affordable housing

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Westminster Cares? Tenants of Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner Say Not So Much

One of Jared Kushner's buildings, 118 East 4th Street, where tenants have taken legal action against their landlord (Photo courtesy of Streeteasy)

One of Jared Kushner’s buildings, 118 East 4th Street, where tenants have taken legal action against their landlord (Photo courtesy of Streeteasy)

After months of pleading with Westminster City Living to restore cooking gas and address a litany of repairs in her aging East Village tenement building, Jennifer Hengen and other members of the 118 East 4th Street tenant association had reached their breaking point. “It was like waiting for Godot,” she recalled.

Not only had the building’s real-estate management company, headed by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, neglected to fix problems in her building, and many more across the neighborhood, but tenants felt as if the problems didn’t really matter to management. “We’re invisible to them because we’re not millionaires,” she said. “I just don’t think we’re taken very seriously– number one, because we’re not in one of the big, shiny buildings and, number two, because we are rent-stabilized.”

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The Future of ’80/20′ Affordable Housing Hangs in the Balance: Can 421-A Be Fixed?

(Photo: C Ceres Merry)

(Photo: C Ceres Merry)

You may not have realized it, but the city has been in the midst of a “developocalypse” since January, when the state’s 421-a program expired. For decades, the program had fueled development by excusing building owners of property taxes for up to 25 years so long as they devoted at least 20 percent of their units to affordable housing. Earlier this month, it was announced that the stalemate that brought on the developocalpyse, or at least that’s how developers understood it, was over. As the state legislature now mulls over whether to approve the reauthorization of 421-a, City Council members are seeking ways to fix it, and make sure the program fulfills its original mission of creating affordable housing.

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How Williamsburg Airbnb Hosts Are Dealing With the New Law Against Home Sharing

17-airbnb-logo.w245.h368.2x1As you surely know by now if you rent out your apartment through Airbnb—whether you’re a working stiff making a few extra bucks each month to cover your rent or an enterprising bartender making $45,000 a year pimping out your friends’ pads—the jig is just about up. A new state law threatens to push many users out of the short-term rental business, so Bedford + Bowery asked several Airbnb hosts from the home sharing hub of Williamsburg how they plan to deal with the new regulation. Keep Reading »

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Protests Continue Against Demolition of East Village Tenements For Hotel

City Council Member Rosie Mendez addresses the crowd (Photo: Michael Garofalo)

City Council Member Rosie Mendez addresses the crowd (Photo: Michael Garofalo)

Update, Oct. 20, 6:13pm: This post has been updated to include comments from the mayor’s office and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Elected officials, community activists, labor union members, and preservationists gathered on East 11th Street yesterday to protest a development plan that would demolish five 19th Century tenement buildings to make way for a 300-room hotel. The protest, organized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and other local groups, attracted several dozen demonstrators who called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to halt the demolition of the buildings.

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Protesters Urge Council Member to Curb Luxury Housing in Chinatown and LES

De Blasio as Monopoly man. (Photo: Nicole Disser)

De Blasio as Monopoly man. (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Perhaps you thought that the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side sounded angry earlier this year when about 60 activists associated with the group gathered outside Gracie Mansion in the bitter February cold to protest the mayor’s “big scam” of a housing plan. But that demonstration was nothing compared to the one staged Thursday, when the Coalition led a large, supremely loud protest against the loss of affordable housing.

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Gabriel Byrne, Electeds Try to Save Elizabeth St. Garden From New Threat

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Walking down Soho’s Elizabeth Street can feel like a neverending vortex of high-class retail, where the designer clothing racks outnumber the people. That is, until you arrive at the lush, green Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring Streets. The green “oasis” (as many have dubbed it) and community hub is once again being actively considered for a site for affordable senior housing, a decision that has long been opposed by Community Board 2 but supported by the area’s City Council member Margaret Chin.

The 20,000-square-foot garden is city-owned, but privately leased by gallerist Allan Reiver, who initially planned to use it to store his sculptures but opened it up as a unique respite from the city’s concrete surroundings, full of colorful flowers, green grass, seating areas, and many eye-catching sculptures. Volunteer-run, the garden has been used for community events, education, performances, film screenings, and an annual Harvest Festival. Some of these events draw hundreds of people, located in a neighborhood the NYC Parks Department has previously identified as “underserved by open space.”

