Density won’t spur developers to build in low-rent areas

Report says that without government help, areas like East New York won’t see towers rise

Carl Weisbrod Bill de Blasio
City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod and Mayor Bill De Blasio

In low-rent neighborhoods where the city is planning rezonings to allow developers to build taller towers, the math won’t pencil out without government subsidies, according to a report by the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

The city has proposed changing the zoning laws in neighborhoods including East New York, East Harlem and Cromwell-Jerome in the Bronx to allow for more density and spur development of affordable housing.

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But the report finds that in neighborhoods like these, developers will only be able to set aside about 4 percent of units as affordable even with the new zoning laws, whereas in a high rent neighborhood, they might be able to justify the costs of setting aside 30 percent of units as affordable, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The report also found that even without an affordability requirement in the new zoning laws, developers are unlikely to build in low-rent neighborhoods without subsidies like 421a, which is up for renewal in Albany this June.

The administration has doubled the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to $2.5 billion over the next five years. [WSJ] — Tess Hofmann