The Real Deal New York

The flaws in De Blasio’s affordable housing plan: OPINION

February 10, 2014 02:20PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to add or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade would be better served by a more flexible proposal than has so far been presented, according to the New York Times Editorial Board.

De Blasio’s “most aggressive proposal,” as the board dubbed it, would require — rather than encourage — developers to set aside low- and moderate-income units in major projects.

But despite similar measures in place in other American cities, The Times Editorial Board writes that such a plan is less likely to be successful in New York City, thanks to courts that are less sympathetic to local government efforts to manage housing creation.

Also of concern to the board are “excessively rigid laws” in general.

“Housing experts have found that programs with greater flexibility — offering off-site options, and incentives rather than mandatory participation — may produce more units,” the editorial board writes. “The mayor needs to work with builders to find mutually beneficial solutions, particularly outside Manhattan.”

Such efforts need to be bolstered by a revamped property tax on rental properties, more money in the capital budget for affordable housing and repair to the New York City Housing Authority’s deteriorating public housing, the board writes.

“Mr. de Blasio should seriously consider a plan, proposed by the Bloomberg administration, that would lease open space in the public housing projects to developers who would build mixed-income apartments that would generate $30 million to $50 million a year to be used to meet the system’s capital needs,” the board writes. “Under that plan, 20 percent of the units in the new buildings would be permanently set aside for low-income families.” [NYT]Julie Strickland

  • classmates w/similarallowances

    Is it rotating tenancy like in the projects where if the parents pass on, the kids who have become financiers and IT experts making six figures are booted out of the program or forced to take smaller units if the family unit shrinks in number?

    I think the city can make money on retail. There’s so much control that is given away to third party advocates and private enterprise. I trust only developers to know what they are doing since they basically created LES, Chelsea, Tribeca out of literally nothing.

    I’m really concerned with the haphazard retail in much of the city. If there are so many hotels in Hell’s Kitchen (marketing themselves as Times Square located) – why is the retail there so freewheeling and not organized the way the hotel districts in Hong Kong and Singapore are.

    I believe that this mayor but also his predecessor had the city’s best interests at heart and that this mayor is moving forward based on the foundation built by his predecessor but I don’t understand the logic of packing in Manhattan instead of building outwards or am I too impatient and I don’t see how development is inexorably moving into the other four boroughs.

    Maybe the good sign is the retail picture in Flushing and not the distractingly expensive picture in some parts of formerly dead Brooklyn. it’s not just the Skyview Parc leases but all the other companies that have CONFIDENCE in Flushing. No fancy pants walking the streets in Flushing but I bet money that the situation in Flushing makes for a more optimistic immigrant or working class kid than being placed in Manhattan affordable housing UNLESS they win that lottery of getting a really posh place next door to moguls. I have no idea why that is a good idea but like everyone else, that sounds like a GREAT idea to anyone who wins that golden ticket. But what does that have to do with changing the city? Are we going to have Percy Julian science schools in these buildings as well?

    Too bad really Archie Bunker type of places in the outer boroughs with homeowners aging in place can’t have their emptying homes transformed into communities of immigrants and working class where the schools are the key not the posh neighbors and amenities in Manhattan.

    I’d like to see that kind of professional and sophisticated retail development throughout all the working class and middle class neighborhoods in the four other boroughs. I can see from the retail and the incredible crowds in Queens Center how important national brands are to the Americanization and confidence of the immigrant residents. That’s where the Time Warner office is so that is the only reason I ever go there and the retail there does not interest me but it SHOULD interest someone like me in my socioeconomic group and it works from the crowds I see every time I go there.

    Don’t discount the mood elevation that window shopping in a mall gives the working and middle class – it’s like cable tv – a peek into the rest of the world that normalizes and embraces the audience who can’t afford it. That’s why there are so many of the exact same malls with the same sequence of stores in Hong Kong.

  • Howard Hecht

    There are many incentives still to be tried that could spur the creation of affordable housing that is linked to higher value market rate development. Some would require amending State rent and tax abatement laws and codes. Further, the city, MTA and State need to address transit inequality throughout the outer boroughs and region in order to increase housing market values, assist in transit oriented development and transport people to jobs, cultural opportunities and recreational facilities. A lot more could be done in this regard if our transportation planners could catch up with the 21st century.