City to shoulder more public benefit costs

“We should ask the private sector to do what it does well, which is housing”: Carl Weisbrod

TRD New York /
Nov.November 13, 2014 06:31 PM

The city will shoulder a higher share of costs associated with creating public benefits such as schools and parks, in order to encourage more developers to address the affordable housing crisis, chairman of the City Planning Commission Carl Weisbrod said on a panel today.

Under the Bill de Blasio administration, Weisbrod expects to see a reversal of several decades of public policy. Whereas in the past the city required developers to pay for parks, schools and public spaces in exchange for incentives such as upzoning, the city will now take on more of that burden.

“I think we are going to see a more traditional role for what government pays for and what the private sector pays for,” Weisbrod said. “We will see government pay for schools, public investments, open spaces, that in the past few decades we did [lay] on developers.”

“We should ask the private sector to do what it does well, which is housing,” he added. The administration is, however, much to the chagrin of developers, taking away voluntary inclusionary zoning and replacing it with mandatory inclusionary zoning.

Steven Spinola, outgoing president of the Real Estate Board of New York, who was also on the panel, interjected at one point after Weisbrod spoke, saying, “I am still cringing every time you say ‘mandatory affordable.'”

Weisbrod was speaking on a panel at the Massey Knakal Realty Services Multifamily Summit, held at the McGraw-Hill Building at 1221 Sixth Avenue. Other panelists included Vicki Been, Commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development, BFC Partners’ Donald Capoccia, Dunn Development’s Martin Dunn, L&M Development’s CEO Ron Moelis, and Spinola. It was moderated by Joe Lynch, a partner at the law firm Nixon Peabody.

Weisbrod leads City Planning, which is one of the key agencies responsible for the mayor’s aggressive affordable housing plan.

Spinola, who is stepping down from his REBNY post next year, said one of the main challenges the city faces in hitting that mark is from communities that want a lot from developers.

“[Communities] want more affordable housing, so that is going to take something away from the project’s profit. [They] want a school. Who is paying for the school?” Spinola said. “The communities don’t recognize that the developer is in this to make a few bucks.”

Related Articles

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

205 Park Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

Developer files plans for mixed-use project facing BQE

(Credit: iStock)

Some builders upset as voters add red tape to projects

Clockwise from left: 532-542 Union Street and 232 Third Avenue in Gowanus, Tavros' Colin Rankowitz and Avery Hall's Brian Ezra (Credit: Terra CRG, Tavros, Avery Hall)

Gowanus gold rush: Avery Hall, Tavros, Charney buy sites for $55M

(Image by Wolfgang & Hite via Dezeen)

Hudson Yards megadevelopment inspires a new line of sex toys

Inwood has stayed affordable for a remarkably long time. That could soon change. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Inwood braces for gentrification

When Bill de Blasio announced the end of his campaign, the industry reacted largely with relief but not surprise (Credit: Getty Images and Pixabay)

De Blasio’s campaign is dead, and real estate is happy

Rent reform is propelling a new wave of New York and California investors to Miami (Credit: iStock)

Rent reform in New York, California propels new wave of multifamily investors to Miami