The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn developers lobby for 421a in Albany

Brookland, Slate argue for extending program, against prevailing wage provisions

June 09, 2015 01:15PM
By Rey Mashayekhi

From left:

From left: Lily Becker, David Kramer, Boaz Gilad, Ofer Cohen, Martin Golden, David Schwartz and Carlo Scissura

With the clock winding down on the state’s 421a tax abatement and legislators facing a June 15 deadline to either extend or reform the program or let it die, Brooklyn developers in support of the incentive made their way up to Albany.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura and TerraCRG president Ofer Cohen, who chairs the chamber’s real estate committee, led a group of Brooklyn real estate stakeholders who met with lawmakers in the state capital Monday. The delegation – including Brookland Capital’s Boaz Gilad, Hudson Companies’ David Kramer and Slate Property Group’s David Schwartz – conferred with state senators Martin Golden (R) and Simcha Felder (D), both of whom represent Brooklyn districts.

“The idea was to come up to express how important 421a is for Brooklyn developers,” Schwartz told The Real Deal, citing how much of the debate around the program has concerned its relation to “high-end condos on 57th Street” in Midtown. “The regular, normal apartments for regular, working New Yorkers have been left out” of the debate, he said.

Gilad noted concerns over prevailing wage provisions proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of 421a reforms, and the effect such legislation would have on the construction of smaller rental developments.

“Most of our product goes to the middle-class,” Gilad said. “It’s going to be very, very difficult to build smaller-scale developments on prevailing wages, and the middle-class won’t be able to afford the rentals that are so needed in Brooklyn.”

Cohen said Brooklyn developers wanted “to get involved and engage in a dialogue,” on 421a with legislators, as they had largely not been included in the conversation.

Topics discussed included a possible extension to the current 421a tax abatement “to allow more time to discuss and work out a long-term solution” to the issue, according to a TerraCRG spokesperson.

The group also expressed concerns over allowing the incentive to expire – a possibility floated by Mayor Bill de Blasio this week as an alternative to extending the current program – and argued that such a move “could upend the flow of business” and delay middle-class and attainable housing development in the city.

Senators Golden and Felder could not be reached for comment.