Housing + Development

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Everyone Looks Like an Insect from the Westlight, the New William Vale Hotel Bar

The view (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The view (Photo: Nicole Disser)

As of this afternoon, for the first time ever, you can make your way up to the tip top of the brand new William Vale hotel, clink glasses with your crew and look out over the expanse of Brooklyn from the Westlight, the new Williamsburg luxury hotel’s 22nd-floor bar with 360-degree views of the city skyline. Suddenly, Brooklyn will look almost insignificant and underdeveloped, teeming with pathetic, spartan life. Shift your godlike eyes down toward the Wythe Hotel and its unfortunate patrons will look like drunken, desperate ants. “Literally, that’s the Wythe– look how little it looks,” a PR rep laughed along with us.

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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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An Early Look at Ludlow House, By the Numbers

Ludlow House. (Photo courtesy Soho House)

Ludlow House. (Photo courtesy Soho House)

After some very strident local opposition and the requisite haggling with the community board, the folks at Soho House have finally managed to turn an old funeral home into Ludlow House. Although the privacy policy at the members-only club keeps its gatekeepers from telling us how many film, media, and creative types have signed up to “eat, drink, work and play” there, we were able to score you some other data.

Here’s a look inside the Ludlow House by the numbers.

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Record-Setting Avenue A Condos Revealed, Ready for Fall Opening

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

(Photo: John Ambrosio)

The scaffolding covering the facade of the new 32-unit condominium at 100 Avenue A was recently removed, revealing it to be, well, like any other East Village condo development.

The eight-story property, which is the latest from controversial East Village luxury developer Ben “The Sledgehammer” Shaoul, is nearing completion and is “expecting closing this fall,” said Jordan Hurt of Nest Seekers International, the firm handling unit sales. The new development will feature amenities including a “zen garden,” landscaped rooftop and a new Blink Fitness gym, which opens around the same time as the building itself.

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22-Story Tower Will Rise Above Bank Building in South Williamsburg

(Photo via CharneyConstruction.com)

(Photo via CharneyConstruction.com)

Charney Construction & Development and Tavros Capital are planning to build a 22-story mixed-used building in South Williamsburg that is positioned to be one of the biggest high rises in the area, according to documents filed with the city yesterday.

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How Will Williamsburg Survive 18 Months Without the L?

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

Since the news that the L Train will be shut down for 18 months became official, people have been scrambling, much like a crowd stuck behind a stroller on the Bedford stop’s narrow stairs, to figure out what to do about it.

Earlier this afternoon, a group of 32 elected officials, led by State Senator Daniel Squadron, called on the city, state and MTA officials to create an “interagency working group” to come up with mitigation solutions and prevent those along the L Train from getting completely stranded during the shut down. It’s important to remember, they argue, that, to a certain subset of Manhattan-bound commuters, this is a monumentally important issue: “As you know, the L train is a transit lifeline for many of the communities we represent,” Squadron said in a statement. “It is clear that mitigating the impacts of the closure requires bold action within and outside the MTA and significant interagency coordination.”

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#HackHousing Proves That Not All Tech Bros Suck

(Flyer via #HackHousing)

(Flyer via #HackHousing)

After making my way through a gilded, marble-floor lobby worthy of Home Alone 2, I found myself at Civic Hall. The techy meetup spot and educational center is where likeminded hackers convene for “labs” and shamelessly use the kind of words (“disrupt”) that have become emblems of that heady cocktail of superiority and entitlement powering controversial profit vacuums like Uber and AirBnB. I was hardly surprised to see that Pierre Omidyar’s foundation is a sponsor of Civic Hall, as is Google. Even if the #HackHousing event had been pitched as an occasion for discussing “creative ways to empower New York renters,” I was more than a little skeptical.

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