Developers are now spending thousands of dollars on lobbying to buy air rights from the beleaguered New York City Housing Authority.
Amid a push to raise capital, NYCHA has an estimated 80 million square feet of air rights up for grabs. And Madison Realty Capital, Maddd Equities and Real Estate Equities Corporation are among those spending lobbying dollars, PincusCo reported.
In January, Madison Realty Capital hired one of the city’s most active government lobbying firms, Capalino+Company, to approach NYCHA, according to the report. The developer is seeking to buy air rights for a project at Opal Realty’s 644 East 14th Street, at Avenue C, where Madison Realty is the lender. The company may look into an upzoning on the nearby NYCHA parcel, Campos Plaza II, which would make air rights available.
Meanwhile, Real Estate Equities Corp. controls a four-parcel assemblage across the street from the High Line, through a long-term lease and purchase contracts. It filed plans in December 2018 to build an 86,615-square-foot office building at 118 10th Avenue.
The company has been lobbying NYCHA since the third quarter of 2017, city records show, to obtain development rights from the Fulton Houses, which front Ninth Avenue from 16th Street to 20th Street. Overall, the Fulton Houses complex has more than 727,000 square feet of residential air rights combined, PincusCo estimates.
In Fort Greene, Jorge Madruga’s Maddd Equities and Eli Weiss’s Joy Construction purchased 202 Tillary Street for $30 million in August 2018. At the time the developer said that with NYCHA air rights, it could develop a building up to 400,000 square feet.
Maddd Equities began its effort to buy air rights in the first half of 2017, hiring the law firm Akerman, the report said. The city said in a release in December that the Ingersoll Houses would be the first project to sell development rights, in a deal likely to be completed in “mid-2019.”
The lobbying efforts come after NYCHA said it plans to sell air rights and open some land to private development in order to raise money for repairs. NYCHA aims to raise $3 billion through the effort, which is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $24 billion plan to help the authority upgrade its 170,000 apartments. NYCHA will need an estimated $32 billion in repairs over the next five years. [PincusCo] — Meenal Vamburkar