The Real Deal New York

Developers say de Blasio affordable housing plan is “almost meaningless” without 421a

Mayor's pair of zoning proposals is expected to be approved by the City Council on Tuesday
March 22, 2016 09:36AM


Atlantic Avenue in East New York, a neighborhood that will be rezoned under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan (inset: Bill de Blasio)

With Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature zoning proposals on the cusp of City Council approval, the mayor says it’s about time things got a bit harder for developers.

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requires developers who have received a residential rezoning to set aside a certain number of units for below-market rate rents.

“For the first time the peoples’ needs are being put first. For years developers basically got what they wanted when it came to dealing with the city government,” De Blasio said on New York 1, Politico reported. “Now we’re going to have a law that says we need affordable housing required any time there’s a rezoning.”

For their part, developers say the mayor’s plan does not work without the tax break 421a, which expired in January, according to Politico.

“Without 421a, mandatory inclusionary is almost meaningless,” a developer told Politico on background. “Without it, the subsidies necessary to get any of the rezoned projects built would basically make them public housing.”

Developers told the website that they would not seek a rezoning or build in one of the neighborhoods that has been designated for rezoning, such as East New York, without the tax break.

“Three to five years from now, New Yorkers will wonder why the supply of rental housing — market rate and affordable — has dried up and rents are driven even higher,” another developer said to Politico on background. “They will need to look no further than their elected officials.”

The de Blasio administration allocated $8.2 billion over 10 years for new affordable housing, according to Politico.

A recent city study found the rezoning of East New York, the test case for de Blasio’s plan, would cause a shortage of public school seats and child care facilities, and result in a lack of open space.

The Real Deal took a look last month at the love-hate relationship between de Blasio and developers[Politico]Dusica Sue Malesevic