Buchbinder, the Port Authority’s longtime general counsel, announced he will retire in October amid a probe into whether the agency’s lawyers violated securities laws, the Journal reports: 




Winds of Another Dept of Buildings Scandal As City Revokes Hundreds of Licenses of General Contractors 
Is the Dept of Building Slow to Respond Gentrifying Neighborhoods Pay to Play?
In what it described as an "unprecedented" move, the New York City Department of Buildings permanently revoked the license of a general contractor who has the most violations of any registered in the city, Politico New York reports:   * New York City’sDepartment of Buildings is slow to respond to resident complaints about construction work, which sometimes causes health and safety issues and is used by some landlords as a means to drive out tenants, according to a report from Stand for Tenant Safety:


NY Pols Cause Housing Segregation Never Blamed
NYT Never Asks How Much NY Pols Have Taken From Real Estate Who Create Housing Segregation




Housing Groups Fight Each Other Over the $$$ in East NY Affordable Housing Proposals


Housing activists blast union report on affordable-housing (NYP) A top housing trade association is accusing a powerful union-backed, anti-poverty lobbying group of issuing a bogus report critical of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to rezone East New York in Brooklyn, alleging the group’s main mission is seeking millions of dollars in subsidies to fund higher union wages under the guise of fighting for the poor. Real Affordability For All issued a report Monday alleging de Blasio’s “mandatory inclusionary zoning” plans for East New York and other targeted neighborhoods — which would require developers for the first time to set aside 25 percent of units for low-income residents — wouldn’t benefit those struggling areas as promised. RAFA offered an alternative for building “real affordable communities” that require using union labor for the “additional costs” of building larger projects. For example, the 11-page report said this would include a 106-unit apartment planned in East New York increasing to 181 units – and taxpayers chipping in an additional $6.1 million in subsidies to pay union builders to do the extra work. Jolie Milstein, president of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, on Wednesday called the report “misleading,” claiming it’s really about lining unions’ pockets.  “RAFA’s answer to the city’s affordable-housing crisis is to issue a union-backed plan calling for millions more in taxpayer dollars to pay for union construction,” she said. She urged RAFA to “retract this report and stick to facts that reflect the reality of the market.”* A top housing trade association is accusing a powerful union-backed, anti-poverty lobbying group of issuing a bogus report critical of de Blasio’s plan to rezone East New York in Brooklyn.

421-a is Shortchanging Affordable Housing, Causes Corruption and Closes Small Business and Blacks Out of Their Homes
421-a $905,000 an Affordable Apartment, City $190,000 Per Affordable Housing Apartments
City was shortchanged on affordable housing: report (NYP) The city was shortchanged on the number of affordable apartments created under the 421-a property-tax abatement that state lawmakers gave the developer of the luxury Midtown residential tower One57, according to a report issued Tuesday. The Independent Budget Office found that the $65.6 million in taxes forgiven to One57 over a decade could have produced roughly five times the 66 units created under the subsidy. Paying affordable-housing developers directly would have garnered the city as many as 367 units with the same amount of money, while a separate program that gives nonprofits tax breaks to operate low-rent housing could have yielded 320 units, the analysis found. The smaller number of affordable units actually created in The Bronx cost taxpayers $905,000 per apartment.

By contrast, direct funding to developers of low-income housing would have run the city $179,000 per unit, the IBO said. “The staggering cost and inefficiency of this program is precisely why the administration sought — and succeeded in — ending 421-a tax breaks for luxury condominiums,” said City Hall spokesman Wiley Norvell. “The practice was just indefensible.” At the city’s urging, Albany lawmakers made reforms to the 421-a program that the IBO said would create 13,000 more affordable apartments, but at an added cost of $3.3 billion. The reforms are set to go into effect in January, but only if the real estate industry can come to a deal on wages with the construction industry. Otherwise, the current 421-a program would be extended as is. * Some are interpreting the wording of the new rent law to actually make it more difficult for landlords to deregulate apartments when rent reaches the established threshold, much to the chagrin of those property owners. * A group of Brooklyn elected officials led by Borough President Eric Adams are set to meettonight to map out a plan to push for changes next year to the rent regulation law, though it’s highly unlikely the GOP-lead state Senate will revisit the issue. * The recently-revised 421-a tax break will cost New York City $3.3 billion over 10 years in foregone revenue, according to a new estimate from the city’s Independent Budget Office.* * Language in the new rent regulation laws may actually make it more difficult for landlords to deregulate apartments when rent reaches the established threshold, but landlords say they believe it to be a drafting error that Albany lawmakers need to fix, Gotham Gazette reports: *  Bed-Stuy is Focus of Concerns Over Fate of Community Gardens  (City Limits) The city has identified 181 small city-owned sites for potential affordable-housing development. Eighteen currently have community gardens on them. Ten of those gardens are in Bedford-Stuyvesant.* One57 is getting $66M in tax breaks for contributing $6M toaffordable housing in the Bronx: (Curbed) * * A recent report by the Independent Budget Office suggests that class-warriors have missed the real target by opposing 421-a tax abatement and should instead look at other breaks helping developers pay less in taxes, the Post writes:  * The Real Estate Board of New York spent $3 million opposing a prevailing wage provisionin the renewal of the 421a tax abatement.
 421-a Causing Rent Up Losing the Middle Class Also "Middle class families in NY are now looking forother states to live in due to the cost of living in the state..'' 
Foreign Ownership of NYC Real Estate and the Lobbyists Who Work for Them


deB: More BS Affordable Housing Campaign Promise That Will Never Happen
Daily News: Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Plans Will Only Produce A Fraction of the 80,000 Apartments Planned
Bill’s dream houses:Mayor de Blasio is being forced to face the tough truth about how muchaffordable housing his mandatory inclusionary zoning plans will really produce (NYDN) To a 2013 mayoral candidate polling at 11%, promising to build 50,000 new affordable apartments as if by fiat must have been irresistible — forget that the figure bore as little resemblance to reality as My Little Pony. Now that he’s running the city, Bill de Blasio is coming around to admit that his vaunted “mandatory inclusionary zoning” will not come close to hitting that mark.  Aides refuse to release new projections, guesstimating a figure in the ballpark of “several thousand,” perhaps 15,000 or more if the stars align. The gap between promise and reality is not merely a case of exaggerated political rhetoric. De Blasio’s signature housing program calls for preserving 120,000 affordable units and building 80,000 apartments over 10 years. The mayor recently boosted already high city subsidies to achieve his goal, jumping from an initially promised $6.7 billion to $7.5 billion in his latest capital plan, including $2 billion for new construction. The bill could grow more still if his zoning plan falls short, the magic of having developers pay for affordable housing giving way to taxpayers footing bigger bills. In admitting that the numbers he breezily promised as a candidate will fall far short, de Blasio is moving from the grandiose to the pragmatic — for him, an accomplishment, no matter where his housing numbers end up.*  Alicia Glen, a New York City deputy mayor, dismissed polls released this month showing Mayor Bill de Blasio with record disapproval numbers, but conceded the city could better highlight its achievements, Politico New York reports:  *A de Blasio donor with building problems gets results (PoliticoNY)  * A survey conducted by rental listings company Naked Apartments found that more renters than last year said they would be more likely to sign a lease that allowed them to rent their apartment on Airbnb, theDaily News reports: 



Affordable Housing Press Release Spin Not Real 
The Spring Creek affordable housing project touted by de Blasio in 2014 is far behind schedule and supporters of the plan say the delays are the fault of the de Blasio administration


Brooklyn’saffordable housing development Spring Creek faces delays from de Blasio’soffice, project leader says  (NYDN) When Mayor de Blasio held a press conference in May 2014 to debut his new affordable housing plan, his full-color presentation touted a project called Spring Creek in Brooklyn. Spring Creek was flagged as a “case study” partnership between the city and developers to “create a strong, vibrant and self-sustaining neighborhood.” But on Friday, the bulk of that project remained a big, ugly vacant field of weeds and abandoned roadway in East New York. More than 1,500 of 1,803 planned affordable units are now in a bureaucratic Twilight Zone — and may become less affordable as a result. “There is no progress from the progressive mayor,” said the Rev. David Brawley, a leader of East Brooklyn Congregations, one of the groups sponsoring Spring Creek.* New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, a possible de Blasio challenger in 2017, has joined the fight against his plan to bring 339 new units of affordable and luxury housing to Brooklyn Bridge Parkthe Post reports:  * The rush for permits in New York City to lock in the lucrative 421-a tax break for developers of apartment buildings gave way to a precipitous decline in July with the number of permits issued falling by 90 percent from June, Crain’s reports: 

The Linking of Shelters and Affordable Housing to Tax Breaks on Luxury Housing Contradictions  
A Helping Hand for the Homeless Helps a Luxury Developer,Too (NYT) In exchange for building the 36,000-square-foot Semiperm project uptown, the Zeckendorfs were able to add 114,000 square feet to 15 Central Park West, which also opened in 2008, lucratively increasing the property’s size by 17 percent. Since it started in 2008, more than 50 families have found homes at, and ultimately beyond, Semiperm’s simple 11-story building just off Broadway. Since then — and largely because of a backlash against so-called poor doors, the practice of segregating low-cost and luxury apartments that are part of the same development — the rules of various housing incentive programs have been changed. Both the city and the state have made it much harder to receive zoning bonuses and tax credits unless well-to-do and working-class residents live next door to one other, or at least on the next floor. You can create a lot more for less if you’re willing to move something 20 or 40 blocks away,” said Mr. Zeckendorf, a third-generation developer with his brother Arthur. “If we had done this on-site, it would have diminished both properties, or drastically changed the nature of them.” Mr. Zeckendorf believes that sharing an address can even harm the community. “It means fewer jobs building and operating the building,” he said, “and it reduces the tax base for teachers, firefighters and policemen.”


If Landlord Cost Are Not Going Up Why are Rents In None Stabilized Apts So High? 
First Ever Rent Freeze


New York City Board Votes to Freeze Regulated Rents on One-Year Leases (NYT) The move, unprecedented in the 46-year history of the Rent Guidelines Board, was the first decision on rent levels by a nine-member panel appointed in its entirety by Mayor Bill de Blasio.* City board approves rent freeze for first time in NYC history, barring hikes on 1M rent-stabilized apartments (NYDN)  The Daily News writes that New York City tenants got a good deal when the state Legislature renewed the city’s rent regulation laws for four years and when the Rent Guidelines Board voted to freeze regulated rents * Rent Guidelines Board Votes to Freeze Rents for Rent-Stabilized Tenants with One-Year Leases (NY1) * A FROZEN SOLID: De Blasio delivers on his campaign pledge to freeze rents, and that's not the only win for tenants (NYDN Ed) * New York’s Rent Freeze May Change How Tenants Decide on Lease Duration (NYT)  Renters must choose whether to opt for no increase on a one-year lease or lock in a 2 percent increase for two years.


