Astoria Cove Essex Crossing Update
Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan aims to create or preserve 200,000 units over the next decade. The de Blasio administration’s new policy for residential zoning in all areas was announced by Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Alicia Glen. “Mandatory inclusionary zoning means you can’t build without meeting the guidelines for providing affordable housing,” said Glen.
Glen and de Blasio’s message is clear, “If you want to build a building, you have to provide affordable housing.” The cause for concern with real estate leaders is whether the mandatory mandatory units will entitle developers to build density to make large-scale projects economically feasible.
55 percent of New Yorkers spend 30 percent of their income on housing. More than 30 percent of the city’s residents spend over half their income on housing.
The city was able to win an agreement from Alma Realty to build 345 units of affordable units, an addition of 50 affordable units than initially proposed. The 1723-unit mixed-units development will have 20 percent affordable housing units.
Glen says that the Astoria Cove development won’t be the standard for future developments. Developers want to build more affordable housing but are waiting for key information including, exact affordable housing unit percentages, income levels of tenants served by those housing units, and most importantly the amount of market-rate housing density the city will trade for the lower rent units.
Developers like BFC Partners are prepared to invest in new projects if the mayor’s team is prepared to provide significant additional density to develops in exchange for affordable units. BFC is developing a 250-unit tower at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn that is 50 percent market-value, 30 percent middle-income, and 20 percent affordable units. BFC is also close to closing on its joints 50 percent affordable venture for the Essex Crossing Complex at Seward Park on the Lower East Side.
Developers want to help de Blasio succeed in his housing plan goals and the managing principal of BFC, Donald Capoccia, credits the city for “getting this production pipeline started up quickly”.