Of the five luxury housing developers for whom controversial tax break measures were crafted in January 2013, only two have actually applied for and received the credits, according to Department of Housing Preservation and Development data.
Silverstein Properties, Thor Equities, Friedman Management, Fisher Brothers and Extell Development Company have come under fire and were hit with subpoenas from the Moreland Commission as part of an investigation into public corruption before the agency was suspended in March. But of the five, only Extell and Friedman have actually secured the 421-a exemptions thus far, the New York Observer reports.
“Three of the properties have not applied for the 421-a benefit,” an HPD spokesperson told the Observer, referring to Silverstein’s 99 Church Street, Thor’s 520 Fifth Avenue and another developer’s property. “The two that have applied were granted eligibility following a thorough review of their applications.
Extell’s luxury residential project One57 scored the credit thanks to the developer’s agreement to subsidize 66 units at three Bronx affordable apartment complexes, while Friedman Management agreed to devote 20 percent of the units at its Lara property to affordable housing to secure the breaks for its development site at 86 Trinity Place.
“Whether or not they collect a tax credit — that’s interesting, but it doesn’t match up with what the concern is,” Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, who has called for a release of all Moreland Commission documents and REBNY files turned over to the commission, told the Observer. “I don’t think it’s relevant to whether there was a pay-to-play scheme. That’s the worst case scenario.” [NYO] — Julie Strickland
Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the owner of a Downtown development site.