City hall aide leads pro-housing group

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In a city where even small accommodation offers may become storms of controversy, a rising pro-housing group seeks to change the politics around the development.

“I really think building more housing shouldn’t be controversial,” said Annemarie Gray, an Adams administration official who takes over as executive director of the Open New York group.

Gray joins the organization from City Hall, where she worked as a senior land use advisor to two deputy mayors — Maria Torres-Springer and Vicki Been — managing major planning initiatives such as the recent SoHo rezonings. and Gowanus.

“I did this work from within for almost two years now,” Gray said in an interview. “And I really fundamentally believe that what’s really important and needed now is that we build a broader coalition and create the kind of political environment that can finally deal with this crisis.”

Housing production in New York has lagged far behind population growth, and as the city emerges from Covid-19, rents continue to hit record highs, evictions are on the rise, and homeless shelters city ​​shelter bursting at the seams.

Meanwhile, the process of building new housing is often long and expensive – and only made worse by tense political dynamics around the development. Several housing proposals put to Council votes in the coming weeks and months have been pushed back by the body, including a plan along Bruckner Boulevard in Throggs Neck backed by Open New York.

The organization – who fought for the rezonings like the Soho plan — sought to counter anti-development voices that can be particularly powerful in wealthier neighborhoods with more resources to fight new housing. He also pushed statewide policies to boost housing supply in New York, such as a proposal to legalize secondary suites.

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NUMBER OF DAYS: 49% — the share of Manhattan office workers who are back at their desks on an average weekday, according to a new survey from the Partnership for New York City.

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MAJOR SLOWDOWN IN NEW HOUSING — POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha: As New York City grapples with skyrocketing rents and a burgeoning homelessness crisis, city-funded affordable housing production has seen a 45% drop in the past fiscal year – which includes the first six months of Mayor Eric Adams’ term, according to new data Friday. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development funded the creation and preservation of 16,042 affordable housing units in fiscal year 2022, a significant drop from the 29,408 units funded in the prior fiscal year. The decline comes amid economic headwinds for the city and an ongoing staff shortage at the housing department. The city did, however, secure funding for upgrades and repairs to 5,909 apartments from the New York City Housing Authority, up from 1,718 public housing units retained in the previous fiscal year, according to figures published in the mayor’s management report. .

LITTLE PROGRESS ON HOTEL CONVERSIONS – POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha: With soaring rents and rebounding tourism, New York’s ambitious plan to convert tens of thousands of hotel rooms emptied by Covid into affordable housing looks like a failure. A similar plan in California has created 12,500 homes over the past two years, and municipalities from Missouri to Florida have followed suit. But after a year and $200 million committed, New York hasn’t created a single apartment — thanks in part to piecemeal implementation and lawmakers’ deference to the powerful Hotel Trades Council. And now that travelers are returning, the window for action is closing.

“During the pandemic, in the middle of the pandemic, there was this really amazing opportunity for the city to buy hotels at a great discount,” said Brenda Rosen, president of affordable housing provider and nonprofit Breaking Ground, which pursued conversions, in an interview. . “But now with tourism coming back, and people coming back to work and people coming back to town for conferences and stuff, that opportunity isn’t as great. I would say he basically escaped.

ADAMS ASK TECHNOLOGY LEADERS TO STAY IN NYC — CNBC’s Brian Schwartz: “During a private dinner Wednesday at the swanky Le Pavilion in New York, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on tech leaders to keep their businesses in the city, even as industry leaders do share their concerns with city officials about skyrocketing rents and increasing violent crime. Over entrees of steak, halibut or pasta and copious amounts of wine, Adams made a “passionate appeal to tech leaders to stay and invest in New York,” one attendee said. He told the more than two dozen tech leaders, “New York City needs and wants tech companies,” another attendee said, adding that city officials want tech companies “to help grow the economy of this city.

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BARNETT BUYS TWO BRIDGES SITE – Rich Bockmann of The Real Deal: “If Gary Barnett’s $250 million listing on Billionaires’ Row didn’t tell you he was bullish on the residential market, his latest trade will. The head of Extell Development is buying a Two Bridges development site next to his One Manhattan Square condo tower for a price approaching $100 million, sources said. Barnett is under contract to buy the Starrett Corporation site at 259 Clinton Street, which can be transformed into a 61-story tower with up to 765 apartments. The Real Deal previously reported that Starrett had filed plans to set up a foundation by the spring so the site could qualify for 421-a tax relief, which expired in June.

RENT FRAUD LAWSUIT CAN MOVE FORWARD — David Brand of City Limits: “Hundreds of tenants in 11 buildings in Harlem can now unite to challenge a landlord accused of illegally raising the rents of their stabilized apartments after a state judge approved their unique class action lawsuit last month. Tenants say the landlord, a collection of single-entity LLCs tied to Big City Properties and Magnolia Holdings, inflated rents by making false claims of individual apartment improvements, failing to register units with the state and retaining stabilized leases despite obtaining municipal tax breaks. .”

STILL THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS? — Dodai Stewart of the New York Times: “If you see “Moulin Rouge” on Broadway on a Thursday at 8 p.m. and you leave the theater after 10:30 p.m., do not take the train to Wo Hop expecting you at 11 p.m. lo mein. The subway is running all night again, but the Chinatown institution that was once open 24 hours now closes at 10 p.m. ‘ but these days it closes at 2am on Friday and Saturday and at 11pm the rest of the week. The Chelsea Cafeteria, the stylishly designed comforting dining space, once open all day and night, now shuts down at 1am….

As New York recovers from the global pandemic, one wonders if its reputation as a city open 24 hours a day is not in question. The reasons for the early closings vary: some businesses grew tired of drunken customers in the wee hours of the morning. Some worried about the safety of their staff traveling to their homes. Some have backed off during the pandemic and have yet to resume 24-hour hours. And many restaurants are still reporting difficulty finding enough help, even amid signs of improvement.

— New York City is considering a lawsuit to stop Texas Governor Greg Abbott from sending more asylum seekers to the five boroughs.

— DSA-backed State Senator Jabari Brisport tweeted recently: “It is now clear to me that the construction of housing at market price does not increase nearby rents.”

— These three restaurants in Manhattan are finally reopening after long pandemic closures.

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