Last week, news surfaced that the NYC Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) had officially issued a Request for Proposals to develop the land the garden stands on. Wednesday afternoon, dozens gathered in the garden for a press conference, bearing signs and passionately asserting their garden’s right to remain where it is.

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The Monster That is Essex Crossing is One Step Closer to Completion

(Photo: Courtesy of Delancey Street Associates)

(Photo: Courtesy of Delancey Street Associates)

Brace yourselves, the behemoth is coming: the Lower East Side monster development known as Essex Crossing is (sort of close) to completing the first of nine units that will comprise the 1.9 million-square foot project. The developers, Delancey Street Associates, announced the “topping out” of 175 Delancey Street today, which is a fancy developer term for finishing the last part of a building’s basic structure.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s done yet. In fact, the ominously entitled “Site 6,” which is set to be a 14-story building with 100 units of affordable senior housing, won’t be completed until December 2017, a statement from Delancey Street Associates revealed.

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New Millennial-Friendly Hotel Threatens Historic East Village Tenements

Protestors organized against the new Moxy Hotel and demolition of historic buildings (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Protestors organized against the new Moxy Hotel and demolition of historic buildings (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Yesterday afternoon a group of vocal protesters gathered along East 11th Street, facing a row of historic brick buildings they’re intent on saving from demolition at the hands of one of the city’s most prolific developers. The structures in question are a streak of five residential buildings, all of them five-story, Old Law tenements that, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, have changed little since they were built between 1887 and 1892.

GVSHP and the other preservation groups that organized yesterday’s protest– including the Historic Districts Council, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and the East Village Community Coalition– are appealing to the city’s Landmarks and Preservation Commission to come through with an eleventh-hour historic district designation that would thwart plans for a 300-room hotel.

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Hoping to Revive Affordable Housing Incentive, Cuomo Appeals to Developers

Protestors (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Affordable housing advocates protesting Brooklyn Real Estate Summit last fall, 421-a was among their many greivances (Photo: Nicole Disser)

After a week of “secret talks” with leadership from one of the state’s most powerful interest groups, details are emerging regarding Governor Cuomo’s first major steps toward reviving 421-a. The New York Times broke the news yesterday evening about the first sign of a turning point for the controversial billion-dollar, affordable-housing tax abatement that was allowed to expire in January.

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New Report Shows Housing Inventory’s Up, Brooklyn Rents Drop (Barely)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

NYC real estate firm Douglas Elliman published a report this morning, showing that the development boom in New York City has had a significant impact on the real estate market. According to the report, the available housing stock has increased dramatically over the last year: the listing inventory for rentals in Brooklyn went up by 29.6 and just slightly more in Manhattan that saw a 30.3 percent increase in the last year.

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Report Says New York City Housing is Grossly Unaffordable; Sky is Blue

Tenants, many of them living in rent-stabilized units, rallying in Chinatown to protest construction as harassment in December (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Tenants, many of them living in rent-stabilized units, rallying in Chinatown to protest construction as harassment in December (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Given that New York City is a place where making “just” $70 to 92k a year can qualify you for affordable housing—thanks, Upper West Side condo developers—it makes sense that homeownership rates here are low. Just how low, however, is a little jarring. According to a new study published by NYU’s Furman Center and Citi, only 42 percent of homes sold on the market in 2014 were affordable even to those making as much as $114,000 a year.

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East Village Landlord’s Ice Cream Social Gets a Chilly Reception

Protestors yesterday at TK (Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

Protestors yesterday at TK (Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could get pissed off about ice cream. It’s pretty delicious stuff on its own, but when ice cream comes free, it’s capable of turning almost any New Yorker with a broken-AC situation into a sedated, softly smiling master of chill. But the tenants at 325 East 12th Street– owned by Brookhill Properties, a real estate company founded by notorious landlord Raphael Toledano, who’s currently under investigation by the State for tenant harassment– have been moved to a level of frustration that can’t be solved with tasty bribes. That’s why, when they started receiving invitations to attend an ice cream social bought and paid for by Brookhill, the tenants organized an ice cream protest.

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