 Rent-Stabilized Apartments Get Rent Freeze for First Time in City's History  (DNAINFO)The Rent Guidelines Board froze rents on one-year leases and raised two-year leases by 2 percent. * City orders freeze on rent-stabilized apartments (NYP) * City board approves rent freeze for first time in NYC history, barring hikes on 1M rent-stabilized apartments (NYDN) * A frozen solid on rent regulations (NYDN Ed) * The board that regulates rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted for a freeze on one-year leases, an unprecedented move in its 46-year history. * Alliance for Tenant Power, a left-leaning pro-tenants group, will protest outside Cuomo’s Westchester home today – the first salvo in an effort they say will prevent him from winning re-election in 2018 (if he seeks a third term). * The Rent Guidelines Board, which regulates rents for more than a million New York City rent-stabilized apartments, voted to freeze one-year leases, an unprecedented move in its 46-year history, The New York Times reports:   * Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation to prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate's criminal record prior to a job offer and to step up regulation of the car wash industry, the Daily Newsreports: * Rent-stabilized apartments get rent freeze for first time incity's history * NYC Board Votes to Freeze Rents (WSJ)



As Rents Are Skyrocketing in NYC Rent is Too Damn High Guy Voters or None Voters Ignoring His Warnings
Here’s hoping ‘Rent Is Too Damn High’ guy finds a good buyer (NYP Ed)  Local politics just got a lot less fun: Jimmy McMillan is giving up. The founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party says he’s putting it up “for sale, trademark and all.” The problem, he tweeted: “decided to walk away due to the -0- zero support of the people.” In a press release, McMillan complained of “totally brainwashed” voters. “Rent is too damn high is an international crisis,” yet “the people have ignored my warning.” With his elegant silver whiskers and pristine white gloves, McMillan rose to fame after Andrew Cuomo insisted on letting minor-party candidates into the 2010 gubernatorial debates. McMillan’s explanation that night for his candidacy — “Why? Because the rent is too damn high!” — went viral on YouTube. Now 69, he’s got health problems and, evidently, money woes. Here’s hoping he finds a good buyer for the party. Hmm. Know any gazillionaires who might need a ballot line? *Plan to sell Brooklyn Heights library moves forward (NYDN) A controversial plan to sell the Brooklyn Heights library cleared a key hurdle Thursday after the City Council struck a deal with the developer. Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn) threw his support behind the $52 million deal, all but guaranteeing it will pass the Council. The land use committee voted 17-2 to approve it, with one abstention. Developer Hudson Companies is set to buy the library site and replace it with a tower with 139 condos and a new library.“I think that this project includes enough benefits here that it is worth (it),” Levin said. “This is in fact a good deal.” * It's not just the poor, rising rents are burdeninghigher-income people as well:


In the Age of Gentrification McMillan Calls It Quits With His Rent is Too Damn High Movement
McMillan Calls It Quits (YNN) mmy McMillan, the erstwhile gubernatorial and presidential candidate, is “walking away” from the Rent Is Too Damn High movement, he said in a statement released on Tuesday evening.  At the same time, McMillan said he is selling the trademark for his political party, movement and catchphrase.* Jimmy McMillan, Rent Is Too Damn High Candidate, Is Retiring From Politics (NYT) Mr. McMillan, who ran for governor of New York in 2010 and has also run for mayor, cited a lack of public support and said voters had been “totally brainwashed.”* Jimmy McMillan, the whiskered political showman who became a viral Internet star when he ran for governor of New York in 2010 as a candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, has announced his retirement from the political arena, citing a lack of public support for his agenda.

As de Blasio Pushes For More Construction It Clear That the City Construction Inspectors Overwhelmed 
Mayor de Blasio Seeks to Rebuild Momentum for Affordable Housing Plan (NYT) A signature issue for the mayor has drawn opposition from the middle- and working-class communities it is meant to help, with residents and civic leaders saying their concerns have been ignored. * Alarmed by a surge in recent deaths and injuries in construction accidents, members of the New York City Council are urging swift passage of legislation intended to penalize contractors who break the rules, The New York Times reports:  * Minority workers have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14 and several other construction groups alleging they have systematically discriminated against men and women of color, Politico New York writes * The level of local opposition to de Blasio’s affordable housing proposal is a startling rebukefor a mayor who promised a “people-powered government” at City Hall. More than two dozen community boards have rejected the proposals, reigniting questions about de Blasio’s ability to persuade New Yorkers of even his most central policy plans.*  De blasio says without rezoning plan people in NYC neighborhoods would be pushed out by market forces.

Vote on Rent Hike Delayed 


Affordable Housing, Low Wages Building, Rents 






How de Blasio Historic 421-a Astoria Cove Deal Does Not Have Enough Affordable Housing 4 Tax Break 
A de Blasio 'game changer' falls short of 421-a requirements (Capital)  Astoria Cove, the premier mandatory affordable housing project of the de Blasio administration, will not qualify for a 421-a tax break under the newly passed version of the law. The Queens development, which the City Council approved with much fanfare in November, is obligated to set aside 27 percent of its units for affordable housing. But the specifics of the plan do not meet the new requirements under the revised state law, leaving its future uncertain.  The deal that developer Alma Realty struck with the Council requires that it provide 5 percent of the units at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income; 15 percent at 80 percent of the A.M.I. and 7 percent at 125 percent of the A.M.I. 


The city then agreed to subsidize another 34 affordable units—2 percent of the total—by giving the developer a extra $4.8 million.  None of the affordability requirements laid out under the 421-a deal struck in Albany last month match that model. To meet that threshold, Alma would have to offer more deeply affordable units at lower rents. It would likely lose its city subsidy. * Recent strike raises issue about 421a program extension  (NYDN) * The recently changed 421-a tax break will cost New York City $3.3 billion over 10 years in foregone revenue, in addition to current lost revenue, according to a new estimate from the city’s Independent Budget Office, Capital New York writes:

Lobbyist For the Astoria Cove Project Davidoff Spotted At City Hall
Davidoff Cashing in Again  5-building complex OK'd for Queens waterfront (CrainsNY) The City Planning Department has given a preliminary thumbs-up to a proposed residential project set to include three towers, each with as many as 32 stories, plus a pair of six-floor buildings farther inland, with a total of 1,698 apartments. "This project will take what is presently an isolated and desolate, underutilized area and transform it into a vibrant mixed-use community," said Howard Weiss, chair of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron's land-use group, who is representing the developer. Astoria Cove, south of Astoria Park on a gritty waterfront peninsula, is being developed by 2030 Astoria Developers Group, which includes Queens-based Alma Realty. The property will include 295 units of affordable housing, a public school and a supermarket, plus a waterfront park that will be open to the public. * de Blasio Performs First Marriage at City Hall(NYO) between lobbyists Sid Davidoff. and Linda Stasi, a columnist for the Daily News.Sid Davidoff, an early de Blasio backer and longtime friend whom insiders view as one of the big winners of the 2013 elections. Has gotten the following contracts in 2014 to lobby the mayor:  Telebeam Telecommunications Corporation,   New York Cosmos LLC,  Association of Water and Sewer Excavators Inc.,  Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, Inc.,   AMERICAN RECYCLING TECHNOLOGIES INC.,  Election Systems & Software, Inc.,  Touro College,  Abbott Laboratories,  Times Square District Management Association, Inc.,  Oxford Nursing Home, Inc.,   New York Community Bancorp, Inc.,   Marshall E Bloomfield ESQPalladia, Inc.,   RCN Telecom Services, LLC,  AbbVie, Inc,  2030 Astoria Developers, LLC.,   HUNTS POINT TERMINAL PRODUCE COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION INC,  Taxicab Service Association Inc.,  Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc,  American Recycling LLC,  FIGLI DI SAN GENNARO, INC. ***Here is City Hall lobbyist Davidoff telling Earl Lewis on NY1 that the mayor will be OK
]


From Poor Door Separation
How Developers Got Around Its Poor Door PR Problem


Developer bypasses ‘poor doors’ with separate low-income units (NYP)   “Poor doors” may now be banished, but one new Brooklyn development is going a step further by pushing needy tenants into a handful of low-income buildings. As lawmakers pat themselves... * Average Home Price in Manhattan Reaches $1.87 Million, a New High (NYT)  The average sales price rose 11 percent, to $1.87 million, compared with the same period in 2014, thanks to a strong local economy, combined with high demand and not enough listings.


NYP's Silent Cover-Up That 421-a Has Not Put A Dent In the Loss of Affordable Housing

Rents has Gone Through the Roof Up to 90% in Gentrifying Neighborhoods
Rent soars in partsof Manhattan, Brooklynas affordable housing drastically dwindles: study (NYDN)  Rent has gone through the roof in some neighborhoods, rising a crazy 50% to 90% in some spots, according to an analysis by the Community Service Society, a nonpartisan anti-poverty group. Rents rose 32% citywide since 2002, but in six neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, median rent presented to recent movers has spiked by at least 50%, the survey found. “The sharpest increases occurred in neighborhoods surrounding the traditionally high-rent area of Manhattan below Harlem,” the report states, noting that median rent in Central Harlem has jumped a “shocking” 90% since 2002.

