Friday News Round-Up!

Coney Island Redevelopment Area, via

It’s Friday again, and for the fourth week in a row we’re bringing you a Friday news-round up. This week was special- like many offices, ours was closed on Wednesday, making it feel like we had two two-day weeks. It was awesome. We hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July, and enjoy the news:

  1. Mayor Bloomberg – with an eye ever on his legacy – has announced that his New Housing Marketplace Plan, a promise to bring 165,000 units of affordable housing to New York City, is on track to meet its goals by July 2014. WNYC reports that his plan relies heavily on preserving existing affordable housing rather than new building housing stock. This is likely due to the 2008 collapse of the housing market, which stalled building developments across the country. It is also not surprising, given the stories of stalled affordable housing development coming out of Coney Island (see below) and Atlantic Yards and Willets Point. The report goes on to say that this may in fact benefit more low income New Yorkers than Bloomberg first intended. While the plan initially targeted 68% of apartments for low income residents (income below $67,000), that number has risen to 83%. Preserving affordable housing typically means mortgage modifications, repair loans, and tax incentives.
  2. Congressman Rangel and State Senator Espaillat continue to battle it out for the primary slot for Rangel’s congressional seat in Upper Manhattan. This week, a judge ruled that the NYC BOE (Board of Elections) cannot transfer results to the NYS BOE until Senator Espaillat’s campaign had a chance to contend the results in court. As Rangel’s victory margin narrows significantly, Espaillat is suing, arguing that his supporters’ votes have been suppressed. And the votes are still being counted…
  3. The newly-formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intends to overhaul the home mortgage market over the next six months. Obviously this is a great idea and a necessary step towards rebuilding a more financially sound and socially just housing market.  Well done.
  4. Coney Island, America’s playground, has been at the heart of a re-zoning battle in New York City since 2003. Beyond The Cyclone and Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Coney Island is a neighborhood with a significant level of poverty and with very few jobs, according to New York City’s Economic Development Corporation. Developers hoped that by bringing several hotels to the area, along with low-income housing and storefront development, they could bring both jobs and housing to the struggling neighborhood. It seems almost needless to say at this point, but  this development has not yet happened.
  5. Nassau County and Garden City in Long Island are in the midst of a fair housing battle, and it’s been going on for quite some time. According to Real Estate Weekly, Garden City has attempted to halt affordable housing development, but the developers have sued. Developers claim that the local opposition to affordable housing is based on discrimination, and has taken them to court. The case highlights the NIMBY syndrome – not in my back yard – that seems to plague suburban affordable housing development. This week, the judge dismissed Fair Housing charges against Nassau County but is allowing the discrimination case against Garden City to continue. In 2009, some mixed use affordable housing was offered to low-income residents in a lottery.

It’ll be another scorcher in New York City this weekend. Wear sunscreen!