Plenty of moving parts to Mayor’s bold affordable housing plan

By Steven Spinola

Mayor de Blasio made both affordable and market-priced housing a focal point of his second State of the City address at Baruch College last week.

The Mayor’s call for an additional 160,000 new market-rate units, above and beyond the 200,000 affordable units the administration plans to build or preserve over the next decade, is bold and necessary to meet the housing demands of our growing population which is expected to reach nine million in the next twenty years.

To make his vision a reality, the Mayor’s plan will require new housing production at a sustained pace of twice the average annual rate over the last 25 years.

This amount of new housing is achievable as long as we continue to make housing a priority and the necessary tools to achieve this goal — from zoning, to incentives and subsidy — are available.

Creating more affordable housing depends on careful planning by policymakers and smart public investments. The full realization of this plan will go a long way to keeping New York the greatest city in the world in which to live, work, and raise a family.

The mayor is targeting East Harlem and the north shore of Staten Island as two new areas to create affordable housing.
Previously, the administration announced plans to allow greater density for new affordable residential developments in East New York, the Cromwell-Jerome section of the Bronx, as well as Flushing and Long Island City in Queens. These areas offer tremendous opportunities to build housing at levels not available under the current framework.

These plans need to contain sufficient bulk increases and incentives to build housing that is economically viable to attract builders and investment and to be an enhancement of these neighborhoods and a benefit to its existing population.

The administration has not yet announced what the new affordable housing requirements in rezoned areas will be, and we look forward to a realistic plan that takes into account land prices, construction costs, taxes and market conditions which has made housing construction throughout the city so difficult.

The Mayor then turned his attention towards neighborhoods which he felt carried with them the stigma that they were “doomed to isolation due to their geography.”

Mentioning the Rockaways, Soundview, and Red Hook in particular, he announced plans for a city-wide ferry service to open for business in 2017, which would be priced the same as a MetroCard fare.

The ferry system will, he hopes, not only connect residents of outer boroughs to Manhattan, but also spur the development of jobs in those neighborhoods themselves.

Creating transit alternatives for these residents is an important task for government but certainly during its initial phase requires significant public subsidy.

Building more new market rate and affordable housing, and preserving and enhancing our current inventory of affordable housing is the only way to address our decades-long housing shortage.

Without such bold initiatives, the City’s housing market will tighten further and become even more expensive. Our industry stands ready to work with the Mayor and other stakeholders to put shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky to tackle this important goal.

In other REBNY news:


SPOTLIGHT ON TRANSPORTATION: Don’t miss our recent educational video on the critical role transportation infrastructure plays our region’s overall economic health and development.
Visit rebny.com to watch our Chairman Rob Speyer and New York’s leading transportation experts discuss the role mass transit plays in the metropolitan area, major projects underway, and future challenges facing our transit system.

REBNY’s Residential Sales Agent Boot Camp, Cost of Doing Business: Put Your Hand In Your Pocket And Build Your Net Worth,” is February 19. This event, sponsored by Bank of America will be taking place in the Mendik Education Center from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and is free for all REBNY members. Registration is required, and more information can be found by emailing REBNYResidentialEvents@REBNY.com.
February 19 is our Residential Sales Boot Camp Seminar from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Mendik Education Center. Sponsored by Bank of America, this free residential seminar is open to all REBNY residential members, and you can register at REBNYResidentialEvents@REBNY.com.

REBNY’s next residential Rental Clinic seminar is this Friday, February 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Mendik Education Center. This seminar will feature guest speakers Daniel Marrello of Town Fifth Avenue LLC and Douglas Wagner of Bond NY Properties and is hosted by REBNY’s Residential Rental Committee. For more information on how to register, please visit REBNY.com or contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at JTaylor@REBNY.com.

REBNY’s 17th Annual Residential Management Leadership Breakfast is February 25.
The breakfast is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at The Roosevelt Hotel, and will also feature an awards ceremony honoring outstanding leaders in the field of residential property management.As a gold, silver, or bronze sponsor, your company will receive a table, an ad in the program, and you will be listed in the program.As a patron, your company’s name will be listed on the program and you will receive two tickets. Registration is only available online. For more information, contact Cindy Ramotar at CRamotar@rebny.com.