The Water Street Apartments at 60 Water Street in Dumbo are now taking applications for affordable units there. Construction on the Two Trees development, known as Dock Street Dumbo, started in 2012. The 18-story mixed-use development will have 300 rental units in total, including 58 affordable units. The affordable units will range from studios to two-bedrooms.
Monthly rents will start at $538 for a studio and go up as high as $893 for some two-bedroom units, according to an email sent out by Community Board Two. Income caps range from approximately $23,000 a year for a studio to $42,000 a year for a family of four. Applications must be postmarked by April 7. For more information, or to download an application, go to http://www.phippsny.org/page/135.
Bed Stuy’s The Shelton, an affordable co-op building that launched sales in 2012, is now 90 percent sold, according to a press release. The 14-story building at 775 Lafayette Avenue between Throop Avenue and Marcus Garvey Boulevard still has four units available, all two-bedroom, two-bath units, starting at $424,500.
There is no lottery for the co-op units, but purchasers cannot have incomes exceeding $145,250 per household.
Thirty percent of the units in the 83-unit building were sold through a lottery process in 2012. The middle-income co-op units range from one-bedrooms to three-bedrooms. The units have oak floors, granite and Caesarstone counters, and washers and dryers. The building has a part time doorman, gym, bike storage and underground parking. St. Philip’s Christian Church owns community and office space in the building.
Developer TNS Development Group Ltd. contributed equity to the project. Funding came from Banco Popular North America, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) and The Housing Partnership Development Corporation (HDC).
The developers behind Navy Green have re-filed new building permits for the first of 23 market-rate townhouses in the affordable Fort Greene development, which already includes two mixed-income rental buildings and a third for supportive housing. L+M Development and Dunn Development will build the three-story single-family homes on a large vacant lot at 24 Vanderbilt Avenue, half a block from the Navy Yard.
The massive publicly funded project already has a 12-story building at 7 Clermont Avenue, an eight-story one at 45 Clermont, and the supportive housing building at 40 Vanderbilt Avenue. Until now, Navy Green has cost an estimated $85,200,000 in city and state funds. GMAP
Correction: The townhouses are market rate, not affordable.
In a most unexpected development, New York State politicans are pushing to restart the Mitchell-Lama housing program for the middle class in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported. The effort, which is being spearheaded by a Bronx-based State Senator, would be state wide. At this early stage of the game, it’s anyone’s guess whether any of the housing would be built in Brooklyn, but it seems likely, given the skyrocketing cost of housing here.
The units could be rentals or co-ops. In the case of rentals in New York City, the income requirement for a family of four would be $75,000 to $100,000 a year. Rents would be set at $1,900 to $2,500 a month.
That range sounds pretty expensive for a family earning $75,000 to $100,000, but it’s certainly more affordable than current market rate rents in prime areas of Brooklyn. Perhaps also the apartments would be roomier — and more suitable for a family with children — than comparably priced units on the open market, if past Mitchell-Lama units are any indication.
The 1950s-era program created more than 100,000 homes statewide. The new program would cost $750 million to build several thousand units in New York City and four upstate cities over a span of five years. The state, for its part, would kick in $150 million each year “to finance more affordable mortgages for developers and create a new tax credit for the developments,” said the story.
Are you in favor of Mitchell-Lama housing in Brooklyn? Above, Brooklyn’s Starrett City, now called Spring Creek, a Mitchell-Lama project in Jamaica Bay.
The landlord of a multifamily building 98 Linden Street in Bushwick removed the kitchens and baths in two rent-stabilized apartments “under the pretext that he was renovating the apartments” seven months ago and left them that way to try to force the tenants to move so he can increase the rent on the apartments, according to a story in the Brooklyn Bureau. The tenants have been using neighbors’ kitchens and bathrooms since then.
A child living in one of the units came down with pneumonia, “which was exacerbated by the horrible condition” of the apartment. Two tenants are elderly with arthritis and kidney problems, which require drinking a lot of water, accessible only via stairs in a neighbor’s apartment.
The tenants have appealed to the DOB, HPD, and gone to court, but the conditions have not changed, the story said. They have not moved because rents elsewhere are unaffordable. Tenants rights groups held a rally outside the landlord’s house in Borough Park last week.
The multifamily building, pictured above, traded between LLCs for $610,000 in January 2013, according to PropertyShark.
