FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DETAILS NATIONS LARGEST MUNICIPAL HOUSING PLAN TO BUILD AND PRESERVE 165,000 UNITS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Mayor and Housing Commissioner Outline New Initiatives To Fulfill Commitment Made During Campaign and in State of the City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan today announced details of the expansion of the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, which has grown from a $3.4 billion plan to build and preserve 68,000 units by 2008, to a $7.5 billion plan to build and preserve 165,000 units by 2013. This is the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history and will provide affordable homes for 500,000 New Yorkers. Today’s announcement adds further detail to Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign pledge, which he re-affirmed in last month’s State of the City address. The plan includes new tools to spur private investment in affordable housing including innovative uses for City-owned land, initiatives to preserve existing affordable units, and a new program to provide affordable housing for middle-class families. Mayor Bloomberg also announced the formation of a taskforce to examine modernization and reform of the 421-a tax incentive program.
Mayor Bloomberg detailed the expansion of the Administration’s affordable housing plan at Lenox Gardens on West 117th Street in Harlem, a 51-unit, fully affordable co-op developed by the Bluestone Organization through HPD’s Cornerstone Program, which promotes development of mid-rise apartment buildings on City-owned land. Mayor Bloomberg was joined by HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Emily Youssouf, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman Tino Hernandez, and City Council member Inez Dickens.
“Building affordable housing is critical to New York’s future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As our City grows and continues to attract people from around the world, it is a challenge for working New Yorkers to find quality, affordable housing. In the mid-1980s, New York began using property foreclosures to build affordable housing and revive neighborhoods through Mayor Koch’s Ten Year Housing Plan. Now that stock of city-owned property is nearly gone, our neighborhoods are stronger than ever before. But we still face a major challenge: affordability. Our Administration’s Ten Year Plan addresses this concern by using new and innovative ways to harness the power of the private housing market to provide 165,000 units over ten years for 500,000 low and middle-income New Yorkers.”
Mayor Bloomberg also announced 22 designations for Round IV of the Cornerstone Program for development of 1,127 units in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. As part of the selection process, HPD gave preference to developers who committed to building more affordable housing than the required minimum, a change from prior rounds. As a result, 84% of the Cornerstone developments will be affordable – which exceeds the affordability requirements by three times. In addition, 17 of the 22 designees include partners who are either non-profits or minority- or women-owned businesses.
“In the three years since Mayor Bloomberg launched the New Housing Marketplace Plan,” said HPD Commissioner Donovan, “we have made significant progress and we are ahead of schedule towards meeting the initial 68,000 unit target set by the Mayor. Housing starts, homeownership rates and neighborhood conditions are at record highs. But we know that we can and need to do even more. The Ten Year Plan will pioneer new tools – from reforming tax incentives to inclusionary zoning – to catalyze and harness the private market to create affordable housing. We look forward to working with our partners to create new homes and new opportunities for half a million New Yorkers.”
Innovative Uses of City-Owned Land
Included in the details of the plan to build and preserve 165,000 units are innovative uses of City-owned land. With the end of the in-rem portfolio, HPD is focusing on maximizing the number of affordable housing units the City is creating on publicly-owned land through collaborations with other City agencies. HPD is working closely with partners such as the New York City Housing Authority, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to expand its affordable housing pipeline. In addition, relationships are being forged with agencies that are not typically associated with development, including the Department of Transportation, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and the Human Resources Administration. Most of the housing being developed will be co-located with other compatible uses, such as mixing residential and commercial uses together. For example, HPD will issue an RFP later this year seeking developers to build affordable housing and replacement parking on underutilized Department of Transportation properties. Altogether, these partnerships with City and State agencies are expected to generate over 20,000 units of new affordable housing by 2013.
Affordable Housing for Middle-Income Families
Recognizing that the need for affordable housing is also felt by middle-class families, Mayor Bloomberg announced today the first developments in his middle-class housing initiative designed to encourage moderate- and middle-income families to stay in New York City and allow the City’s economy to continue to grow. In the first developments, HPD and NYCHA will develop middle-class housing on NYCHA sites in West Chelsea and Hudson Yards, another example of innovative uses of City-owned land. This development will generate 435 units of housing for New York’s working families, which will be completed and occupied by 2009. The middle-class housing initiative which Mayor Bloomberg has described as a “Mitchell Lama program for the 21st Century” will generate up to 22,000 units of housing for New York households earning between $50,000 and $100,000.
The Right Tax Incentives for the New Marketplace
Mayor Bloomberg’s Housing Plan will ensure that the tax incentive programs the City has developed to spur housing production are working for today’s real estate market and are allowing the City to create the maximum possible amount of affordable housing.
An HPD-led taskforce will examine 421-a, the most utilized residential tax incentive program, which since 1971 has helped fuel the construction of over 110,000 apartments in the City. The taskforce, which will issue recommendations in the Fall, will include members of the real estate, community development, and advocacy communities, as well as representatives from City agencies and the City Council. The goal of this taskforce will be to realign the 421-a program with today’s real estate market, which will provide upwards of $200 million in capital funding for the New Housing Marketplace Plan.
Cornerstone Round IV Designations
In detailing the Ten Year New Housing Marketplace Plan, Mayor Bloomberg announced the awarding of 22 designations for Round IV of the Cornerstone program, which promotes development of mid-rise apartment buildings on City-owned land. A total of 4,525 Cornerstone units have already been started, and the 22 new sites announced today will yield an additional 1,127 units, approximately half of which will be homeownership units, and half will be rental units. The RFP required 20% of the units be reserved for low-income families, but for the first time, a preference in the RFP was given to developers who committed to building more affordable housing than the required minimum. As a result, nearly 66% of the units will be for low-income families (earning less than 80 % of Area Median Income, or $50,250 for a family of four), and 18% will be for moderate- and middle-income families. The total number of affordable units will therefore be 84%. The designees represent a cross-section of New York, and 17 of the 22 designees include partners who are either non-profit organizations or minority- or women-owned businesses. This RFP was included released in August 2005 as part of a larger RFP to build new homes on the last remaining sites in HPD's portfolio.
The New Ten Year Plan also features other innovative ways to achieve the 165,000 unit goal, including targeted inclusionary rezonings, a $200 million fund - the New York City Acquisition Fund - that serves as a catalyst for the construction and preservation of more than 30,000 units of affordable housing citywide, New York/New York III, a $1 billion pact with New York State to finance and develop 9,000 new units of supportive housing in the City, and the New York Housing Trust Fund, which will use Battery Park City revenues to develop approximately 4,500 units of affordable housing. In addition, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City will rehabilitate family homes taken in foreclosure by the Federal government, where a 30% preference for Veterans will apply. A full description of the Ten Year New Housing Marketplace Plan is available at www.nyc.gov/hpd.
Since January 2002, the City has funded the construction and preservation of 56,000 units of affordable housing. The Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS) recently released by HPD provided evidence of a New York City housing boom, recording the largest housing stock in the 40-year period since the first HVS was conducted in 1965. The City’s housing stock increased by 52,000 between 2002 and 2005, the largest increase since 1991. Separate data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of new housing units authorized for construction in 2005 was the highest since 1972. The HVS also reports that the homeownership rate in the City was 33.3% in 2005, an all-time high for the 40-year period of the Survey. In addition, both New Yorkers’ satisfaction with their neighborhoods and overall building conditions were the best ever in the 27-years since the HVS started examining them. The HVS also showed that demand for housing is high and affordability is an increasing challenge for New York with its growing population.
Stu Loeser/Paul Elliott (212) 788-2958
Neill Coleman (HPD)
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