Alicia Glen on 421a: “If you broke it, you better figure out how to fix it”

Deputy mayor also provides update on the city's affordable housing initiative

New York /
Oct.October 25, 2016 12:02 PM

It was supposed to be an occasion to tout the growth of construction in New York City. But the conversation at the New York Building Congress breakfast Tuesday morning inevitably turned to 421a, the death of which is seen as a major barrier to developing rental housing.

“If you broke it, you better figure out how to fix it,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development. She didn’t say explicitly who “broke it,” though she urged the audience to “continue to put pressure on our leaders in Albany to get this done.” 

In June 2015, the State Legislature granted an extension to the abatement program with revisions, which included requiring developers to make a certain percentage of their projects’ units affordable. Those changes were championed by the city, but the measure ultimately expired in January. Other possible replacements have been floated — including a wage subsidy program proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — but are yet to be realized.

“It’s nearly impossible to finance rental construction in New York City without a tax benefit, and our housing market simply leans too heavily on condo as it is,” Glen said.

Glen, who joined the administration from Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group , also provided an update on the mayor’s affordable housing initiative — to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units over the next decade. She said the administration has financed 55,309 affordable apartments in the past two years — up from the 52,936 units Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in July. Still, the mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program has faced some resistance from City Council members and it’s unclear how it will ultimately pan out.

“We are on budget and ahead of schedule,” Glen said. “Yes, we have 144,000 to go, but it’s not like we haven’t been doing anything.”

Tuesday’s event coincided with the release of the Building Congress’ latest construction outlook report. The organization forecasts that construction spending will reach $127.5 billion through 2018.  The report also urged for the revival of 421a and the expansion of design-build authority in the state.

“Success is what we have in the New York City construction market right now,” said Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress said. “We’ve got to keep the good times rolling.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
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

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
From left: Google's Sundar Pichai, Facebook's Mark Holliday, and Factory_OS's Rick Holliday and Larry Pace (Getty; Factory_OS; iStock)

Facebook, Google back modular housing startup

Facebook, Google back modular housing startup
Union Square and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)

City drops bid to require special permits for Union Square hotels

City drops bid to require special permits for Union Square hotels
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo (Getty)

Real estate braces for new restrictions as virus cases surge

Real estate braces for new restrictions as virus cases surge
A rendering of 153-10 88th Avenue in Jamaica (Photo via Zara Realty)

Zara Realty plans 218K-sf Jamaica development

Zara Realty plans 218K-sf Jamaica development
MayorBill de Blasio and Queens Democratic Council member Costa Constantinides (Getty)

De Blasio signs bill capping emissions at rent-regulated buildings

De Blasio signs bill capping emissions at rent-regulated buildings
President elect Joseph Biden with Mitch McConell, President Trump and Nancy Pelosi (Getty)

Lame-duck Congress will resume stimulus package talks

Lame-duck Congress will resume stimulus package talks
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...