City backs Phipps Houses in union fight over Far Rockaway complex

HDC voted to provide funding to 1,700-unit Far Rockaway Village
June 06, 2018 09:45AM

Far Rockaway Village at 1720 Village Lane and Phipps CEO Adam Weinstein (Credit: Google Maps and Phipps NY)

The de Blasio administration has unwittingly waded into a fight between a developer and a powerful union after voting to provide funding for a Far Rockaway development with affordable housing.

Over protests from 32BJ SEIU, a union that represents building service workers, the city’s Housing Development Corporation voted Tuesday to allocate $86.8 million in financing to affordable-housing developer Phipps Houses to build a $279 million project in Far Rockaway, according to Politico.

The development, Far Rockaway Village,  will hold around 1,700 units. At least 70 percent of the apartments will be affordable housing. The city financing will go toward the first phase of the project — the construction of 457 apartments.

Phipps Houses, one of the largest affordable housing developers in the city, has long butted heads with 32BJ after refusing to pay into the union’s pension fund. On the Far Rockaway project, 32BJ would not specify what exactly they opposed on the Far Rockaway project, according to the report.

A 32BJ spokesperson said Phipps had a record for undermining workers standards. Jane Meyer, a spokesperson for the city, told the publication the project is “critical to the revitalization of Downtown Far Rockaway.” [Politico] — David Jeans