The survey shows skyrocketing rents have exacerbated the plummeting number of apartments affordable to low-income renters, which have dropped 44% from 995,000 in 2002 to 555,000 last year. That’s primarily due to rent-stabilized units going market rate when their rent rises to the level that they become eligible for vacancy decontrol. *  De Blasio writes in the Daily News that it would be a “tremendous missed opportunity” for Albany to extent rent-regulation laws without ending vacancy decontrol and making other reforms:* One NYC neighborhood’s rent has increased 90% since 2002,and it’s not where you’d think: More About Gentrificatkion

There is No Discussion Of the Corruption Connected to the 421-a Program as the Extension of the Program is Planned in Albany
Does 421-a Destroy More Affordable Housing By Fueling Gentrification Than It Builds
Affordable Housing Has Become A Band-aid On A Cancer for Elected Officials to Protect Them From What They Are Doing to Our City With Their Tax Breaks to Developers  Corruption probes affecting rent control extensions: Cuomo (NYP) Federal corruption probes of state lawmakers are making it harder to resolve major issues before the Legislature — particularly politically explosive matters such as extension of rent control for New York City, Gov. Cuomo said Friday. “If it was a different time in Albany, frankly, and Albany was a little bit more stable situation, I would normally take these negotiations to Albany and try to work it out among the parties,” Cuomo told business leaders at an Association for a Better New York breakfast. “Albany has a lot going on right now, let’s say.” He was responding to a question asked about the fate of the 421-a tax abatement program for developers and the law covering rent stabilization. Both lapse on June 15.  Tenant advocates are demanding an end to 421-a, which they claim is a giveaway to developers even though it produces units for affordable housing.  Cuomo said even those who support the program — developers and the carpenters union — are at odds over some provisions. At minimum, Cuomo promised that he and the Legislature would simply extend the current laws for both programs with few or no changes. * From Campaign 2013The Bloomberg administration’s ambitious housing plan to create or preserve 165,000 affordable units by the end of June 2014, largely through incentives to private developers, will fall short of meeting the need for affordable housing in the city. “We hardly gained anything because we lost an equal number of units from rent regulation and Mitchell Lama,” said Mr. de Blasio. “There’s over a third of the city paying more than 50% of their income for rent.” Poor Door’ in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing(NYT) As public housing becomes a relic, American cities have grown morereliant on developers, who say they can maximize their revenues and build more affordable units, by separating them from their luxury counterparts. * Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics * BdB undecided on extending 'affordable' housing tax break (NYP)   * Sad how many of these stories we've heard: Brooklynlandlords pushing black tenants out for whites: (NYP) * The Times Union writes that the New York City real estate market needs tax breaks as much as ice cream trucks need grants to market treats to kids, so the 421-a tax break should be viewed as an integrity test

Albany Times Union Which Has Nothing to Do With City's Poor an Middle Class Losing Their Homes to Gentrification is Opposed to 421-a 
 TU Edit Board: 421-a tax abatements have outlived theirusefulness, now just a giveaway for wealthy political donors: 



NYC's Industrial Real Estate Complex Causing High Rents, Results in A Brooklyn Trailer Park 
Man says he’s the first to legally live in trailer in New York City (NYP) A quirky Brooklyn mechanic claims he’s the first person to legally make a trailer his permanent home in New York City — but he had to move from a lot to the street after a land owner called him a squatter on wheels. The man, who goes by “JR,” set up his weathered yellow trailer on an empty Bushwick lot that he told The Post he leases. The 15-foot home on Bushwick Avenue near Montieth Street is hooked to a generator, two doors is roughly the size of a studio apartment. “Rent is crazy in the neighborhood. I rented the land for five months for five hundred dollars a month,” said JR, who added that he set up the deal roughly two weeks ago. * HOUSING COURT BILL DELAYED: A New York City Council bill guaranteeing tenants a lawyer in housing court has 35 sponsors and the support of key officials but hasn’t moved for over a year, Kate Pastorreports for City Limits: * New York officials are seeking more funding to provide poor people with legal services in civil proceedings, part of a national movement to establish a legal right to counsel in civil cases, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Coalition pushes wage raises, expanded housing in bid to end NYC homelessness in 5 years (NYDN) *
The Affordable Bronx Has Become the Poor's Last Stop In NYC
What Are the Affordable Housing Pols Doing to Stop the High Number of Evictions in the Bronx?  

A three-month City Limits investigation found that Bronx tenants are at a severe disadvantage when facing their landlords in court because the system is overburdened
Housing Court SeesRising Pressure in Most Affordable Borough (City Limits)Bronx housing court is crowded for a reason. Among the five boroughs, the Bronx's portfolio of affordable housing stock is the most robust, with rents that are still cheaper than in other parts of the city. That's why housing advocates see the northernmost borough as the last frontier in the fight for housing affordability — a final chance to stop the tide that continually pushes New Yorkers from their neighborhoods. Housing Court Sees Rising Pressure in Most Affordable Borough* Mr. Mayor, here’s how it’s done: Lessons from theaffordable housing frontlines (NYDN)

Affordable Housing Has Become A Band-aid On A Cancer for Elected Officials to Protect Them From What They Are Doing to Our City With Their Tax Breaks to Developers 

From Campaign 2013
The Bloomberg administration’s ambitious housing plan to create or preserve 165,000 affordable units by the end of June 2014, largely through incentives to private developers, will fall short of meeting the need for affordable housing in the city. “We hardly gained anything because we lost an equal number of units from rent regulation and Mitchell Lama,” said Mr. de Blasio. “There’s over a third of the city paying more than 50% of their income for rent.” Poor Door’ in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing(NYT) As public housing becomes a relic, American cities have grown morereliant on developers, who say they can maximize their revenues and build more affordable units, by separating them from their luxury counterparts. * Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics



NYT Pushes Mayor's Housing Ideology Plan Because He Means It
From the NYTs: Can New York Be Affordable Again?(NYT Ed) "Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mission to create housing for all, including working- and middle-class families, is timely and exciting. Cynicism is easy. Idealism is hard when you’re a politician who is making a huge promise. The success of the plan, laid out by the administration in a 116-page book of policy prescriptions, will depend on several factors. Persuasion, toughness: mandatory inclusionary zoning, stronger rent laws, an army of Legal Aid lawyers, stricter code enforcement against landlords who let properties decay. By taking on affordable housing, Mr. de Blasio is making a full, multiyear commitment to a mission that, like “cleaning up Albany,” sounds vague and impossible. But Mr. de Blasio seems to mean it." 




The Times convenes an online debate among four New York City experts on whether tax breaks that spur condo development have benefited the rich at the expense of others
VANCE ON CORRUPTION: The failure of district attorneys to combat corruption at the highest levels of government is due to a lack of state laws adequately outlawing the conduct, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance writes in City & State:

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Turns Out the Mayor's Demand That Every Neighborhood Take Affordable Housing  
Does Not Include the Upper West Side
De Blasio agrees to relocate affordable housing units (NYP) Elected officials slammed Mayor de Blasio on Sunday for agreeing to relocate dozens of affordable housing units without consulting Upper West Side community leaders. In a letter to the mayor’s heads of planning and housing, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal contend that a new deal the administration recently struck with the Collegiate School includes “no guarantee [the units] will ever be built.” In 2014, Collegiate School, which was founded in 1628 and is considered to be the oldest school in the US, agreed to build 55 units of affordable housing as part of a deal with the city for a new school building. But instead of building the units, Collegiate claimed it could not find a site in the neighborhood and paid the city $50 million to build the housing elsewhere, according to the letter. 


MTA Affordable Housing Can Wait
MTA Finds A New Way to Push the Poor and Middle Class Out of the City
The MTA approved a deal that will allow for the construction of Queens’ tallest building, and after debate the agency said it would create a policy for mandates on affordable units in future deals, the Post reports: * Many areas targeted for affordable housing by the de Blasio administration don’t have robust enough markets to charge rents high enough to cover construction, according to a Furman Center report, the Journal reports:



de Blasio A Tale of Two 421-a's 
de Blaiso Spins A Black Chruch That 421-a Was Only About Tax Breaks for Luxury Buildings
Speaking at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church, de Blasio for the first time called for ending the controversial 421-a program if he doesn’t get the overhaul he has demanded. .At the church de Blasio said $100 million condo got a tax break. "Not anymore, brothers and sisters."   What the mayor was doing to his church audience was trying to bury the 421-a lead. The mayor was right to say that gentrification has changed NYC.  But what he did not talk about at the church Sunday morning was the role 421-a has had on fueling gentrification and the effect of that fuel on the black community which have little to do with building luxury building in Manhattan.   In the last 10 years thousands of blacks have moved out of Crown Heights, Bed Stuy and Harlem replaced by young whites who took of the 421-a mortgage tax breaks in new tax break buildings being built all over those changing communities.* Loss of 330,000 Affordable Apartments Seen (City Limits) In the background of the fight over the renewal of the state's rent regulations, a new report says New York City lost 330,000 affordable housing units since 2002 that were not subsidized. *  Adams, Siegel take on tenant harassment Caribbean Life * Residents demandAdams stops pushing gentrification (New 12) Young people from around New York City rallied at Borough Hall Wednesday to demand that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stop pushing gentrification. Demonstrators say they are being pushed out of the neighborhoods where they grew up, and they're calling on Adams to preserve their communities instead of trying to diversify their neighborhoods. They complain that Adams supports diversifying neighborhoods by "up zoning" communities of color.



As NYC Becomes A Gilded City de Blasio Promises He Will Stop It

The Mayor Who Cannot Fix Homelessness, NYCHA, Keep Hospitals Open Crime Down is Going to Stop NYC From Continuing to Become A City of the Wealthy?
The mayor tried to confuse his audience when he said “We can talk about the pros and cons of gentrification, and we can acknowledge that it’s not all good or all bad, but we do know one thing: gentrification has changed us rapidly,” he said, arguing the status quo will drive people out of their homes. “It will make this a gilded city, a city for only those wealthy enough to be here.” * Unless Albany takes action, de Blasio saidNew York will become a “gilded city, a city for only those wealthy enough to afford to be here, and we will not accept that.”

It is not the status quo which is pushing blacks out of their neighborhoods, it is the 421-a tax break program.  One of the reforms the mayor wants in the 421-a would speed up gentrification racial change.  The mayor wants to extend 421-a tax breaks to buys from 20 years to 35 years.  This change would make the 421-a in gentrifying neighborhoods more attractive to buyers.   Hey, Did You Know Crown Heights Is Gentrifying?: Gothamist *  Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Gets Its Turn - NYTimes.com  “Certainly the dominant narrative in Crown Heights over the last decade has been gentrification,” said Nick Juravich, a resident of six years who wrote the blog “I Love Franklin Avenue” until this year. ”Very rapid change has come to the neighborhood in terms of the cost of living, the price of homes and the cost of rents, while the commercial strips have changed enormously.”* Brooklyn Boom Squeezes Buyers Pushing Into Crown Heights *De Blasio Prods New York State on Housing Laws New York Times de Blasio spoke at a Harlem church Sunday and said if the state does not approve sought changes to the 421-a tax abatement program, the city should end it   *NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Developers' Tax Break: 'Mend It or End It'  Wall Street Journal (blog) * Mayor De Blasio says he would get rid of 421-a if lawmakers can't modify to ... Newsday * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Developers’ Tax Break: ‘Mend It or End It’(WSJ)


City and State Officials Cover Their Ass After Arrests of Inspectors Pushing Tenants Out 
As Developers Prepares to Push More Affordable Tenants Out, Remaking Neighborhoods Out, the Government Which Approved the Development CYA With Task Force to Protect Tenants 
Schneiderman, de Blasio to fight owners forcing out tenants (NYDN) * City and state officials are set to launch a coordinated crackdown on New York City landlords accused of trying to harass tenants into leaving their rent-stabilized apartments* New York's master builders: New megaprojects will remakes waths of the city from scratch  (NYDN) Hudson Yards, Pacific Park and Essex Crossing are just a few of the big scale redevelopments happening in the five boroughs.* With tenant harassment complaints against landlords rising, New York City and state officials announced the creation of a multiagency task force to weed out and punish bad landlords, The New York Times reports:
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de Blasio Affordable Housing Fed Problems Possible, Still Pushing Queens Rail Depot 
The practice of setting aside lower-rent units in new developments for local residents is drawing federal scrutiny, potentially undermining Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing efforts, the Journalreports:
A mailer from Sen. Mike Gianaris raises concerns with a project being proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.* Despite Cuomo’s Opposition, de Blasio Requests Housing Proposals for Queens Rail Depot (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes developers will build more than 11,000 units of affordable housing in Sunnyside Yards.* The Cuomo administration has upped the amount of money allocated for housing rehabilitation with another $7.3 million for re-building or construction of 500 affordable homes across the state.* "Renters can expect to spend nearly 60% of their $ toafford a market-rate apartment in NYC” 
Affordable Housing, Low Wages Building, Rents 





