The Real Deal New York

After Sandy, buildings flood city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods

12K new apartments are in most serious flood zones
July 06, 2018 10:01AM

New York City flood zones illustration (Credit: Google Maps and Pixabay)

Despite the lessons of Hurricane Sandy, developers continue to build in the city’s most flood-prone areas.

About 12,350 of new apartments under construction or planned as of January are located within the city’s most serious flood zones, according to Localize.city. A majority of these projects — 45 — are located in southern Brooklyn in Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gravesend, the New York Times reported. Hunters Point in Queens, which is located in a high-risk zone, increased its population 90 percent from 2010 to 2016, jumping from 3,979 households to 7,553.

The worst flood zone is known as the 100-year flood plain, which means it has a 1 percent chance of flooding any given year. In the life of a 30-year mortgage, that translates to a 26 percent chance of at least one flood.

While individual buildings have incorporated flood protection measures — like moving mechanical equipment to a higher floor — it’s not clear whether the surrounding neighborhoods will be able to weather such storms.

“I think we have short-term memory,” said Patrick W. Smith, an agent with Stribling & Associates, who lives and works in Long Island City. “Home buyers still ask about the flood zone, but it hasn’t stopped anyone from buying.”

Older homes in flood-risk zones could face a significant spike in insurance rates once the new FEMA map is approved. Rates for some homeowners could jump from $400 to $4,000, said Zachary Paganini, a student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

The Real Deal previously dove into the dangers of building in neighborhoods most vulnerable to rising sea levels and Sandy-caliber storms. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel