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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Mayor's Office Press Release #60-03


February 28, 2003

Press Contacts:
Ed Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958


Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Law

"The first bill before me today is Introductory Number 282-A, sponsored at my request by Council Members Provenzano, Comrie, Diaz, Felder, Fidler, Nelson, Sears, Stewart and Weprin. Intro. 282-A extends and enriches one of the City's best tools for spurring the modernization and rehabilitation of its housing stock: the J-51 tax benefit program.

"The J-51 program, which is set to expire on December 31, 2003, provides both a tax abatement and tax exemption benefit to property owners who modernize and renovate their multiple dwellings - from rewiring electrical systems to replacing windows and boilers. Between Fiscal Years 1999 and 2002, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has approved more than $363 million in J-51 tax abatements to modernize or rehabilitate more than 246,000 housing units in New York City, and since FY '93, HPD has approved 871,000 units of housing for J-51 benefits. In short, the J-51 program has worked - and it can work better still.

"Intro. 282-A extends the J-51 program to December 31, 2007, while also expanding the benefit of the program itself. Currently, former City-owned buildings that have been transferred to qualified private or not-for-profit developers, as well as privately owned buildings undergoing moderate rehabilitation through government loans, can receive a 34-year tax exemption. This bill would extend tax benefits from 14 to 34 years for privately owned substantially rehabilitated buildings, if the rehabilitation is performed as part of a program for affordable housing.

"The enhanced benefits contained in this bill will prove enormously valuable in our efforts to revitalize neighborhoods throughout the City. Privately owned buildings which currently stand vacant and boarded up will see new life. So too will mixed-use privately owned buildings on commercial corridors where housing units located above storefronts are either vacant or in disrepair. Our housing needs are too great, and our neighborhoods too important, to allow buildings to remain vacant.

"This law will lead to more housing production, including affordable housing that we so badly need, and a more modern housing stock. It is a first step toward realizing my plan for a new housing marketplace, which will create 65,000 new units of housing, including affordable housing, over the next five years. I congratulate the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Council Member Provenzano, and all who helped pass this important piece of legislation."

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