Closing Bell: De Blasio Unveils Affordable Housing Plan, Including for Middle Class

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed his $41.1 billion plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade at a press conference this morning in Fort Greene. Standing in front of a mixed-income construction site, the mayor laid out the broad strokes of his plan to maintain 120,000 affordable apartments and construct 80,000 more.

One of the mayor’s key points was implementing mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would require developers to include affordable units when building in newly rezoned areas. To spur more affordable development, the city wants to initiate at least 10 rezonings within the next several years.

“This plan, over the next 10 years, will create opportunity for so many people who are currently priced out of the city,” said de Blasio. “It will be a central pillar in the battle against inequality.”

Going forward, the administration will abandon the Bloomberg era’s model of 80 percent market rate and 20 percent affordable apartments. It is not clear what the new breakdown will be for mandatory affordable units, but the city will also introduce a new program of 100 percent affordable buildings targeted at keeping the middle class in New York City. Those buildings will be 50/30/20, meaning that 20 percent of units will be set aside for low-income households, 30 percent for moderate income households and 50 percent for middle-income households.

His administration also hopes to “increase the number of units available for families making less than around $40,000 a year by 200 percent, and boost the number available for moderate-income families making between $67,121 and $100,680 a year by 50 percent from previous levels,” the Observer reported.

City Planning Chair Carl Weisbrod said he plans to study several neighborhoods that could accommodate denser development, including East New York. He also wants more development on top of rail yards throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as Atlantic Yards. Some of the areas that have been floated for upzoning in recent days include Broadway and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

You can read the press release, and check out the 115-page affordable housing plan PDF here. What do you think of the strategy?

Update: A representative of the Mayor’s office at the Bed Stuy Community Board 3 meeting tonight told us the proportion of affordable housing in mandatory inclusionary buildings is not fixed and will be decided on a case by case basis.

Photo via NYC Mayor’s Office

21 Comment

  • The devil will be in the details. The developments have to be economically advantageous ro the developers. just how the 50/30/20 buildings are economic remains to be seen. Just because parcels are rezoned and the mayor wishes them to be built doesn’t mean thay will be.

  • Well, who pays for it? Where does the $41,100,000,000 come from?

  • Sounds great for the mega developers but for small ones not really economical feasible.

  • Spending $41 billion for 200,000 affordable units (only 80,000 of which are new) represents a transfer of over $200,000 for those 200,000 families and individuals, at the expense of the other 8.1 million residents of New York City who won’t be lucky enough to win the lottery of getting into the rent controlled/stabilized system. There are other ways to deal with the real problem of income inequality than by spending astronomical sums to defend a system of World War Two-era house price controls. Defying the laws of economics by controlling the price of something generally creates scarcity; according to these stats from the Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy, only 39.1% of units in NYC are non-regulated. Should anyone be surprised that rents are so unaffordably high when so much scarcity is created by such widespread rent controls?

    2002[18] 2005[19] 2008[20] 2011[21]
    Type Units % of Units Units % of Units Units % of Units Units % of Units
    Non-Regulated 665.0k 31.9% 697.4k 33.3% 772.7k 36.0% 849.8k 39.1%
    Rent Controlled 59.3k 2.8% 43.3k 2.1% 39.9k 1.9% 38.4k 1.8%
    Rent Stab Pre ’47 773.7k 37.1% 747.3k 35.7% 717.5k 33.5% 743.5k 34.2%
    Rent Stab Post ’46 240.3k 11.5% 296.3k 14.2% 305.8k 14.3% 243.3k 11.2%
    Other Regulated 346.5k 16.6% 308.0k 14.7% 308.6k 14.4% 297.6k 13.7%
    TOTAL 2,085k 100% 2,092k 100% 2,144k 100% 2,173k 100%

    • oops, sorry for the garble of that table in my post…anyone who wants to wonk out on housing stats can look at them here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/downloads/pdf/HPD-2011-HVS-Selected-Findings-Tables.pdf

    • Scarcity is created by restrictive zoning, high labor costs to build new units, and lack of transportation capacity. This is not a defense of rent stabilization but expanding supply — I am going to guess that (at the end of the process) the new supply is 40% rent regulated and 60% market. And half of the 40% will come from the 50/30/20 grouping.

      • The real solution to the housing shortage is to address why private developers are not building enough housing where the demand clearly exists. Rent regulation is only one part of the problem. As Boerum mentions, much more of the city will have to be zoned for greater density and transportation capacity needs to be increased. When the subway system was built out to undeveloped areas of the city in the early 20th century, developers quickly built affordable units to house the thousand of new immigrants flooding into NYC.
        Trying to use public resources and tax incentives to solve this problem will never create enough housing to significantly reduce the shortage of supply. NYC need hundreds of thousands of new units that will drive up vacancy rates and drive down prices. The only way to accomplish this is to mobilize the private sector.

    • The notion that reducing or eliminating rent control and stabilization is a load of “invisible hand of the market” baloney. Did rents go down when Boston/Cambridge eliminated rent stabilization? No, they did not.

  • Love the stats that speak the truth!

  • Given the disaster that has been high density public housing I wonder who the brain surgeon is that came up with the idea of….higher density housing!!!! Given the density of public housing in East New York, Brownsville, Ocean Hill is this really a good idea to create more? And furthermore why should public dollars to the tune of 41 billion be going to enrich developers? I don’t think I like this plan at all.

  • Update: A rep of the mayor’s office at the Community Board 3 meeting tonight told me the proportion of affordable units in mandatory inclusionary buildings is not and will not be fixed. It will be decided on a case by case basis!

    • When any Government decides policy on a case by case basis-its the mega rich political donors that will have the advantage at the expense of the average citizen.
      Cant believe it but I’m missing Bloomberg.
      Deblasio’s two strong points in the election was public housing and LICH. Analyzing the LICH fiasco shows that he does not have leadership skills. I hope he will do better with the housing issue, or many people will be hurt.

    • That’s worse, not better. It means no predictability, so developers will go into the process blind and without any ability to be sure whether their development will be profitable or not (might be profitable as 80/20 and not as 70/30–and who knows which the city will demand). Also creates a much higher likelihood of bribes, kick-backs and general corruption and favoritism.

  • meanwhile, we haven given away park land to private developers and undervalued it!

    “Save Pier 6 But opponents of condominium development in the park say the high prices achieved by Toll Brothers raise questions about whether the city had undervalued the park land and whether it should have been used for housing at all. City property records show the park turned the land over in 2012 to Toll Brothers for $42.5 million under a 97-year lease in the first place.

    “This is yet another reason we shouldn’t put any more housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Brooklyn Democrat.”

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303647204579544271104755500?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303647204579544271104755500.html