A New York Times story on the details of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create more affordable housing for New Yorkers and bridge the “tale of two cities” divide he campaigned against says his efforts are likely to fail because New York City’s affordability crisis stems from rent deregulation, not a failure to build enough housing.
De Blasio’s goal is to build 200,000 new units of affordable housing, making them mandatory in new developments and tightening the restrictions for affordability so they are more within the reach of low-income New Yorkers. Experts said 200,000 is ambitious: Koch created more than 190,000 units over 13 years, mostly by renovating vacant buildings, and Bloomberg “saved or added” 165,000 units over 12 years, meaning mostly that existing low-income units were preserved with subsidies or incentives.
Bloomberg’s rezoning of more than 40 percent of the city followed by a building boom with voluntary 80-20 developments resulted in relatively few new affordable units: Nearly 3,000. Under the mandatory program de Blasio proposes, perhaps 25,000 to 50,000 affordable units could be added, experts estimate. While that’s far better than the current record, it’s still just a drop in the bucket compared to de Blasio’s stated goal of 200,000 and, more important, the number of affordable units that once existed in the city.
In 1981, rent regulated apartments made up 61 percent of rental units. Now it’s 47 percent. And it continues to drop. Even if de Blasio succeeds in adding 200,000 new affordable units and manages to keep some of the existing 1 million regulated apartments from turning market rate though loans and tax incentives, we’ll still have a crisis, said the Times.
No one is talking about the city building affordable housing (like Mitchell Lama or new low-income projects) because federal subsidies no longer exist.
So really, de Blasio needs to bring back rent regulation, said the Times:
To make truly transformative changes in the supply of affordable housing, Mr. de Blasio would most likely need to find a way to change the state law covering rent increases and apartment regulation. He has told tenant groups that he will go to Albany with them to fight to repeal the statute that gave the state control over rent regulation in the city.
What do you think of de Blasio’s plan for adding 200,000 units of affordable housing?
Downtown Brooklyn is really heating up: Commercial sales boomed across the borough with downtown in the lead in 2013, and about 14,000 new units of housing are in the works just in downtown alone. Compare that to the six years ended in 2012, when 6,500 new units of housing were created downtown, said DNAinfo.
A report out from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership pointed out other recent changes to the area: 30 new restaurants and stores, the opening of two theaters, a new plaza, and plantings on Flatbush Avenue. In the works are a new library, BAM cinema, and the 651 rehearsal space.
“More than 3,300 housing units are currently under construction in downtown Brooklyn — 419 of which are affordable — and another 9,000 market-rate and 2,900 affordable units are in the planning stages for the neighborhood,” said DNAinfo.
Commercial sales increased 393 percent, to more than $5,000,000,000, across the whole borough in the last four years, according to a report from TerraCRG cited by The Real Deal. The area comprising downtown and Park Slope “had the borough’s highest dollar volume, with sales up 67 percent to $1.5 billion from last year,” said the publication.
A group of artists living in a converted industrial warehouse in Red Hook, above, are suing the landlord to make the building rent stabilized retroactively, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the same time, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna has been speaking out about the importance of maintaining Brooklyn’s industrial spaces for manufacturing use to keep jobs in the area, while Borough President Eric Adams is saying his No. 1 priority is encouraging the growth of more below-market rate housing, according to The Brooklyn Paper.
Reyna is pushing to have the Pfizer building complex on the Williamsburg Bed Stuy border designated part of an Industrial Business Zone that cannot be converted to residential and with incentives for manufacturing. Though as we noted last week, manufacturing tenants are moving out of industrial buildings in the IBZ in North Williamsburg as they are turned into more lucrative hotels and stores.
“We’ve got to keep Brooklyn affordable, that’s the No. 1 thing,” the Brooklyn Paper quoted Adams as saying.
The city has been giving loans to nonprofits so they can beat out private investors to buy up apartment buildings in foreclosure and keep the units affordable to existing tenants. However, the program is not working, at least not for four buildings in Bed Stuy and Crown Heights investigated by The Wall Street Journal.
In fact, the buildings have deteriorated further under the program and may end up being sold to for-profit developers anyway.
The story recounts the travails of Pinkrose James, a 56-year-old cook and 16-year resident of one of the buildings, 230 Schenectady. Most of the other tenants in her building were evicted, but she has held on because she can’t afford higher rent. A fire in her apartment forced her into a shelter for seven months while waiting for repairs. ”I can’t afford to live in this skyrocketing rent that they have in Brooklyn now,” she told the WSJ.
