It is no secret that New York City continues to face an affordable housing crisis. Many experts believe this boils down to a supply problem, yet others remain skeptical. However, a recent Furman Center publication addressed supply skepticism head on, finding that adding new homes moderates price increases making housing more affordable to low- and moderate-income families, but that government intervention is still critical to securing housing affordability. Despite this and other compelling research findings, the State legislature failed to renew the 421a tax exemption in 2023. This, coupled with rising construction costs, resulted in a continuous decline in new building permits lasting into the last quarter of 2023. The City, however, has taken initiative in the face of this crisis: just 5 days before the new year, the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) announced Mixed-Income Market Initiative (“MIMI”), a new program aimed at building affordable and mixed income homes across the City during a time when State (and Federal) resources are scarce.Continue Reading Mixed-Income Market Initiative: NYC’s Attempt to Spur Affordable Housing Development

Over a year ago, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the “City of Yes”, a plan to update the City’s zoning tools to support small businesses, create affordable housing, and promote sustainability. On December 6, 2023, the first of this trio, known as the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” zoning text amendments (“COYCN”) was officially approved by the City Council. The passage of COYCN marks a huge victory in the City Administration’s efforts to decarbonize the City’s energy grid, building stock, vehicles, and waste streams. Continue Reading NYC’s Zoning for Carbon Neutrality is Here to Stay

New York’s rent stabilization laws, amended in 2019, are arguably the most stringent in the country. Challenges to New York’s rent regulations are not new, and come from both sides of the aisle, tenants and landlords alike. But unlike prior changes, the 2019 amendments hit a chord with New York City landlords who had, generally, made quite expensive investments in residential properties based on projected rent increases commensurate with rising costs and market demand. In 2019, with the passing of these amendments to New York’s rent stabilization laws, landlords’ projected assumptions and operating budgets went completely out the window along with their wallets.Continue Reading New York’s Rent Stabilization Laws Are Here to Stay, For Now At Least…

It is well known that between New York’s enactment of the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (commonly known as the Cannabis Law) on March 31, 2021 and the slower than anticipated adoption of regulations for adult-use cannabis retailers and implementation of the Act there have been few (and in some geographic areas of the state, no) licensed retail dispensaries opened for the sale of adult-use of cannabis and cannabis related products. As a result, there has been a proliferation of unlicensed retailers (often referred to as “sticker shops” because the sale of stickers comes with the “gift” of cannabis products) selling cannabis products and its derivatives. On May 3, 2023, however, with the conclusion of New York State’s annual budget process and the signing of the state budget bill by Governor Hochul, a series of other bills passed by the state Assembly and state Senate were signed into law by the Governor. Among those additional measures are changes to New York’s Cannabis Law[1] which are intended to curtail, among other activities, the unlicensed sale, distribution and storage of cannabis and cannabis products throughout the state. Continue Reading New York Landlords May Get Stuck with the Bill for Unlicensed Cannabis Sticker Shops

On February 23, 2023, the Committee on Housing and Buildings at the New York City Council held a hearing on four local laws and three resolutions, all of which, if passed, would have vast impacts on residential housing development in New York City. While all of these pieces of legislation are important, this blog post focuses predominantly on Intro 196, otherwise known as the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (“COPA”).Continue Reading The New York City Council Sets its Sights on Non-Profit Housing Ownership

Last week, a trio of bills related to last-mile warehouses were introduced by Council Member Alexa Avilés, and co-sponsored by Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez (District 34, Williamsburg), Sandy Nurse (District 37, Bushwick), Selvena Brooks-Powers (District 31, Far Rockaway), Julie Won (District 26, Astoria) Shahana Hanif (District 39, Gowanus/Park Slope); and Lincoln Restler (District 33, Downtown Brooklyn), Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso. At the press conference, it was expressed that these bills were introduced in order to combat the proliferation of last-mile warehouses in low-income communities of color who are subject to more air and noise pollution as a result of the truck traffic. Continue Reading Last Mile Warehouse Bills and Proposed Special Permit

The City and State of New York have made a handful of announcements regarding plans to roll out imminent changes to the real estate development process to help encourage development and tackle the City’s affordable housing crisis. Given the current obstacles facing development, this change warrants quoting Lizzo: “It’s about damn time.”Continue Reading It’s About Damn Time

Earlier this month, New York Governor Hochul’s executive budget introduced a proposal for an updated 421-a Real Estate Tax Exemption Program. Referred to as “Affordable Neighborhoods for New Yorkers” and proposed under a different section of the State’s Real Property Tax Law (485-w), the Governor’s proposal follows the existing 421-a/Affordable New York program, with a few tweaks:
Continue Reading New York Governor Releases Updated 421-a Program

On Wednesday, July 14, at 10 am, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) held its public hearing on the Department of City Planning’s proposed hotel special permit text .  Over the past two months, the proposal has been considered by the City’s Borough Presidents and Community Boards, with a number of Community Boards voting in support, and a number of Community Boards voting against the City’s proposal to implement a special permit requirement for all new hotels.  At the public hearing, the Commissioners received public comments regarding the proposal. A number of City Council Members, other elected officials, neighborhood residents, and a representative from the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO (the union for hotel workers in New York) testified in support of the proposal.  A number of other organizations, including the Regional Plan Association and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, testified against the proposal. Those who spoke against the proposal questioned its timing, cited lack of any evidence of problems caused by hotels in commercial districts, and noted that the proposal will likely result in significant detrimental economic impacts on the tourism sector and the City’s economy as a whole, given that it will likely slow or stop development of new hotels.  Several Commissioners also mentioned the proposal’s probable economic impacts, and questioned its land use rationale, wondering why hotels should be subject to a higher level of scrutiny than other uses in the Zoning Resolution, the majority of which are not subject to a special permit process.  Some of the Commissioners also suggested that the proposal should be modified, potentially to include a sunset provision or a geographic limitation.  The Planning Commission’s vote will likely occur in August.
Continue Reading Full Summer Calendar at New York City Planning Commission: Hotel Special Permit, Gowanus Rezoning and More

On Monday, May 3, 2021, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) “referred” the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) proposed zoning text that would mandate a Special Permit for all
Continue Reading NYC Proposed Citywide Hotel Special Permit Moves into the Public Review Process

Not your average game of patty-cake! Earlier this week, New York’s  First Department, Appellate Division issued its decision related to 200 Amsterdam,[1] overturning the lower court’s decision which would have required 200 Amsterdam to remove several floors of its building in order to comply with zoning.  The lower court determined that the NYC Zoning Resolution did not permit a developer to utilize a portion of a tax lot to merge with a neighboring zoning lot.
Continue Reading Build Me A Building As Fast As You Can