The Daily Dirt: Developer puts another dent in mayor’s agenda

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

Jan.January 27, 2020 01:47 PM
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a rendering of Halletts Point, and Douglas Durst (Credit: Getty Images, Durst)

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a rendering of Halletts Point, and Douglas Durst (Credit: Getty Images, Durst)

It’s no secret that Bill de Blasio and Douglas Durst don’t always see eye to eye. But the spat over Halletts Point doesn’t bode well for the mayor’s affordable housing program.

The Durst Organization says it’s holding off on building a 2,002-unit rental complex in Astoria known as Halletts Point, Politico reports. The developer says the city is unfairly demanding another 5 percent of the project be affordable, rendering it uneconomical. They can’t agree over whether changes to a state tax break should increase the affordability requirement. As a result, the city has declined to move forward with a financing package for the project, and Durst will wait until the mayor’s successor arrives in 2022 to negotiate a deal.

“A project as large and complex as Halletts Point requires a partnership between the developer and the city,” Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told Politico. “Unfortunately, we have never been able to forge this partnership, and without it, the project is impossible to build.”

This is just the latest in a series of setbacks to the mayor’s affordable housing agenda — though it doesn’t quite hit as hard as the recent blows to de Blasio’s signature Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. A state court in December annulled the Inwood rezoning, and planned Bushwick and Southern Boulevard rezonings now appear to be in peril as well.

The mayor doesn’t seem optimistic about other rezonings under consideration either. During an appearance on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show,” the mayor said he’s not sure the rezoning in Soho is realistic. He said “of course” he wants to require affordable housing in “privileged” areas, but wants to be realistic about what he can get done in his remaining two years in office.

“What I want to be very real about in the next two years is where are the things we are absolutely certain there will be support for, in the Ulurp process, to get it done?” he said, referring to land-use measures needing City Council approval.

What we’re thinking about: Will Aby Rosen lose control of Lever House? Send a note to [email protected].


Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Friday was for a condo unit at 39 Lispenard Street in Tribeca, at $6 million. Architect Eran Chen and his wife Dafna Chen are the buyers.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a warehouse at 5201 First Avenue in Sunset Park, at $40.5 million.


The largest new building filing of the day was for a 41,668-square-foot mixed-use building at 92-54 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park. Hai Keng Luo filed the permit application.


The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo unit at 114 Mercer Street in Soho, at $6 million. Douglas Elliman’s Abigail Agranat has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

Chinese developer Oceanwide Holdings just sold its flagship project in San Francisco for $1 billion. According to company disclosures on the sale, the property includes 19 items of office furniture and electronics totaling $176,000. That’s more than it paid; apparently the building’s furniture has appreciated. “The reason for the increase is the rise in furniture prices in the area in recent years, and the durability of furniture exceeds the depreciation,” the company notes. Thank you to Kevin Sun, who provided this tidbit.

Elsewhere in New York

— The state is investigating three cases of suspected coronavirus, the New York Post reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio said there haven’t been any cases in NYC, but that it’s just a matter of time.

— In happier news, boxes of fruits and vegetables saved a 76-year-old woman’s life, the New York Daily News reports. She’d accidentally plunged from the seventh floor of her Upper East Side apartment building, but the boxes broke her fall. She suffered a broken pelvis, broken rib, a pierced lung and bruises.

— ICYMI: The City Council Thursday passed a bill that subjects restaurants and other businesses to fines for refusing to accept cash, Gothamist reports. Establishments will face $1,000 for the first violation and $1,500 for subsequent ones.

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