1877 NYT: The Building Dept: "Its Rottenness Exposed" 
.The science of bribery (NYP Ed) Unfortunately, this was way back in 1877. We refer to a Times dispatch from Aug. 11 of that year. It appeared under the headline “The Building Department: Its rottenness exposed.” The story described the city’s Building Department this way: “That department has long been regarded as a mere refuge for rapacious politicians, who furnished no equivalent services for the salaries they received, and, in its present condition, its abolition would be a public benefit.” Ira Stoll at the FutureofCapitalism.com referred us to the Times story. He had cited it in a post about the most recent Buildings Department scandal, in which nearly a dozen of its people have been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for building permits or favorable inspections or the like. Some of the bribes show imagination. They include a holiday in Puerto Rico, tuition for a summer course for one official’s daughter, an SUV — and, of course, the old standby: cash. Now, it’s easy to look at the two Times stories on corruption at the Buildings Department — one from 1877 and one from 2015 — and conclude things haven’t changed. Indeed they haven’t, human nature being what it is. But the larger point Stoll makes strikes us as the better one: This city would be far better off if we recognized that every regulation creates an opening for corruption by giving officials something they can sell or use to shake us down, especially when we can’t move ahead without it. The 1877 Times understood this dynamic. Here’s how it described it: “It is said that the facilities for extortion are more extensive in the Department of Buildings than in any other; in fact, a builder is completely at its mercy. His plans are subject to the approval of the Inspector, and the Department . . . may interpret the law as they please. Builders have long since become painfully aware of the fact that they must yield to the pecuniary demands of a little tribe of sharks.” In short, the Times figured out that regulation give regular the power to shake people down. As we learned from the latest arrests at the Buildings, Department, it’s as true today as it was then.

Census Bureau Stats Prove Affordable Housing Not Happening  
As the de Blasio administration focuses on affordable housing, Census Bureau stats show city rents rose faster than inflation and lower-income tenants felt a housing squeeze, the Times reports:  * New York City’s low-income renters are often left without heat by landlords, resulting in illness and unplanned bills for tenants who have little recourse, the Daily Beast’s Kevin Zawacki reports:  * "Thetoo-damn-high rent is now the least of Jimmy McMillan’s problems"  * De Blasio willunveil an initiative to build 1,500 new affordable live-work spaces for New York City artists. * New York City Pushes New Design Approach For Affordable Housing UnitsNew York City launched changes to the zoning code that will enable developers to build taller apartment buildings with higher ceilings and retail on the ground floor, without having to sacrifice units * * To address New York City’s affordability crisis, lawmakers must identify new strategies that will guide the city to a more inclusive prosperity, rather than relying on the same old tactics, RXR Realty’s Seth Pinsky writes in Crain’s:

Times editorial lamenting NYC cost of housing a little like Larry Flynt doing a PSA for abstinence...
Litwin’s firm used the 421a program for its Midtown Manhattan project, according to the New York Times. Glenwood has also used the 421a tax break for some of its other properties in the city. In 2014, Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that was examining the relationship between lawmakers and the real estate industry. The governor’s top aide at time, Larry Schwartz, called commission members to stop them from subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York, of which Litwin is the lifetime “honorary chairman.” The 421a abatement, which costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues, is set to expire in 2015. The question of its renewal -- and Cuomo's support for its renewal -- is a flashpoint in this year’s legislative session in Albany. Already, some New York City lawmakers are calling for its repeal. * "Progressive" Gentrification: One Community'sStruggle Against Affordable Housing


Every 10 Years Building Inspectors Get Arrested, What About the Johns (Developers and Landlords) Who Hire Them?

Dozens of New York City building inspectors and contractors are expected to be arrested today in a bribery scheme to speed up approval of construction permits, the Daily News writes: City building inspectors, contractors to be charged in pay-to-play bribery probe * 100+ locations bldg inspectors bribed to approve faulty construction says @ManhattanDA *ManhattanDA: Arrests Made In Widespread Building Inspector Bribery Scheme  * An alleged scheme involving builders bribing New York City employees to fast-track projects led to nearly 50 arrests, including two Buildings Department borough chiefs and 13 city inspectors, the Daily News reports
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This Case Was Not Started By the Manhattan DA or DOI but With A Whistleblower
Nearly 50 city building inspectors, construction contractors and two alleged mob associates surrendered to authorities early Tuesday as part of a huge pay-to-play scheme where builders are accused of paying city employees to fast-track their projects.
16 City Employees Arrested in Department ofBuildings Bribery Probe (NYO) City building inspectors, contractors to be charged inpay-to-play bribery probe (NYDN)*
Manhattan DA: Arrests Made In Widespread Building Inspector Bribery Scheme  * Building inspectors took bribes to ignore code violations: DA(NYP) In other cases, tenants were ordered out of their homes for no reason so the landlords could sell and make more profit, the DA said.* CONDEMNED: Dozens of NYC building inspectors and contractors surrender to authorities over $450,000 bribery scam (NYDN) * New York City Buildings Inspectors Charged in Bribe Schemes  (NYT) Prosecutors say 16 city employees exploited their positions to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. Dozens of property managers and owners, expediters and other construction workers also face charges.* 'Expeditor' whoallegedly paid off Department of Buildings employees in $450K bribery schemestill on lam after 3 months (NYDN)  David Weiszer, 65, is accused of making payments in relation to the massive bribery scheme that saw 50 people arrested on Tuesday. He has been on the run since cops seized records from his Pennsylvania home in November, according to police.* CORRUPT TO THE CORE: NYC building inspectors, contractors surrender to authorities over $450K bribery scheme(NYDN)



If the City is Building A Record Number of Affordable Housing Why Has the Number of Homeless Increased By 10%


BdB undecided on extending 'affordable' housing tax break (NYP)   * The Association for Neighborhood and Housing DevelopmentInc. released a report that tracks and maps the number of market-rate and affordable housing units created through the 421a tax break: * Mayor Bill de Blasio named Leonard Litwin, a developer tied to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s alleged misdeeds, to the committee spearheading the push      to host the Democratic National Convention in Brooklyn, the Post reports:  * Brooklyn's gentrification profiteers are expanding theirboundaries to East New York: (NY Mag) * "Crown Heights is the new Manhattan," says rent-gouging propertymanager  * Sad how many of these stories we've heard: Brooklynlandlords pushing black tenants out for whites: (NYP) * The homeless population has risen to an all-time high, forcing the de Blasio administration to house desperate families in decrepit tenements red-flagged by its own inspectors as hazardous. Since he arrived at City Hall pledging to turn things around, the mayor has struggled to confront a long-intractable problem that has only gotten worse.* Homeless populationhits record highs, up 10% since de Blasio took office.(NYDN)





Affordable Housing is Only A Numbers Game
By Highlighting Housing Gains, de Blasio Raises a Counting Question(NYT)  Mayor Bill de Blasio said that his administration was on pace to meet his 10-year affordable housing goals, but his predecessor might take issue with his first-year tally. Mr. Bloomberg, who had his own affordable housing goal of 165,000 units, said before he left office that 160,000 of the homes would be completed by the time his final term ended in 2013, with the rest on track to be finished by June 2014 — the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. According to the Independent Budget Office, about 8,700 units were included in either new construction or preservation projects that received financing — the point at which they are counted toward the city’s housing goals — from January 2014 to June 2014. That means they spanned both the 2013-14 fiscal year, which began under Mr. Bloomberg, and the 2014 calendar year, Mr. de Blasio’s first 12 months in City Hall.* No affordable housing is going up south of 96th St.(NYDN) More Numbers Games from the Mayor:Trafic De Blasio said 2014was the safest year in traffic on record. But a WNYC analysis finds that’s notexactly clear.

I agree with Senator Jesse Hamilton, 421A tax breaks should not apply to market rate developments. #WeNeedAffordableHousing


More on Affordable Housing


Affordable Housing

The de Blasio administration is considering a plan that would take advantage of a soaring luxury real-estate market to help the mayor’s $41 billion affordable-housing plan by raising taxes on top-priced apartment sales, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Affordable Housing Builders Owe Wages to Their Workers - Despite de Blasio's Vows to Help Working People  
REWARDING BAD BEHAVIOR: Contractors and developer who cheated workers out of $11.8M in wages receiving millions to build affordable housing in city — despite Mayor de Blasio’s vows to help working people(NYDN)   That’s how much an elite group of 10 contractors and one developer now building affordable units across the city owed this year to workers cheated out of wages they were supposed to get, a Daily News investigation has found. Some members of the team helping Mayor de Blasio reach his dream of increasing the supply of affordable apartments in New York have a dirty little secret — an $11.8 million one. That’s how much an elite group of 10 contractors and one developer now building affordable units across the city owed this year to workers cheated out of wages they were supposed to get, a Daily News investigation has found.* Bill’s hire calling (NYDN Ed)To deal with income inequality here, we must do more to prepare today's New Yorkers for the jobs of tomorrow



Affordable Housing Canard or Tale  



Queens councilman smashes‘affordable’ $2,700 rent(NYP) An angry City Council member Monday blasted a de Blasio administration-backed “affordable housing” project in Queens for allowing rent on a “discounted” one-bedroom to top out at $2,700 per month. That’s simply not affordable, Queens Councilman Costa Costantinides said. The push-back came one week after the City Planning Commission gave approval to the Astoria Cove project, which calls for 345 of the planned 1,723 apartments — 20 percent — to be set aside as affordable. But of those lower-cost units, only 10 percent are guaranteed to be priced for “low income” New Yorkers — leaving the developer with significant flexibility to target moderate- and middle-income residents. * Council promises final say on Astoria Cove 'affordability (Capital)