The slow court process for foreclosures in Brooklyn has prevented nonprofit Mutual Housing Association of New York from gaining control of the buildings and making repairs, according to the story.
The buildings are located at 266 Malcolm X Boulevard, 896 Madison Street, and 230 and 232 Schenectady Avenue. The Journal said all four are in Bed Stuy, but two are in Crown Heights.
Probably nothing sums up controversial, disgraced former state pol Vito Lopez’s modus operandi better than the sign that tops the entrance of affordable housing complex Rheingold Gardens on Bushwick Avenue, pictured above. “Thank you Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez” it says, over “Rheingold Gardens,” as if that were part of the name of the building.
A lengthy and exhaustive look at Lopez’s impact on his home base of Bushwick by the BK Bureau may actually understate his accomplishments there. Lopez and the nonprofit Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (which he founded) owned, managed, built or protected via legislation most of the affordable and rent stabilized housing in Bushwick as well as arranged health care, senior services and, in some cases, jobs for area residents.
When recent college graduates with arty professions started moving into the loft area, Lopez was quick to align his interests with theirs, passing the Loft Law, to help them legalize and stay in their apartments. Not everyone in Bushwick liked the guy or the appearance of machine politics, but he got a lot done. Now that he’s gone, by coincidence or not, the second stage of Rheingold Brewery development isn’t primarily low income and affordable housing but rather the usual private development common in Northern Brooklyn, with 20 percent set aside for affordable housing. That law, by the way — Lopez made it.
After court challenges about discrimination, Lopez project the Broadway Triangle development appears dead, but the Ridgewood Bushwick Council continues, with plans to build two 24-unit affordable apartments to passive house standards.
“Affordable” rents at the first Atlantic Yards tower will range from $648 to $2,740 a month for a two-bedroom, with the average two-bedroom renting for $1,946, the Atlantic Yards Report said, based on just-published information from New York City’s Housing Development Corporation.
This is the first time any specifics have been released, although rents could change by the time the tower is completed late in 2014 because they are based on Area Median Income. Above, the ghost outlines of the B2 tower at left and another one slated to rise next to Barclays Center at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.
Out of 363 units in 32 stories total, there will be 181 affordable units. Of these, 20 percent will be low income and 30 percent middle income. Market-rate two-bedrooms are expected to be $4,403 a month.
There will be relatively few bigger subsidized units. Here’s the breakdown: 76 studios, 69 one-bedrooms, and 36 two-bedrooms — a violation of the Community Benefits Agreement, which called for more two- and three-bedrooms, according to AYR. The average subsidized studio will go for $1,078 a month. The average subsidized one-bedroom clocks in at $1,161.
For more specifics on what the units will cost and who will qualify, click through to the Atlantic Yards Report story. Do you think these new units will be help ease the housing crunch?
Brooklyn needs its own type of affordable housing, according to a panel at the quarterly Real Estate Roundtable. There are currently two types, which work well in Manhattan but not the outer boroughs, reported Crain’s.
The 80/20 program gives tax breaks to developers who voluntarily make 20 percent of units in their buildings affordable. Another program showers developers with other incentives and more tax breaks for building 100 percent affordable buildings. Pictured above is a recently completed 100 percent affordable complex on Atlantic between Eastern Parkway and Sackman Street in Brownsville.
The state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency, which runs both programs, is going to create a task force to study alternative methods. One idea is a 70/30 building, and another is partial subsidies for 80/20 buildings, said the agency’s commissioner, Darryl Towns.
The 80/20 program is best suited to areas with very high rents, such as Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, according to panelist David Kramer, principal of Hudson Companies. Crain’s said:
Higher rents in the 80% portion, somewhere north of $40 per square foot annually in Brooklyn, for example, offset initial construction costs and make the whole project feasible when coupled with tax breaks associated with the affordable units. In neighborhoods with much lower annual median incomes, where developers cannot recoup those new development costs through rent and thus wouldn’t leap at ground-up developments, subsidized, 100% affordable projects are an option.
But neighborhoods such as Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, where rents are in the $30 per square foot range per year need other incentives. “Just having 80/20s and 100 percent affordable is leaving so many New Yorkers with less and less housing,” said Towns.