The Real Deal New York

The Inwood rezoning came with a surprise: commercial rent control

The plan seeks to help small businesses
August 10, 2018 04:00PM

Bill de Blasio, locked cash, and Inwood (Credit: Getty, iStock, and Airbnb)

The mayor is hoping to attract small businesses to Inwood through an element of the neighborhood’s rezoning.

There’s a type of commercial rent control in the agreement between the de Blasio administration and local Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Crain’s reported. New mixed-use developments receiving $2 million or more from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development must give commercial tenants a lease of at least 10 years “with limited rental increases,” the report said. It will apply to as much as 5,000 square feet of the total non-residential floor area.

The administration said it will “work with knowledgeable community stakeholders” to decide which businesses get leases.

“A decade’s a long time in the life of a business in a changing community, and if we need to find ways to extend upon it going forward, it gives government the opportunity to do so,” de Blasio said during a WNYC’s “Ask the Mayor” segment. “But right now, it says to a lot of neighborhood small businesses, Here’s a place for you that will work.”

The mayor and Rodriguez touted the program as a first for the city — and de Blasio said it could be used in future rezonings.

This week, the City Council voted through the plan that would allow more development and increase housing in the upper Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood. Parts of the community have decried the plan, fearing it would cause home values and rents to soar. But Rodriguez and the administration have argued that the current housing supply faces too much market pressure, which causes the displacement that opponents want to stop.

The effort aims to bring 5,000 units of housing to the neighborhood. [Crain’s] — Meenal Vamburkar