Federal government cancels search for new FBI headquarters
The General Services Administration is abandoning its $2 billion proposal for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, the Washington Post reported last month. The government had spent more than a decade planning the project, but officials couldn’t convince Congress to cough up the necessary funds. The four final bidders for the project included Vornado Realty Trust and Silverstein Properties — run by President Donald Trump’s friends Steven Roth and Larry Silverstein. Had Congress approved the GSA’s plans, the winner would have received $1 billion in federal funds and been handed keys to the FBI’s existing headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building near Capitol Hill.
Council members urge mayor to change tack on property tax laws
City Council members Donovan Richards, Mark Levine, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres and Jumaane Williams have asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to support a lawsuit that challenges the city’s tax laws, Politico reported last month. The suit, filed by the homeowners group Tax Equity Now New York, claims that the 6 percent per year cap on property tax assessments on one-, two-, and three-family homes unfairly impacts poor and nonwhite property owners, because those individuals can end up paying as much as those with multimillion-dollar properties. The city filed a motion to dismiss the suit last month, arguing that TENNY has no standing to sue.
Mayor voices support of controversial armory redevelopment
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would save plans for the redevelopment of the city-owned Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, Crain’s New York Business reported last month. BFC Partners’ proposal for the site — which includes 386 rentals (market-rate as well as below-market-rate) and condominiums, discounted space for community groups and amenities including a pool and basketball court — has drawn the ire of local politicians and residents. Local City Council member Laurie Cumbo opposes the project, calling it “gentrification at its worst,” according to Gothamist. The City Council still has to approve a zoning change before the development can move forward, but the legislative body typically follows the guidance of the local Council member. However, the mayor feels he can sway local opinion by selling the community on the amenities BFC’s project will bring to the neighborhood.
DOB will continue to fine landlords who report home-sharing violations
The city will continue to fine landlords who report when their tenants illegally list apartments as short-term rentals, Crain’s New York Business reported last month. A spokesman for the Department of Buildings told the publication that “reporting violations by others does not mean landlords are shielded from their own legal duty of providing safe homes to paying tenants.” There have been several instances of such fines. In 2015, the landlord of 120 West 23rd Street reported that a tenant was advertising on home-sharing sites. After issuing a vacate order to the tenant, the Department of Buildings fined the landlord $3,400. An appeals court threw out the violations, but the DOB had them reinstated.