Voluntary inclusionary housing construction triples in FY 2015

3,031 apartments built through city program, compared to 936 in FY 2014
October 13, 2015 10:15AM

As Mayor Bill de Blasio struggles to push through his mandatory inclusionary zoning plan, that program’s voluntary cousin is producing an unprecedented quantity of affordable housing.

The city’s voluntary inclusionary housing program, which incentivizes developers to build affordable units by allowing them to build more total units, has produced a bumper crop of new apartments — just over 3,031 in Fiscal Year 2015.

That’s the highest total in the program’s 11-year history, and a threefold jump from FY 2014’s count of 936 units.

Administration official and real estate executives interviewed by Politico attributed the spike to the strong real estate market, uncertainty about the program’s future, and the prospect, earlier this year, of the end of another developer incentive, the 421a tax abatement program.

Though the voluntary program appears to be an overall success, developers have entirely skipped out on building projects in Queens through the program, citing bureaucratic challenges and a lack of designated areas in the borough.

During his mayoral run, de Blasio promised to implement a mandatory version of the program tied to city rezonings. That plan would require 25 percent of apartments built through a rezoning to be devoted to tenants making 60 percent of the area median income, or about $46,620 for a family of three. [Politico]Ariel Stulberg