Developers who build offsite affordable housing no longer eligible for 421a, District Attorney nails landlord who forged deed transfers, and more…

Government briefs

Oct.October 01, 2017 01:00 PM

A rendering of downtown Far Rockaway

Far Rockaway rezoning could bring 6.5M sq. ft. of new office space

The City Council unanimously approved a $288 million rezoning of 23 blocks in downtown Far Rockaway. The rezoning, which is the first the neighborhood has seen since 1961, could bring 6.5 million square feet of new office space and 3,000 residential units to the neighborhood. Any housing built on city-owned land will be designated affordable. The city is providing $126 million in funding, part of which will be used to buy and renovate disused properties near downtown, including the largely vacant Far Rockaway Shopping Center. The federal government and private groups will kick in the rest of the financing.

Developers restricted by new inclusionary housing rule

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved a rule change that bars developers receiving 421a from generating off-site inclusionary housing. In the past, developers who participated in the inclusionary housing program could transfer a density bonus from one property to another nearby, allowing them to build taller, market-rate towers while keeping affordable units offsite. The new rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 13, requires that landlords instead keep those affordable apartments onsite. It also waives the requirement for 421a recipients to submit a second certificate of eligibility before renting out their buildings if the building was constructed on or before Dec. 31, 2015.

Mark Gjonaj

Bronx assemblyman accused of running campaign in public housing facility

Less than a week before winning a five-way primary race for the City Council’s 13th District, Democratic nominee and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj was accused of improperly using public housing facilities to run his campaign, according to the New York Post. John Doyle, another candidate running in the Bronx district, claimed Gjonaj’s team worked out of a space at the Throggs Neck Houses for a week. Doyle posted a video on Facebook that showed a Gjonaj campaign poster hanging on the door of the room as evidence; he also filed complaints with the city. Still, Gjonaj won the primary with nearly 40 percent of the vote. Gjonaj far outraised his opponents in the race, amassing about $750,000 for his campaign, $100,000 of which was from the real estate industry.

District Attorney nails landlord who forged deed transfers

A Manhattan landlord received a sentence of up to 12 years in prison for forging deed transfers on five Upper West Side and Hamilton Heights properties, Real Estate Weekly reported. On multiple occasions starting in 2013, John Kojo Zi filed fake paperwork with the city register’s office transferring properties from their rightful owners to his company, Kojo Global Real Estate Development. Once in his possession, Zi “even had the audacity to attempt to collect rent from the tenants and threatened them with eviction if payments were withheld,” according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Zi was found guilty of forgery and grand larceny in the first and second degree for his scheme.

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