On Tuesday, Feb. 3, Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed market-rate housing and new construction in New York City. He argued that exclusively building luxury housing will only perpetuate the divide between the poor and the privileged. There’s a lot of multimillion-dollar luxury housing driving the market for 2015, specifically in Manhattan, and de Blasio hopes to supplement some of these projects with affordable housing as well.
His pro-development goals are to preserve the opportunities in New York City, making them available to all, to make the middle class accessible to all, and to keep residents of affordable housing comfortable and secure.
De Blasio’s active pursuits to ensure that new construction is affordable include establishing residential, rezoned areas where affordable housing is mandatory, the construction of 80,000 new affordable units by 2024, and increasing the density of New York City by building up. According to de Blasio, “It means building new affordable units at twice the average annual rate of the past 25 years. When you add that to the 120,000 units that our plan preserves, it means affordable housing for a half million New Yorkers … more than the entire population of the city of Miami.” Residential rezoning will take place across the five boroughs, providing more housing options throughout the city.
With more housing throughout the city, improved transportation is imperative; de Blasio addressed this in his speech by introducing a citywide ferry service that will be in service by 2017. The price of a ride will be the same as the Metro fare. De Blasio said, “For years, the conventional wisdom has been that certain neighborhoods are doomed to isolation because of their geography.” This will give commuters from Soundview, Red Hook and The Rockaways the flexibility of working in Manhattan or any other borough without the killer commute. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a low-cost urban transportation service that uses buses and specialty vehicles, will also be utilized in make commuting more efficient. Its network will be expanded by 20 routes, which will cut travel time by 15-25 percent.
Areas like Astoria, Coney Island, Queens, and The South Bronx are getting some much needed enhancements, as their residents are among the workers sustaining the economy. The Astoria Cove and The Hallets Point Projects will increase housing with 2,400 rentals and 1,700 mix-use apartments; 20 percent of which are affordable. The same is true for Sunset Park’s mega-development on Eighth Avenue, which will also have 20 percent of its units selling below the market price. De Blasio believes that the waterfront Lower Concourse area of The South Bronx has major potential, and with a $200 million capital investment over 4,000 affordable housing units can be built.
According to Newsday, “The housing plan received largely positive reactions from the real estate industry though Kathryn Wilde, head of the influential business group Partnership for New York City, said she “hopes de Blasio works with developers and banks, rather than trying to impose his will upon them.””