The Jerks in the Council Pushing Out Small Landlords and Helping Take-Over Landlords of Push Tenants Out
NYC City Hall Shaming BadLandlords for ‘Inflicting Pain for Profits’(epochtimes) Committee chair Jumaane Williams said the point of the bill was not to fine all landlords $10,000, but to increase protection for tenants in the right.  The bill may be counterproductive for smaller landlords, however. Frank Ricci, director of government affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, told Wall Street Journal the fines could put small landlords out of business and encourage selling their properties to institutional investors. The large institutional owners are typically the landlords who have the ability to hire entire portfolios of lawyers and systematically try to push tenants out if they so wish. Stories of tenants bewildered over the level of constant harassment they receive over a few hundred dollars is common, because the apartments they live in are potential multi-million condos.   According to lawyers and small landlords, the debt taken in purchasing a building full of rent-stabilized units, which may have had no mortgage when the small landlord owned it, basically calls for turning over all the regulated apartments



Affordable Housing Fix? Guess 
 A city program that provides millions of dollars annually in low-interest loans for private landlords to rehabilitate affordable housing units rarely bothered to verify if those landlords repaired building violations that their loan arrangements required them to fix, the Daily News’ JuanGonzalez writes: 




The Jerks in the Council Pushing Out Small Landlords and Helping Take-Over Landlords of Push Tenants Out
NYC City Hall Shaming BadLandlords for ‘Inflicting Pain for Profits’(epochtimes) Committee chair Jumaane Williams said the point of the bill was not to fine all landlords $10,000, but to increase protection for tenants in the right.  The bill may be counterproductive for smaller landlords, however. Frank Ricci, director of government affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, told Wall Street Journal the fines could put small landlords out of business and encourage selling their properties to institutional investors. The large institutional owners are typically the landlords who have the ability to hire entire portfolios of lawyers and systematically try to push tenants out if they so wish. Stories of tenants bewildered over the level of constant harassment they receive over a few hundred dollars is common, because the apartments they live in are potential multi-million condos.   According to lawyers and small landlords, the debt taken in purchasing a building full of rent-stabilized units, which may have had no mortgage when the small landlord owned it, basically calls for turning over all the regulated apartments



NYT Poor Door Excuses and Protection for Pols 

The state comptroller’s office cited problems including a poor choice of projects, including some that were deemed “infeasible.”

The Affordable Housing Plan and News Conference That Nobody Understands What Affordable Is  

At announcement of affordable housing seminars, celebratory air out of sync with reality of some not-so-affordable units(AYR)

The flyer is here and in Spanish here
It's surely progress, the series of seminarsannounced yesterday to inform people how to apply for affordable housing lotteries, helping them ensure they properly fill out applications and try to clean up their credit.But the press conference yesterday at Borough Hall, led by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, with several elected officials, developers' representatives, and nonprofit organizers, had an air of celebration and triumph out of sync with the reality. "They're removing the 'No Vacancy'' sign," declared an effusive Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "1100 [affordable] units will no longer be out of reach for the everyday Brooklynite." "This is so Brooklyn can stay in Brooklyn," declared 35th District Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who said the idea for seminars grew out of conversations she had on the campaign trail.
"We are extremely proud of our affordable housing program at Atlantic Yards," declared Forest City Ratner's Melissa Burch, the only developer's representative to speak at the press conference. (Forest City will have the largest amount of subsidized units, and its CEO co-chairs the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.)
Actually, the affordability of the coming subsidized units was glossed over significantly, as well as the difficulty of winning a highly competitive lottery, even with 50% of the units set aside for residents of the local Community Board (or Boards) where the project is located.
Subsidized ≠ "low income"
Though Rob Solano of Churches United for Fair Housing--the sponsor of the first seminar--spoke with emotion about ten people sharing a bathroom, and people having to sleep on couches, many of the affordable units will be out of reach of such low-income residents. (The first seminar is tomorrow at 6:30 pm at Brown Memorial Baptist Church, 484 Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill. RSVP to Churches United for Fair Housingjaylin@cuffh.org.) No one at the press conference explained who'd be eligible for the 1100 units. Nor did they appear to welcome questions. DBP President Tucker Reed took three questions and chose, as the last questioner, someone who clearly wasn't press (no pen, notebook, or camera). When I asked Reed afterward how the 1100 units were split among low-, moderate-, and middle-income units, he said he didn't know but I could contact the developers


* A study from the Real Estate Board of New York finds that landmarking historic neighborhoods could make it more difficult for de Blasio to fulfill his affordable housing goals, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/SrSKWH

Landlords, tenants in crossfire as rent freeze battle looms(NYDN)

* New York City’s Department of City Planning has been studying 12 to 15 neighborhoods across the five boroughs, including East New York and parts of central Brooklyn that are “ripe for increased density,” Crain’s reports: http://goo.gl/PV2Oor

* Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development to de Blasio, sees “some amazing opportunities” to develop senior housing in and around existing NYCHA developments, which would in turn allow families to move into the larger apartments now occupied by those seniors, Capital New York reports: http://goo.gl/2YdGMn 


s

NYT Disconnect From de Blasio's Build Baby Build, the Barclays Gentrification Push Out
From the NYTs: The NYT calls de Blasio's housing plan timely and exciting mission.  His plan is to build aggressively and densely, and demand that a significant portion of new units be permanently affordable.  Use all means possible to protect what’s there, including strengthening rent regulations and tripling, to $36 million a year, the amount the city spends to protect tenants from greedy landlords in housing court.   

Mr. de Blasio’s skeptics are right about some real estate truisms; the people with lots of money are poised to win no matter what — they will get their water views and dog salons — and developers will profit mightily. And in parts of the city on the churning edge of the gentrification wave, as in stretches of Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, where storefront Pentecostal churches and old brownstones mix with banh mi places and ironic coffee shops, displacement seems inevitable. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center project gave developers and corporate tenants the tax breaks and profits they wanted, but the gauzy promise of an affordable neighborhood around it has not yet been fulfilled. In Manhattan, giant luxury towers still sprout skyward, while rich foreigners park their money in luxe apartments that stay empty.

Fact and Reality: The NYT is Right in Saying That Thousands of Affordable Housing Have Been Lost in the Barclays Center Area and Not One Affordable Apartment Has Been Open to Date Where is the proof that increase development leads to more affordable.  There is proof that increased development leads to gentrification push out.  Most of the 400 affordable planned for the Barclay site rent for $3500 hardly affordable to the seniors being forced out of their $700 Crown Heights Apartments. 

Summary: The Hidden Money Buying Up New York Real Estate (NYT) At the Time Warner Center, 37 percent of the condominiums are owned by foreigners. At least 16 foreigners who have owned in the building have been the subject of government inquiries, either personally or as heads of companies.  The real estate industry does little examination of buyers’ identities or backgrounds, and there is no legal requirement for it to do so. Nearly half of the most expensive residential properties in the United States are now purchased anonymously through shell companies.




The Rent Battle 1% 
The New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted not to follow Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to freeze rents, instead opting for historically low increases of up to 1 percent for one-year leases and 2.75 percent for two-year lease
Rent Guidelines Board member who voted down the rent freeze took off on a plane(NYDN)
Steven Flax, a banker who was appointed by Mayor de Blasio but disregarded the mayor’s support for a rent freeze for stabilized tenants, was too upset to explain his vote, she said.
Transparency Law Gave Landlords Edge in Rent Vote (WSJ)
Rent-stabilized apartments to get 1 percent increase on one-year leases, 2.75 percent for two-year leases: (NYT) * De Blasio: Rent increase 'not a surprise' (Capital)
De Blasio's Appointees On Rent Board Vote In Favor Of 'Modest' Rent Increase
* De Blasio said he disagrees with the vote to modestly increase rents for regulated apartments by the Rent Guidelines Board, and left open the possibility of replacing some of the board's members in the future, Crain’s reports: 
Rent Guidelines Board enacts NYC’s lowest-ever rent hike*NYP)
The board that regulates rents for nearly one million apartments in New York City voted on Monday night to allow the lowest percentage rent increase of its 45-year-existence, though it rebuffed calls from Mayor Bill de Blasio for a freeze.* How New York’s taxes drive up rents(NYP)*ANTI-FREEZE: Rent board decision to approve 1% hikes for 1-year leases in city sparks protests by furious tenants 
Report on heated #rentfreeze debate last night at RentGuidelines Board, via @citylimitsorg
Mayor for rent(nyp)
Rent irregulation(NYDN)

Mayor de Blasio fell just short of getting the rent freeze he had ordered up. But make no mistake: The 1% hike on one-year leases approved Monday night by the Rent Guidelines Board — a historic low — is very much a victory for his populist reign.

Rent board rejects freeze, votes 1% hikes for 1-year leasesin city  
Rent board rejects freeze,(NYDN) approves 1% hikes for 1-year leases in city The nine-member panel voted 5-4 to reject the proposed freeze favored by Mayor de Blasio on Monday. Angry tenants stormed the stage after the vote while landlords also fumed, saying the low hikes weren’t much better than a freeze.

How New York’s taxes drive up rents(NYP Ed)*The Daily News writes that by calling for no rent increases and leading the charge on Long Island College Hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio created unreasonable expectations, but now the demands of governing appear to have taught him the lesson that wishing will not make it so  Facing Pressure From Tenant Groups, Board Is Set to Vote on Rent Freeze (NYT) For the first time in its history, the Rent Guidelines Board may vote to freeze rent prices for one year for nearly 1 million apartments in New York City. * The New York City Rent Guidelines Board is set to vote today on whether it will freeze rent increases for the first time since its formation in 1969, something landlords argue will set a dangerous precedent* The rent is due(NYDN) An increase of zero breaks the law of economics* De Blasio to rent board: 'Think deeply' Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday stopped short of calling for a rent freeze for the city’s nearly 1 million rent-regulated apartments, despite supporting one during his 2013 campaign. Mr. de Blasio instead called on the Rent Guidelines Board, which will vote on regulated rents Monday, to “think deeply” about what he described as New York’s affordability crisis. [MetropolisPlus: The de Blasio administration’s plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable-housing units launched amid sharp criticism from one tenant advocate. [The Insider]* Final Vote Tonight on Proposed Rent Hikes (NY1)* @BilldeBlasio calls for 1-year rent freeze, contradictingwhat one of his aides @DMAliciaGlen saidvia @andyjayhawk* Mayor Bill de Blasio Calls for Rent Guidelines Board to Freeze Rates(NYO)



Mayor's Affordable Plan More an Outline Says Many Housing Experts  . . .     

