The Real Deal New York

Weisbrod looks at tall buildings — and sees cheaper housing

Tweaks affordable housing formula to include retail space in square footage of buildings
March 18, 2014 02:12PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod have found a way to squeeze more affordable units out of developers when allowing them to erect taller buildings than zoning laws permit.

Under the previous Bloomberg administration, the percentage of the building required to be affordable in such inclusionary housing agreements excluded non-residential spaces above the ground floor, like health clubs and retail space. But City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod has changed the formula to count commercial space, Capital New York reported.

In other words, developers must set aside a greater amount of square footage for affordable units than ever before if they want to build higher, according to the article. Ground-floor retail is exempt, however.

“This is a good rule of thumb for mixed-use projects that are primarily residential,” Rachaele Ranoff, a spokesperson for the commission, told Capital New York.

The new rule was put into action for the first time to determine the amount of affordable housing required for TF Cornerstone to earmark in order to build 606 West 57th Street. Plans were approved for 273 affordable units, about 20 percent of the new building’s total units, as The Real Deal previously reported. [CapitalNewYork] Angela Hunt