Government briefs

Cuomo sues landlord for race discrimination

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit last month against the owners and managers of 1648-1650 Ocean Parkway, a residential housing complex in Brooklyn, for allegedly refusing to rent or show apartments to black applicants. The suit, filed after an undercover investigation, alleges violations of housing and civil rights laws and seeks civil penalties and an injunction prohibiting the company from discriminating. “We all share the basic need for housing, and the law protects our equal access to it,” Cuomo said. “Our investigation found that housing discrimination continues to this day, and landlords who continue to ignore the law will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Golden Touch Management, manager of 1648-50 Ocean Parkway, declined to comment. The company that owns the complex, 1650 Realty Associates, could not be reached.

Goldman, BRP partner with city in $45M project

The Goldman Sachs Group, BRP Development and the city are developing a $45 million affordable housing and retail space at 1560 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The mixed-use, mixed-income project, called the Bradford, will include 105 apartments for low- and middle-income families. The housing is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, an $8.4 billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. To date, the plan has financed the creation or preservation of nearly 108,600 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs.

Construction to start at Times Square pedestrian plaza

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Construction will begin on the winning temporary design chosen for the Times Square pedestrian plaza. The “Cool Water, Hot Island” design was created by artist Molly Dilworth and based on NASA infrared satellite data of Manhattan. Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said it suggests a river flowing through the center of Times Square. Architecture firm Snohetta will lead the team of designers and engineers to create a plan for the permanent redesign of the area, which will be reconstructed starting in 2012.

Bloomberg supports Coney Island amphitheater

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a bill that will allow a controversial summer concert series at Asser Levy Park to continue, and may effectively leave the door open for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s $64 million amphitheater project at Coney Island to move forward, the New York Post reported. The bill — which would expire after 90 days — temporarily allows amphitheaters, open-air bandshells and stadiums to host concerts despite being within 500 feet of religious institutions and schools. Markowitz’s proposed amphitheater has drawn harsh criticism from Brighton Beach residents, who say it will increase traffic, take up valuable park land and exacerbate the noise problems that already come with the summer concerts.

City’s rental subsidies program gets $32M

A $32 million plan to save the city’s Section 8 rental subsidies program received federal approval last month, sparing thousands of families from losing their vouchers. Under the plan, according to the New York Times, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will finance $32 million worth of subsidies that would have otherwise been cut due to budget shortfalls. The Housing Authority, which administers the vouchers, has faced criticism in recent months for issuing too many of them. Even after a $24 million contribution by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this year, 4,000 families were still in line to be cut from the program. HPD will transfer funding from other programs and tap into its reserves to pay for the new plan.