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PR- 317-09
July 8, 2009


City Will Transform Unsold Condominiums, Unrented Apartments and Stalled Construction Sites into Affordable Housing for Working Families

Creating Affordable Housing for New Yorkers in Neighborhoods throughoutthe City is Part of Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today announced a $20 million pilot program to turn unsold condominiums, unrented apartments and stalled construction sites into affordable housing opportunities for moderate- and middle-income families. Through the Housing Asset Renewal Program (HARP), the City will negotiate with developers and banks and provide financing to turn unsold or stalled units intended to be sold or rented at market rate into affordable housing. As many as 400 units could be converted as part of the pilot program, which was first proposed by Speaker Quinn in her State of the City speech. The program is part of the City’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to create affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers and the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth, and build affordable, attractive neighborhoods.

“Private developments that sit vacant or unfinished could have a destabilizing effect on our neighborhoods, but we’re not about to let that happen,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This program holds out the promise of addressing the unintended blight caused by vacant sites, while transforming what would have been market-rate buildings into affordable housing for working class New Yorkers.”

“The economic crisis has forced everyone to look for new and innovative solutions to age old problems,” said Speaker Quinn.  “The credit crunch has left buildings across our city empty, just waiting for someone to call them home.  And now, because of the Housing Asset Renewal Program, these units represent our best chance to confront the housing crisis head on.”

The Housing Asset Renewal Program will focus on two types of problematic developments: completed projects with a high number of vacancies and stalled sites that are still under construction. HPD will issue a Notice of Funding Availability for the new program in late July. Projects will be selected through a competitive process based on three goals:

  • Neighborhood Stabilization – Priority will be given to buildings in neighborhoods that will have the greatest impact on keeping communities stable;
  • Efficient Use of Public Funding – Preference will be given to projects that need the lowest amount of public assistance to achieve maximum affordability;
  • Deep Discounts to New Yorkers – Projects will be selected based on which developers and banks offer the deepest discounts below market rates on prospective units.

“This program gives us an opportunity to stabilize neighborhoods that have been most affected by the economic downturn while giving us fresh opportunities to create affordable housing,” said NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero. “We at HPD appreciate the leadership shown by Speaker Quinn, Housing Chair Dilan and Land Use Chair Katz and look forward to strengthening this productive relationship for the benefit of our City.”

“This pilot program is prudently structured to efficiently capture affordability in housing assets that would otherwise languish in the marketplace,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr. “In designing the program, we carefully considered the implications of stepping in to developments that the market had effectively stepped away from. We concluded that in this tough real estate market there are great, cost-efficient opportunities to create affordable housing for New York's residents, while stabilizing neighborhoods.”

 “It appears as though the housing crisis won’t subside any time soon due to the economic downturn,” said City Council Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Erik Martin Dilan.  “If anything, we need to come up with the right plan right now. HARP is a great step forward in turning the current recession into an affordable housing opportunity for working families.”

“At this time in history it is incumbent upon the government to look at all options to create affordable housing in our City,” said City Council Land Use Committee Chair Melinda Katz.  “The Housing Asset Renewal Program will be another tool at our disposal to continue our efforts to add affordable units citywide. Everyone would agree that a completed affordable project is a better investment for our city than a skyline of half finished projects.”

The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit Recently, the City has announced:

  • Eight initiatives to strengthen the media industry in New York City.
  • The opening of New Mount Hope Community Center in the Bronx.
  • The purchase of the Hunter’s Point South site to create a new, affordable neighborhood.
  • New initiatives to help support Hispanic-owned small businesses.
  • A public campaign to help more New Yorkers get free foreclosure prevention services.
  • The start of services of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.
  • A stimulus-funded bond program to spur commercial and industrial projects citywide.
  • The opening of China Construction Bank’s New York City office.
  • The opening of the first section of the High Line.
  • The opening of West Harlem Piers Park.
  • The City will use nearly $32 million to train 10,000 New Yorkers for jobs.
  • New space for 20 small businesses in Bushwick, creating more than 80 industrial jobs.
  • The citywide “Fashion’s Night Out” event to support retailers in all five boroughs.
  • The start to construction of the International Gem Tower, which will house 3,000 jobs.
  • Start of review process for Kingsbridge Armory project creating 1,200 permanent jobs.
  • City’s Workforce1 Centers in Harlem and Jamaica received awards for innovation.
  • Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program to encourage grocery stores.
  • City-supported loans unavailable from banks to help small businesses stay in operation.
  • Three new Financial Empowerment Centers offering free, one-on-one financial coaching.
  • Stimulus funding to help the City provide summer jobs for 51,000 young New Yorkers.
  • The opening of New Hope Walton Project, housing for low-income residents in Harlem
  • New affordable housing at Gateway Building, a long-vacant structure in the South Bronx.
  • The Harlem Business Assistance Fund to help businesses relocate to the 125th Street area.
  • The expansion of NYC Business Express to help businesses obtain permits and licenses.
  • New international cruise activity, growing New York City’s 13,000-job cruise industry.
  • Steps to help New York City’s bioscience companies compete for Federal funding.
  • The “Nine in ’09” campaign to promote economic activity in diverse neighborhoods.
  • A Center for Economic Opportunity program put 4,000 low-income New Yorkers in jobs.
  • Stimulus-funded community development projects that will strengthen neighborhoods.
  • Stimulus-funded Housing Authority projects that will create jobs for 3,255 New Yorkers.
  • The start of construction of 103 units of affordable housing in Brownsville.
  • A plan to protect area character and expand commercial opportunities in Sunset Park.
  • The opening of Home Depot in the South Bronx creating 200 new permanent jobs.
  • Legislation that will green buildings and create 19,000 construction jobs.
  • The latest round of training funds to help small businesses train their employees.
  • The final tally of 1,673 additional jobs created at the new Yankee Stadium.
  • The placement of 50 laid-off New Yorkers into positions at entrepreneurial companies.
  • New York City achieved a record 5,000 job placements through the first quarter of 2009.
  • Help for a beer distributor to create 55 permanent and 30 construction jobs in the Bronx.
  • Green projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating more than 1,700 permanent jobs.
  • A Federal grant to create green jobs as part of the City’s MillionTreesNYC campaign.
  • Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
  • Federal stimulus transportation projects that will create or preserve 32,000 jobs.
  • New automated water meter readers that could help businesses retain or create 550 jobs.
  • New programs to provide training and resources for City’s future entrepreneurs.
  • Steps the City is taking to help small businesses adapt to conditions and avoid layoffs.
  • More than 50,000 New Yorkers claimed the City’s Child Care Tax Credit in its first year.
  • 11 new initiatives to support the financial services sector and promote entrepreneurship.
  • A plan for Coney Island that will create 6,000 permanent and 25,000 construction jobs.
  • A plan to create and retain 400,000 jobs over the next six years.


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Jamie McShane / Andrew Doba (Council)   (212) 788-7116

Catie Marshall / Seth Donlin (HPD)   (212) 863-6300

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