Why is the city holding onto hundreds of vacant sites?

New report says parcels could ease affordable housing crisis

Scott Stringer
Scott Stringer

The city controls hundreds of vacant parcels of land that could be used for some 50,000 units of affordable housing, according to a new report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Instead, the land has languished.

Two years ago, the comptroller’s office identified 1,125 vacant parcels controlled by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. At the time, agency officials said 450 of those sites would be transferred to developers within two years, Crain’s reported. The comptroller’s recent report found that only 64 of those properties were transferred over.

“We’ve come back two years later, and we’ve uncovered that the agency’s promises were as empty as these vacant lots,” Stringer said in a statement.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

HPD argues that 190 sites have been transferred to other city agencies, while Stringer’s report pegs the number of sites at 54. Agency officials have also noted that some of the sites aren’t ideal for housing since they are located in flood zones.

“The comptroller’s report misrepresents the facts and denies the very real progress made by HPD over the last four years,” HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said in a statement. [Crain’s]Kathryn Brenzel