Wednesday


With Caution, a Poor Corner of Brooklyn Welcomes an Affordable Housing Plan(NYT) The East New York neighborhood could emerge as a centerpiece of the mayor’s 10-year plan, which includes a push for more residential development, , and residents are cautiously welcoming the idea of more development and affordable housing.* Mayor Requests Washington Help With Housing Mayor Bill de Blasio met with top federal lawmakers, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, seeking billions of federal dollars to help finance his affordable housing plan, the New York Post reports:  * De Blasio seeks affordable-housing money in Washington(NYP) * Catholic Church will aid Mayor de Blasio's plan to add affordable housing (NYDN)
UFT Health Care Costs Uncertainty * Moody’s weighed in on New York City’s teachers union contract, saying that it “could eliminate” fiscal uncertainty but that it comes at a “large” cost and relies on questionable assumptions, State of Politics reports:   * Despite assurances from teachers union leaders that members “should not” have to pay more toward their health insurance as a result of their agreement with the city, it could still happen, Capital New York reports:

Efforts to Make Part of Airbnb Business Legal On the Same Day the Mayor Declares A Housing Shortage That is Pushing Out the Poor and Middle Class
A group of affordable housing advocates, labor unions and tenant associations is opposing a pair of bills in the state Legislature that would loosen restrictions on New Yorkers who use Airbnb.com to rent out their apartments, the Daily News reports
More About Airbnb and Their Lobbyists
More on Gentrification
How NYC is Losing the Middle Class



DE BLASIO’S HOUSING PLAN: After a brief delay, Mayor de Blasio is set to unveil details this morning on how he’ll create 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. De Blasio has already pushed developers to add more affordable units to their developments, but most of those agreements only added incrementally to deals he inherited from Michael Bloomberg. Today is Bill de Blasio’s first real step toward accomplishing his goal. He’s blamed “gentrification, unscrupulous landlords and the real estate lobby’s hold on government” as factors that led to a lack of affordable housing in New York City. And the plan is expected to take a broad approach, building not on one particular initiative, but many. “De Blasio is right that high rent in New York City squeezes many residents.--THE 116-PAGE PLAN, “Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan” PDF
More on Gentrification and Race
More About Real Estate Developers, Tax Breakes and Politics
Affordable Housing, Building, Low Wages




New York again led the nation in per pupil school spending, up 2.4 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
East New York can support a lot more density, Weisbrod says. Notes it's a 30 min commute to lower Manhattan. 
De Blasio housing plan requires construction of 8000 new affordable apts each yr - 60% increase over avg annual construction in last 10 yrs.
City will be looking to reduce parking requirements in areas with good transit to build affordable housing cheaper, Weisbrod says.
Affordable housing plan assumes feds will continue funding city at current, "appallingly low" rate, Weisbrod says. 
Planning boss Weisbrod: "We can't just impose rezonings on neighborhoods from afar." Promises more engagement. 
* East New York will be the first of 15 neighborhoods tapped for de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, according to New York City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/4eGsrz

THE HOUSING PLAN -- De Blasio officials talk taxes, rents, zoning -- Some key parts of Bill de Blasio’s housing policy started to come into focus yesterday, thanks to an extended interview with Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing, and Council testimony from Vicki Been, the commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Our Dana Rubinstein and Ryan Hutchins break down all the news:
--No Christie-level tax subsidies -- Rubinstein and Hutchins: The de Blasio administration doesn't have any plans of trying to compete with the almost-too-good-to-be-true tax-incentive program New Jersey has used in recent months to retain and attract thousands of jobs, Glen said at a Citizens Budget Commission event. "With respect to discretionary tax incentives to retain particular industries who are already located here, that is not something that we're going to get engaged in. We're not going to be in a situation where we're negotiating against other states to retain those kinds of jobs.” http://goo.gl/kgFe9y
--Coming soon: Midtown East -- Rubinstein: Glen said the administration would reveal plans for Midtown East in the"next week or two.” But the actual process would take a while. "In real life it's going to be between a year and two before you'd actually see anything happen," she went on. "So it's not the number one thing we're working on right now, but we're going to announce a process which will then give you a time frame in which it will actually happen." http://goo.gl/l2nwlv
Thoughtful read on density as density-and who it leaves behind, by cc

Albany Expands Effort to Cap Regulated Rents for Older Tenants(NYT)
Elected officials and advocates for the aged are pushing for a public awareness campaign to ensure that tenants are taking advantage of the program.* Though part of the state budget funds an expansion of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption—a program that allows older New York City residents to freeze their rents—supporters say the program has been underused and may fall short of its potential, the Times reports: http://goo.gl/A5PBDt

Landmarks Panel Votes to Protect 2 Upper East Side Tenements(NYT)
Permission to demolish two six-story buildings on York Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets was denied.


1 Year Rent Freeze Possible. . .     
Rent Board Backs Raises Much Smaller Than Usual(NYT)
The recommendations of New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board include the possibility of a freeze for one-year leases. The board will take a final vote in June.* Tenants could see rent freeze after Rent Guidelines Board votes for 0% to 3% hike(NYDN) * Nearly a million New Yorkers could get rent freeze(Capital)The Rent Guidelines Board voted overwhelmingly Monday to consider a zero-percent increase.* Rent Guidelines Board Vote Could Indicate Swing Toward Renters(NY1) * Too damn low? (NYDN) Someone has to pay the rent

What’s Next, a Bouncer?(NYT)
Rent-Regulated Tenants Excluded From Amenities

Low-income NYC seniors catch a break on rent hikes(NYP)
In a little-noticed move, the City Council has increased the income threshold from $29,000 to $50,000 for getting the government to cover the cost of rent hikes under the SCRIE program.


 Avowed liberal Mayor de Blasio Wednesday tried to reassure developers and bankers that he's on their team in his quest to solve the city's affordable housing crisis. “We drive a hard bargain, but in exchange we're going to be a partner to move things quickly and efficiently,” he pledged in a speech to the New York State Association of Affordable Housing, the group of developers and bankers that build cheaper housing, usually in exchange for tax breaks and zoning deals.


The Rent is Tooooo Low?

































































Urstadt warns NYC could become 'Havana'(CrainsNY) The former state official who helped author a bill that gave control of rent regulation in the city to Albany years ago argues that returning it here would be a disaster.


































































 . says won’t be able to accomplish his housing plan “unless Washington” steps in.
 
Union's Agree to Two Levels of Pay  . . . Union, Developers and Lobbyists Affordable Housing Deal Makes Low Wages Legal
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York has proposed as much as 40 percent in cost savings for the city if the de Blasio administration includes union labor in its 10-year affordable housing building plan, the Post writes: * Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to unveil his affordable housing plan, and for it to be a real success, it should make New York City a great place to live for all income levels, Nancy Biberman writes in amNewYork: *Unions May Hire Low-Wage Workers for Mayor's Affordable ...(DNAINFO) City Hall and construction unions discuss a new labor tier with workers for affordable projects. * Unions offer pay cuts for jobs in affordable-housing plan(NYP)

Flashback Problem 
Affordable Housing Goes Hand With Low Wages and Cheating
On April 14th the Daily News Exposes the Under Belly of the Small Group of Developers Who Control Affordable Housing Construction

(NYDN) Mayor de Blasio promises to build more affordable apartments in New York City, but several contractors working on these projects have been cited for wage cheating and dangerous working conditions. These big players have paid out a total of $11.1 million in back wages in the last three years, records show. Their shady track record doesn’t keep them from working on new city projects. The mayor's campaign to build more affordable apartments has a dirty little underbelly: Many of the contractors who build cheaper units have been cited repeatedly for cheating workers out of a decent wage, a Daily News investigation has found.An affordable housing project a few blocks away, builder MDG Design and subcontractor F. Rizos, settled federal wage-cheating charges in April 2013 by agreeing to pay $960,000 in back wages. Just one month later, MDG was hit with more wage-cheating charges on another city project, this time for $4.5 million in back wages, a city record. Workers not included on certified employee lists are told to hide when inspectors show up. Contractors write checks at prevailing wage rates, then make workers kick back a percentage to keep their jobs. “Over and over again, HPD goes back to the same small group of contractors that it has done business with for years,” said Robert Bonanza, head of the 17,000-member Mason Tenders District Council. “Regardless of their status with other government agencies, and regardless of the crimes they have committed against workers, HPD continues to do business as it always has.” Domingo Reyes, 46, who also has four children, said he was “promoted” to foreman but continued to get the same paycheck as the workers he oversaw. His boss instructed him to hide the cheating from inspectors by keeping some workers off the “certified” sheet submitted to the city: “We are 30 people working and there are half of the people on the sheet. This happens every day at 3 o’clock.” To date, the biggest wage cheating case in the city involves MDG Design. The $4.5 million decision ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor found MDG owed back wages from work at an HPD-funded project called Grand Street Guild. MDG has contested the finding. Despite this black eye, HPD then announced MDG’s involvement in building 55 affordable units at a city-owned warehouse at 337 Berry St. in Williamsburg. On its application for this job, MDG did not mention the pending case involving the Grand Street Guild project. Developers Oppose Landmarking Older Buildings A bill proposed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer would allow for a 30-day landmarks preservation review for older buildings set to be demolished, to the chagrin of developers, construction unions and affordable housing advocates, the Post writes:
More About Affordable Housing Problems
Real Estate, Tax Breakes and Politics
Sometimes the "tale of two cities" exists within the same building in NYC

Mayor has housing dilemma

Will Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable-housing plan provide enough new units for the growing city? And are the mayor's incentives good enough to entice developers? Greg David breaks down the numbers on Mr. de Blasio's new housing initiative. [Greg David on New York]

Tuesday Reaction to the Housing Plan
NYT de Blasio's Housing Plan To the Moon, NYP Higher Renters From Inclusionary Zoning

Mr. de Blasio’s Moon Shot(NYT Ed) If the mayor is going to keep his promise and end the city’s crisis of inequality and housing unaffordability, he must go big. And it looks as if he’s doing so.* Faint housing hope(NYP Ed) Mandating  set-aside, as the new housing plan proposes, risks driving development away altogether — a problem that NYU’s Furman Center noted last year, when its director was Vicki Been, whom de Blasio has since named to head the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

A Furman paper observed that “mandatory inclusionary zoning” might “render potential projects less profitable or completely unprofitable,” such that “the development would not be built at all.” In other words, by requiring so much subsidized housing, it could lead developers to drop marginal projects altogether. Furman also warned that developers might “try to pass the added costs on to market-rate tenants and buyers if the market allows it.” In this view, inclusionary zoning could lead to higher overall rents, fueling a need for yet more affordable housing, with the city effectively chasing its own tail. * As de Blasio announces affordable housing plan, Atlantic Yards (delay, modular, lack of neighborhood planning) remains an awkward backdrop(AYR) * Also on Inside City Hall, the city’s top housing officials touted Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s affordable housing plan that was unveiled yesterday. “I think it moves the needle … more than a little bit. It makes a big dent in the affordable housing crisis. But it is certainly not going to solve the housing crisis alone,” said Carl Weisbrod, chair of the city’s Planning Commission. * Bill de Blasio’s Housing Plan Short on Specifics, Experts Say(NYO) * Experts are saying de Blasio’s ambitious, 116-page housing plan is short on specifics, with one former congressman who served as chairman of the House’s housing subcommittee calling it “more of an outline of a plan,” the Observer reports:



