State pol mulls 80/20 options for outer boroughs

November 13, 2013 05:43PM

The state’s so-called 80/20 program — which rewards developers with tax breaks in exchange for earmarking 20 percent of their developments for affordable housing — isn’t suited to Brooklyn and the other outer boroughs, according to panelists at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s quarterly real estate roundtable.

Neighborhoods in which firms can demand (and get) higher rents work well with 80/20 developments, while developers have a harder time recouping new development costs in areas with lower annual median incomes, they said.

In such cases, according to Darryl Towns, commissioner of the New York State Homes and Community Renewal agency, which regulates the program, something different is needed. He proposed subsidizing the 80 percent portion, or crafting a new category called 70/30 which offers more tax breaks. Towns told the assembled crowd that he plans to set up a task force to look into additional alternatives, Crain’s reported.

“80/20s have certainly been of value, but I think there is going to be a certain block where the 80/20 is not going to work anymore,” Towns told the panel. “Just having 80/20s and 100 percent affordable is leaving so many New Yorkers with less and less housing.” [Crain’s]Julie Strickland