DOB approves record number of residential permits in early 2017

Agency issued permits for 2,097 units in Brooklyn
By Kathryn Brenzel | May 11, 2017 08:30AM

From right: Construction worker in Hudson Yards and chart of new residential units approved (Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the first quarter of 2017, the Department of Buildings approved more than 6,000 new residential units — the most it’s authorized in a decade, according to a new report.

A majority of these permits were issued for projects in Brooklyn, where the DOB signed off on 2,097 units in the first three months of 2017, according to a new report by the New York Building Congress. Manhattan followed with 1,486 units, Queens with 1,434 and the Bronx with 1,124. Staten Island only logged 202 units.

The high volume of apartments represents the most approved by the DOB in the first quarter of any year since 2007, when the agency greenlit 7,264 units. During the first three months of 2016, the DOB only approved 2,158 units — a number often attributed to the expiration of 421a. In the report, Building Congress president Carlo Scissura pointed to the return of the tax break as one of the reasons for a thus far buoyant 2017, though 421a’s successor — Affordable New York — was enacted at the beginning of April.

“For those anxious that the boom times in the residential construction sector might have ended in 2015, the data from the first three months of 2017 should elicit a huge sigh of relief,” Scissura said in a statement.

An analysis by The Real Deal earlier this year showed an increase in new building permits in the first two months of the year despite the lack of 421a. However, many projects likely received the tax break before getting a new building permit by filing a basic foundation permit.