In a piece titled “De Blasio’s New Plan to Create or Save 200,000 Cheap Apartments Is Going to Make a Lot of People Angry in Many Neighborhoods” 
New York‘s Chris Smith writes, “But what’s most striking about the plan [is] … that by launching such a far-reaching program, instead of focusing on a narrower list of goals, de Blasio has ensured himself hundreds of political fights trying to make it happen.” * The Daily News editorial board would likely agree with Mr. Smith’s premise. “City Hall disingenuously says that it wants to only move to build affordable housing where communities are demanding it. As de Blasio himself knows from the Atlantic Yards development, which he rightly backed against furious neighborhood resistance, there will be fights. Loud ones,” the tabloid argued.* In a New York Post column, the Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock was even more disenchanted. “In short, the de Blasio plan is built on what has long been the city’s dysfunctional dogma,” he wrote. “A real free market for the city’s housing market isn’t on the horizon at present, though. We may have to settle for not strangling private development altogether.” *  The New York Times editorial board, meanwhile, was more upbeat on the topic: “[I]f Mr. de Blasio really is going to keep his campaign promise … he is going to have to go big. And this plan is what big looks like. … The all-important details have yet to be filled in, but the mayor has locked himself in with a hard and fast number: 200,000 or bust.” * And here’s video, via NYTrue.com, of Mr. de Blasio taking questions during yesterday’s housing press conference: 


Expect Homeless Numbers To Go 
Mayor's Housing Plan Gives the Homeless Families Priority Jumping the Long Wait List for NYCHA Apartments

An aggressive new effort to move homeless families from shelters into NYCHA apartments is a key part of Mayor de Blasio’s attack on the city’s affordable housing crisis, writes our Greg B. Smith. The Housing Authority’s waiting list has grown dramatically, to 250,000 from 160,000, in a year — and the new policy will allow homeless families to effectively jump the line and grab coveted apartments when they open up. * Priority given to homeless in finding NYCHA apartments(NYDN)


He’s right too about needing more units,” the New York Post editorial board writes. “And there’s even a good case to be made for a trade-off he appears willing to accept: higher density and taller buildings coupled with more affordable units. We look forward to the details.”* Of the 200,000 units in 'a affordable housing plan, 80k are new. 120k preserved. .'s comment that affordable housing should be built w/ union labor may alarm some affordable developers, who say it's too costly. . on affordable housing: "Build high, build tall. We don't have more land, but we have air rights."* De Blasio now quotes Fiorello LaGuardia, who he calls greatest mayor in city's history, on urgency of building affordable housing. * 22 of 109 units at Lighthouse Point in St. George will be held for those making 60% of the area median income.* "We’re going to take a very hard look at where we’re able to identify sites where we can rezone or upzone," Alicia says.

Expensive Bill for de Blasio Progressive Agenda
De Blasio’s policies are driving up the cost of living in New York(Goodwin, NYP)Twice in the last week, the mayor described his ideas as the political equivalent of the Second Coming. First with his deal with the teachers union, and now with his affordable-housing plan, de Blasio promises to drive a stake through the heart of inequality and make the city more affordable.The local tab alone for his progressive vision is a whopping $13.6 billion, give or take. And where will that money come from? Open wide, dear taxpayer.


DE BLASIO’S HOUSING PLAN: After a brief delay, Mayor de Blasio is set to unveil details this morning on how he’ll create 200,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years. De Blasio has already pushed developers to add more affordable units to their developments, but most of those agreements only added incrementally to deals he inherited from Michael Bloomberg. Today is Bill de Blasio’s first real step toward accomplishing his goal. He’s blamed “gentrification, unscrupulous landlords and the real estate lobby’s hold on government” as factors that led to a lack of affordable housing in New York City. And the plan is expected to take a broad approach, building not on one particular initiative, but many. “De Blasio is right that high rent in New York City squeezes many residents.--THE 116-PAGE PLAN, “Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan” PDF


Will Never Be Royals?

Our Harry Siegel's column: Mayor de Blasio hasn’t done so much yet — give him time! — but he’s sure not shy about trumpeting what he has... Take his long-awaited 115-page affordable housing plan released Monday, which is more outline than roadmap. It’s a plan, the Mayor said, that will “address the crisis in inequality” and “change the face of this city forever, and for the good of our people.”


4) Bloomberg initially pledged to build 92k and preserve 73k; it ended up building ~50k, preserving the rest* . says city will use some NYCHA units to house homeless, but won't be completely overhauling eligibility rules * . says there will be variety of construction, suggests some will be union & some not.* Large swaths of Staten Island don't want affordable housing - or any increase in housing density, due to poor infrastructure as is.* Planning commissioner Carl Weisbrod says administration may consider re-rezoning areas that Bloomberg admin already rezoned.* De Blasio unveils $41.1B affordable housing plan(NYP)

 De Blasio Unveils Plan to Create More Affordable Housing for City(NYT) de Blasio unveiled a 10-year, $41.1 billion housing plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units, with $8.2 billion from the city and over $30 billion in private funds* Mayor de Blasio unveils $41B proposal to develop 200,000 units of affordable housing(NYDN) * De Blasio Unveils ‘Most Ambitious’ Affordable Housing Plan in Nation(NYO) * . unveils his 10-year, 200K-unit, $41B housing plan: (CrainsNY) The affordable housing community and the real estate industry praised de Blasio’s housing plan, which would allow more density in some areas by allowing bigger and taller buildings, and a streamlined process* Mayor Unveils 'Ambitious' 10-Year Affordable * De Blasio’s New Plan to Create or Save 200,000 Cheap Apartments Is Going to Make a Lot of People Angry (NY Mag) The City Council, for instance, has already beaten back a mayoral attempt to streamline the labyrinthine zoning approval process — because individual council members would have had to surrender power over what gets built in their districts. On the one hand, that’s the kind of grassroots democracy de Blasio celebrates; on the other, it promises headaches when he proposes building specific projects in specific neighborhoods.* De Blasio’s plan anticipates needing an additional $1.9 billion, during the next ten years, primarily from federal and state sources who aren’t exactly flush.* Council Housing Committee Chair Wants a Bolder Plan From City Hall(NYO) * . $41B housing plan to produce 7,100 jobs. That's $5.8 million/job. * No mention of modular housing, no mention of SROs, almost nothing on NYCHA, almost nothing on union labor
deception from housing plan: "The City will work with the MTA and other Tivoli Towers Residents Resist City Orders to Move to Smaller Apartments(DNAINFO)
Federally-subsidized tenants at a Crown Heights high rise are fighting a plan to force them to move into smaller units, enlisting help from elected officials who are trying to convince the city to let them stay where they are.


--AND LACK THEREOF: The written plan calls for bringing more housing to Atlantic Avenue, which it said “offers the greatest opportunity for higher-density, mixed-use development with several large opportunity sites,” and said that “the transit corridors of Pitkin Avenue and Fulton Street,” are also prime for new investment, as are Hunter’s Point South, Stapleton and Coney Island, assuming they get some infrastructure upgrades. http://goo.gl/xAPhps

--THE DETAILS: It's a plan that relies heavily on the private sector, envisioning $30 billion in private investment, $2.9 billion in federal and state assistance, and $8.2 billion in city funding, including $6.7 billion in capital dollars—money for direct housing subsidies. The administration would not disclose where that capital funding would come from, referring reporters instead to the release of the mayor’s capital budget later this week.

 Or take one of the bigger surprises from today’s announcement. De Blasio was expected to adopt mandatory inclusionary zoning — that is, any private housing developer receiving city funds would be required to set aside a significant percentage of units that would rent below market rates. The mayor does indeed want mandatory inclusionary zoning—but he’s commissioning a study that may take another year, to try to tailor the percentages to individual re-zonings. Flexibility is good — it just means de Blasio’s team will need to work even harder to hit its targets.

And some of the mayor’s proposed cures for income inequality — especially his emphasis on subsidizing housing for lower income instead of middle-class families — will be criticized as ensuring that New York is two cities instead of three. To foster “inclusive neighborhoods,” de Blasio’s plan is generous to seniors, the homeless, and families of four making less than $67,000 annually. Just 22 percent of the affordable units are devoted to families with “moderate” and “middle” incomes — from $67,000 to $138,000. One element of the formula — increased “density” — will stoke controversy if the mayor intends to construct taller towers in gentrified neighborhoods.
De Blasio has hired some skilled lieutenants to design and implement his housing ideas, chief among them Alicia Glen, his deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development and a former top executive at Goldman Sachs. Some of the complexities facing Glen and her team could be seen right down the street from the mayor’s press conference in Fort Greene this morning. More than ten years after Atlantic Yards was announced, the Nets are in the playoffs, but not a single unit of housing — affordable or otherwise — has opened on the site. And the project’s developer is back at City Hall seeking more taxpayer subsidies.
De Blasio, thankfully, isn’t suggesting another stadium-anchored housing complex, though his plan does mention building atop other, unspecified railyards. Still, for all the big numbers and big ideas in the housing plan, probably the wisest thing the mayor and his top deputies did today was ask for patience.


* Jumaane Williams, the Chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, gave a generally positive assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing announcement yesterday. However, Williams would like to see de Blasio make repealing the Urstadt law a top priority, and deepen the affordability threshold. Passed in 1971, Urstadt put New York City rent regulation in the hands of the State, which has generally leaned toward deregulation. Williams lauded de Blasio’s 50/30/20 mixed income program (50 percent middle income, 30 percent moderate income, 20 percent low income), but pushed for even more affordability.  “They talked about 80/20 kind of being outdated and we need a new model…I’m hoping he will research some of the other models because I think we need to dig a little deeper to get more of the lower income band,” Williams said. In this vein, Williams has been a vocal advocate of regional AMIs [Area Median Income]—the current AMI used by HUD includes Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties, which have higher median incomes than New York City. Williams also repeated a familiar refrain of his: that many studies show that the city actually needs an additional 400,000 units of affordable housing, not the mayor's touted 200,000 number.
  
200,000 Affordable Housing Plan

Mayor de Blasio to unveil affordable housing plan to meet his pledge of 200,000 below-market units — 'We say it is the outer limit and that’s what we have to reach for'(NYDN) * Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is calling for one-third of the New York City Department of Homeless Services’ $955 million budget to be transferred to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to create new affordable housing, the Daily News reports:* One of Mayor de Blasio’s key allies is calling on him to create more affordable housing in Manhattan, reports our Corinne Lestch. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer suggests one-third of the Department of Homeless Services’ $955 million budget be transferred to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to create new permanent affordable housing, with priority given to people in shelters.* Nearly two dozen New York City Council members are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to dramatically shift the city’s affordable housing model ahead of a major speech on the matter he’s expected to deliver later this week, the Observer reports: 


Unions offer pay cuts for jobs in affordable-housing plan(NYP) Construction unions are so ­eager to get in on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to build 200,000 units of affordable housing that they’ve ­offered to take a pay cut, sources told... 

