Mayoral aides present different air rights proposals

Mayor de Blasio scheduled to unveil cohesive housing policy on May 1

From left, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Vicki Been, Carl Weisbrod
From left, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Vicki Been, Carl Weisbrod

WEEKENDEDITION Two of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aides have unveiled markedly different proposals for harnessing unused development capacity of landmarked buildings at a meeting at City Hall recently.

Vicki Been, the commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, argued that landmarked buildings should be allowed to sell their air rights not only to adjacent buildings, but also to nearby properties facing wide streets.

The proposal advanced by Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the City Planning Commission, however, argued that the transfer of air rights should be permitted clear across town, including to other boroughs.

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Disagreements within the mayor’s team should be settled by May 1, when his housing policy is expected to be unveiled.

As the de Blasio administration crafts its proposal to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing, the mayor has signaled his approval for allowing higher-density development. Selling air rights from landmarked buildings is one untapped source.

An estimated 28% of Manhattan properties are landmarked or in historic districts, according to a study by the Real Estate Board of New York.

The City Hall meeting also included a top aide to Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who has been tasked with delivering a housing policy that accomplishes the mayor’s goals. [Crain’s] —TRD