Free air rights? City holds out deal to boost affordable housing

Development rights come from three lots in Long Island City
November 18, 2014 03:30PM

The city is looking to convince developers to build affordable housing by offering them free air rights.

The Economic Development Corporation issued a request for proposals in which the agency promises free development rights in return for a “permanently affordable housing program that maximizes both the number of housing units and the level of affordability,” according to the New York Observer.

The air rights on offer are for three city-owned lots under the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, the newspaper reported. The sites themselves, due to bridge ramps, aren’t available for development. The project will not offer any additional subsidies on top of the free development rights.

The air rights that come with the three parcels are available as a whole, or in part.

The RFP calls for a mix of income levels in the units not to exceed 156 percent of the area median income. There’s no minimum amount of affordable housing stipulated in the RFP. Proposals are due December 22. [NYO] — Claire Moses