Yang targets vacant lots with $900 million tax plan

Mayoral contender floats 500% tax hike on empty commercial sites

New York /
May.May 07, 2021 11:00 AM
Andrew Yang (Getty, iStock)

Andrew Yang (Getty, iStock)

Andrew Yang sees nearly $1 billion in untapped property tax revenue sitting in New York City’s vacant lots.

The contender for mayor announced a plan Thursday to hike taxes on empty commercial lots by 500 percent over five years, the New York Post reported. The idea is to kickstart development but Yang estimated the plan could rake in $900 million a year for the city.

Vacant commercial land is taxed based on a valuation of less than 20 percent of what it would actually sell for, which Yang said disincentivizes development, the Post reported. By taxing properties on their sales price, he argues, the city would rake in cash and encourage owners to build.

With at least $1.3 billion in property taxes unpaid, and commercial building valuations (and tax bills) plunging during the pandemic, the plan would be timely, Yang said.

But developers and trade groups are skeptical, arguing the tax would make properties more expensive to build out.

“The city’s property tax system is fundamentally broken and we agree with Andrew Yang that it needs comprehensive reform, but this idea will not help to achieve that goal,” James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, told the Post.

Martha Stark, who was finance commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, thinks Yang could be on to something but that his math is off. She estimated the plan would raise closer to $500 million.

Yang’s plan is hardly novel; tax surcharges on vacant land, storefronts and homes have been proposed for years, but never enacted.

[New York Post] — Suzannah Cavanaugh





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    BLDG Management founder Lloyd Goldman (iStock)
    BLDG plans 800K-sf tower in Long Island City
    BLDG plans 800K-sf tower in Long Island City
    NYC’s office sublease surge slows as tenants move to reoccupy space
    NYC’s office sublease surge slows as tenants move to reoccupy space
    NYC’s office sublease surge slows as tenants move to reoccupy space
    The Roger New York hotel at 131 Madison Avenue, Larry Korman of AKA Hotel Residences and Joe Lubeck of Electra America (Google Maps, Getty, Electra)
    Electra America JV nabs Roger hotel for $71M discount
    Electra America JV nabs Roger hotel for $71M discount
    Gary Barnett and Jay and Stuart Podolsky in front of 1645 First Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)
    Gary Barnett site has one problem: the Podolsky brothers
    Gary Barnett site has one problem: the Podolsky brothers
    Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley (Getty/iStock, Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    Real estate looks like a winner in mayor’s race
    Real estate looks like a winner in mayor’s race
    Oceanwide’s US business is sinking. Can it right the ship?
    Oceanwide’s US business is sinking. Can it right the ship?
    Oceanwide’s US business is sinking. Can it right the ship?
    From left: Eric Adams, Andrew Yang, Maya Wiley and Scott Stringer (NBC/YouTube)
    Mayoral hopefuls waver on Local Law 97
    Mayoral hopefuls waver on Local Law 97
    Renderings of The Eliza Apartments at the Redeveloped Inwood Library (New York Housing Conference)
    Inwood affordable housing project moves forward after rezoning fight
    Inwood affordable housing project moves forward after rezoning fight
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...