Affordable Housing Goes Hand and Hand With Low Wages and Cheating
The Daily News Exposes the Under Belly of the Small Group of Developers Who Control Affordable Housing Construction

(NYDN) Mayor de Blasio promises to build more affordable apartments in New York City, but several contractors working on these projects have been cited for wage cheating and dangerous working conditions. These big players have paid out a total of $11.1 million in back wages in the last three years, records show. Their shady track record doesn’t keep them from working on new city projects. The mayor's campaign to build more affordable apartments has a dirty little underbelly: Many of the contractors who build cheaper units have been cited repeatedly for cheating workers out of a decent wage, a Daily News investigation has found.An affordable housing project a few blocks away, builder MDG Design and subcontractor F. Rizos, settled federal wage-cheating charges in April 2013 by agreeing to pay $960,000 in back wages. Just one month later, MDG was hit with more wage-cheating charges on another city project, this time for $4.5 million in back wages, a city record. Workers not included on certified employee lists are told to hide when inspectors show up. Contractors write checks at prevailing wage rates, then make workers kick back a percentage to keep their jobs. “Over and over again, HPD goes back to the same small group of contractors that it has done business with for years,” said Robert Bonanza, head of the 17,000-member Mason Tenders District Council. “Regardless of their status with other government agencies, and regardless of the crimes they have committed against workers, HPD continues to do business as it always has.” Domingo Reyes, 46, who also has four children, said he was “promoted” to foreman but continued to get the same paycheck as the workers he oversaw. His boss instructed him to hide the cheating from inspectors by keeping some workers off the “certified” sheet submitted to the city: “We are 30 people working and there are half of the people on the sheet. This happens every day at 3 o’clock.” To date, the biggest wage cheating case in the city involves MDG Design. The $4.5 million decision ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor found MDG owed back wages from work at an HPD-funded project called Grand Street Guild. MDG has contested the finding. Despite this black eye, HPD then announced MDG’s involvement in building 55 affordable units at a city-owned warehouse at 337 Berry St. in Williamsburg. On its application for this job, MDG did not mention the pending case involving the Grand Street Guild project. Developers Oppose Landmarking Older Buildings A bill proposed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer would allow for a 30-day landmarks preservation review for older buildings set to be demolished, to the chagrin of developers, construction unions and affordable housing advocates, the Post writes:

How the Bad Developers Get News City Contracts
James Capalino Lobbyists for Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP for the benefit of MDG Design & Construction LLC 
Lobbyists Lined Up To Help Host Million-Dollar Bill de Blasio/Hillary Clinton Fundraiser(NYDN). Among those on the host committee for the Roosevelt Hotel soiree: James Capalino, who in the past lobbied for Rudin Management, which is developing high-end condos near the site of the shuttered St. Vincent's Hospital, and A-list lobbyist Suri Kasirer, who has met with de Blasio on Atlantic Yards project. Also Lobbying for MDG Design and Construction  Bolton St. Johns. * L+M Development Lobbyists 99 Solutions  principal is Jacqui Williams, has represented a diverse roster of clients across many industries. Notably, for the past two years, she has been a Partner with one of the state’s top lobbying firms, Patricia Lynch Associates (PLA). Prior to joining PLA, Jacqui was Senior Vice President of Land Use and Corporate Affairs for Bill Lynch Associates. She has also served as Senior Account Executive with Yoswein New York.* L & M Development Partners close relationship with elected officials * The Committee to Scam New York - Public Accountability ...

One of the biggest builders of affordable housing in the city — L+M Development — is currently using another “enhanced review” contractor Contractors are held liable if their subcontractors break the law. L+M has received millions of dollars in tax breaks and taxpayer-subsidized low-interest loans to build 6,500 affordable units across the city. It’s now working on five projects and will likely bid on more. One of L+M’s subcontractors at a city-supported project at 11 Broadway in Williamsburg was MC&O Construction of Queens.MC&O has been hit with $266,000 in federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines for dangerous work-site conditions in 14 incidents since 2004, starting with a worker who fell 64 feet to his death at a job in the Bronx. To date the firm has paid $149,000 to settle the cases.  L+M recently hired MC&O for a luxury rental building in Long Island City — even after its owners pleaded guilty in 2012 to criminal charges of tax evasion and paying workers off the books. In October, OSHA cited the firm for job safety violations at that site, but they settled without demanding a fine.  More on L+M Development  *** DeBlasio admin slashes capacity at homeless shelter by half (does operator Aquila still get $47 million?)


High Rents Forcing Tenants Out of the Bronx
High rents have Bronx locals packing up(CrainsNY)



* The New York Times writes that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission needs to revise the process for protecting the old buildings that give the city character: http://goo.gl/lYwWhL

How NYC Can Solve Its Affordable Housing Crisis(Gothamist)


Affordable Housing De Blasio broke ground on Livonia Commons, an affordable housing project Capital New York reports:  * The acting commissioner of New York City’s

Housing Costs Rise, Goodbye Middle Class


Chase or Impossible Spin? Affordable Housing
New York State Reports Steep Rise in Housing Costs(NYP) More than three million New York households — over half the state’s renters and one-third of homeowners — cannot afford their homes, the state comptroller’s office disclosed.* Housing becoming more expensive for NYers: comptroller(NYP) * New York City continues chasing affordable housing(NYP)If your rent is too damn high, blame city government for trying to be Matthew McConaughey. Accepting his Oscar for Best Actor this month, McConaughey said one of the things he needs daily is “someone to chase” — so he chases himself, 10 years down the road. He knows he’ll never “catch” himself, of course. But at least he has someone to chase. When it comes to housing, the city is
also chasing something it will never catch — indeed, something that will never exist: the fantasy of affordable apartments for all who need them. And this chase only deepens Gotham’s never-ending apartment squeeze.* Half of New York residents can’t afford the rent: study(Real Deal) Since 2000, the share of renters in the state who put more than 30 percent of their income towards housing costs has increased sharply, from 40.5 percent to 50.6 percent, according to a report by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, released earlier this week.
How NYC is Losing the Middle Class
A new report by the Coalition for the Homeless shows that the number of people staying overnight in New York City shelters has hit a record of 53,615, with a 12 percent increase in the number of newly homeless families in the system, the Times writes: * Report: Number of Homeless in City Hits Record High (NY1) * NYC homelessness reaches all-time high, according to report(AMNY)
More on Affordable Housing 
More on How NYC is Losing the Middle Class

Affordable Housing Takes On a Different Look(WSJ)

With the scaffolding slowly coming down from a retrofitted P.S. 109, East Harlem residents are getting their first view at an affordable-housing project that stands in contrast to other such digs in the neighborhood.

Settlement Prevents Apartments' Foreclosure(WSJ)

Complaints Against Building Bigger
Complaints Build as a Cathedral Project Begins Its Rise(NYT) Officials at St. John the Divine say the church needs the money from the 430-apartment project, which neighborhood residents say is “monstrous.”







FEE CUT FOR LIVONIA DEAL: The developer of the Livonia Commons complex in East New York, Brooklyn, took a 15 percent cut in his developer's fee to help Mayor Bill de Blasio achieve his affordable housing goals, City & State’s Nick Powell reports: http://goo.gl/GCqwci

  North Brooklyn's rent hits a new record high, has gone up 9.5% in one year

Immigrants in City Bolster Housing Values

 

Freedom of Speech Lawsuit Against Tenants
EXCLUSIVE: Harlem homeowners hit back at 'rich, powerful' real estate developer who slapped them with $4.25M lawsuit(NYDN) Three Harlem homeowners in a city-subsidized co-op want one of the city’s most prominent real estate developers to pick on someone his own size. The lawsuit was filed by Madison Park Development Associates, headed by BFC Partners managing principal Don Capoccia, who has also had a somewhat antagonistic relationship with buyers at his Downtown Brooklyn project Toren, as well as... well, most of the people he seems to come in contact with. (Capoccia told The Real Deal in 2008. * Don Capoccia: Not afraid to do battle - The Real Deal(2008) * Donald A. Capoccia - The New York Times
* Capoccia rose as a housing developer as he donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki, and President Bush. He recently told the newsletter The Real Deal that he launched his career by using a truck full of day laborers hired from a street corner.(Village Voice)
Lobbyists for BFC Partners Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, Michael McKeon, Jonathan Greenspun, Violet Moss,The Carey Group LLC , TLM ASSOCIATES LLC

The revolving door to decay(NY World) A jail sentence for its landlord grants little reprieve for a suffering Bronx apartment building, now slated to go to auction

 

Bertha Lewis and the G Project: not so credible (also, she claimed Ratner could build all market housing)(AYR)

  * New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been said de Blasio’s five-borough housing plan is still being worked out, and full details aren’t expected until May 1, Crain’s writes: http://goo.gl/rqIdOz

Foreign NYC buyer argues that she is “not the enemy”(Real Deal)

REBNY board member Bob Knakal recalled his closed-press meeting with the mayor. “[H]is initiative to expand our base of affordable housing was met receptively by our group,” Mr. Knakal wrote in the Commercial Observer. “He did not discuss plans to require, rather than incentivize, affordable components in new developments, which would not have been met so receptively.

Pay to Play Affordable Housing
Former Bloomberg official will testify in court against housing developer in corruption case (NYDN)
Wendell Walters, a former assistant commissioner at the city Housing Preservation and Development Department, will testify in federal court that developer Stevenson Dunn paid him for contracts to build affordable housing. Walters was the highest-ranking member of former Mayor Bloomberg's administration to be arrested on corruption charges. He could receive leniency for cooperating with authorities.***City Official Accused of Taking Bribes, Left in Boxes and Cups(NYT) Six developers, two of them lawyers, were also charged. One, Stevenson Dunn, 50, a high school friend of Mr. Walters, was also charged with racketeering conspiracy. The others were charged with bribery, extortion, wire fraud and money laundering: Lee Hymowitz, 60, and Michael Freeman, 64, the lawyers; and Sergio Benitez, 51, Robert Morales, 52, and Angel Villalona, 52. All seven defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted bail ranging from $300,000 to $500,000.


What Happen to the Middle Class Housing

Developers Looking to Build Luxury Housing in Brooklyn
"Bruce C. Ratner...is looking for an investor to buy up to 80 percent of the rest of the $5 billion Atlantic Yards"
Times: Forest City's trying to sell up to 80% of Atlantic Yards (and didn't extended deadlines help Ratner gain "layup"?) 
Atlantic Yards plays for sale(NYP)
  




Developer incentives don't provide enough affordable housing

Report Finds a City Incentive Is Not Producing Enough Affordable Housing(NYT)

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