NYC Affordable Housing Initiatives May Benefit Private Sector Developers

With Bill de Blasio taking over as the mayor of New York City after three-term pro development Mayor Michael Bloomberg, real estate industry professionals were generally puzzled about what direction the new mayor would take toward development in Manhattan as well as in the outer boroughs, like Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Well, if recent developments in the Bronx are any indication, then the de Blasio administration is showing a practical side that may bode well for private sector developers. First, the $345 million Le Central will add nearly 1,000 units of affordable housing in the Melrose section, filling the borough’s largest remaining piece of city-owned land. The five-building, 184,500 square foot development will include 985 units of affordable housing, retail space and some surprises — a new YMCA, an astronomy lab, a rooftop farm and a recording studio. It will also include supportive housing for veterans and HIV-positive individuals as well as a diabetes prevention program.

This project follows on the heels of the income-regulated Via Verde project, which opened two years ago as part of the Bloomberg administration’s plan to add nearly 50,000 units of affordable housing in the Bronx.

Another recent project is the $80 million, 206-unit affordable housing development in the Soundview section of the Bronx. This project, which will provide access to Soundview Park, a 205-acre free space along the Bronx River, is further proof of the success of the decades-long agreement between two NYC housing departments — the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York City Housing Authority. Joining these two groups are the city’s Housing Development Corporation and three different affordable housing developers in the three separate phases of the project.

While these developments stem out of the waning days of the Bloomberg’s administration, the willingness of the new de Blasio administration “to have a dialogue” with developers is still up in the air. All of the new administration’s perspective should become clearer when Alicia Glen, New York City’s deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, presents the results of a comprehensive study on land-use policy in the city on May 1. Stay tuned …

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