City Hall nixed $43.5 million in public funding for the Durst Organization’s Hallets Point project without explanation amid a public feud between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the real estate company.
The Housing Development Corporation planned to issue bonds to help fund a 163-unit affordable building within the Astoria megadevelopment, but changed its mind in mid-November, Politico reported. The about-face also halts a deal to have Durst pay for needed boiler improvements at the New York City Housing Authority’s Astoria Houses.
“Three days prior to HDC board approval for our 100 percent affordable building’s bond financing, we were notified that the bonds were no longer available to us,” Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told Politico. “We have not heard from City Hall since then, and until we do, the future of the project is unknown.”
A HDC spokesperson would not tell Politico why the funding was blocked and reallocated to other, unnamed projects. “There are many deserving affordable housing developments that are ready to go, and we constantly make tough choices to stretch precious resources as we ensure we get the best deals for New Yorkers,” spokesperson Elizabeth Rohlfing said.
Durst and de Blasio had a public falling out last year when de Blasio, under pressure to cite examples of campaign donors who didn’t receive favorable treatment, mentioned Douglas Durst (though not by name). After the mayor noted in an op-ed that the company failed in its bid to run the city’s ferry system, Barowitz cryptically said “winter is coming,” borrowing a phrase from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” that indicates looming danger.
De Blasio was also miffed that Durst tried to block Barry Diller’s Pier 55 project, Politico reported. And he was likely annoyed when his chief antagonist, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, took credit for a deal between Durst and Diller to revive the project. [Politico] — Konrad Putzier