Inwood rezoning faces new challenges in HPD budget cuts

Appellate court reinstated neighborhood's rezoning last week

Joy Construction’s Eli Weiss, Maddd Equities’ Jorge Madruga, and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Google Maps, Getty)
Joy Construction’s Eli Weiss, Maddd Equities’ Jorge Madruga, and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Google Maps, Getty)

Developers who stand to gain from Inwood’s reinstated rezoning may have celebrated too soon.

After an appellate court unanimously upheld the city’s rezoning of Inwood, affordable housing budget cuts could stand in the way of new projects, according to Crain’s.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is set to have its budget slashed by 40 percent amid a severe revenue crunch, which is estimated to cost the city 21,000 affordable apartments over the next few years. At least 1,600 of 5,000 new housing units planned for Inwood through the rezoning were set to be affordable, meaning they would be subsidized by the agency.

“We don’t know where they’re going to choose to spend their even more limited resources,” New York Housing Conference policy director Brendan Cheney told Crain’s, noting that cuts of this size are likely to impact any development, although his organization had not seen any specific information about which areas would be prioritized. “It does put projects or developments like that at risk.”

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The City Council approved Inwood’s rezoning in August 2018. But a judge nullified the rezoning in December, siding with neighborhood groups that wanted the city to forecast the policy’s socioeconomic impacts. Developers filed an amicus brief in support of the city’s appeal.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” Eli Weiss of Joy Construction said, “but we’re hopeful still that the city will get a nice package from the federal government, and hopefully that will be allocated to housing.”

3875 Ninth Avenue in Inwood (Google Maps)

3875 Ninth Avenue in Inwood (Google Maps)

Joy Construction and Maddd Equities are planning one of the biggest projects under the rezoning, a 614-unit affordable housing development at 3875 Ninth Avenue.

An HPD spokesperson said that the agency “remains committed to its goals and will continue working tirelessly to create affordable housing opportunities for New Yorkers.” [Crain’s] — Kevin Sun