Adams announces plan to convert 20K units

Eased zoning restrictions, tax breaks part of mayor’s blueprint

NYC mayor Eric Adams (Getty)
NYC mayor Eric Adams (Getty)

Mayor Eric Adams is making the push for more office-to-residential conversions in New York City, shedding light on plans for the commonly cited tactic for improving housing stock in the city.

Adams announced a plan Monday to bring 20,000 new units online in the next decade through conversions, Gothamist reported. Leaning on recommendations from a city task force, the plan calls for the easing of zoning restrictions and tax breaks for property owners to get projects going.

“These concrete reforms would clear red tape and create the incentives to create the housing we need for New Yorkers at all income levels,” Adams said in a statement.

Red tape is the main obstacle to conversions, which have been floated in light of the office market’s pandemic downturn. Many properties need to be rezoned and the cost of conversions is also a consideration, as the city requires certain layouts that could cost a developer a bundle when transforming from office space.

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Adams’ plan calls for a variety of housing types for conversions, including supportive housing, across areas mentioned including Midtown Manhattan and downtown Flushing in Queens.

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New York’s top officials have been putting an emphasis on housing policy recently, putting out ambitious numbers for improving stock in the city and the state. Adams recently announced a “moonshot” goal of adding 500,000 housing units across the five boroughs. Gov. Kathy Hochul, meanwhile, has committed to building 800,000 affordable housing units across the state.

Some developers aren’t waiting for lawmaker action. The developers behind 25 Wall Street in the Financial District — Jeff Gural’s GFP Real Estate, Nathan Berman’s Metro Loft and Rockwood Capital — are working on a 1,300-unit conversion. The partners recently secured the largest loan for an office-to-residential conversion in United States history, according to Real Capital Analytics data.

— Holden Walter-Warner