Following some back and forth negotiations between Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, construction workers and real estate developers over the renewal of the 421 tax break program last year, it appears all parties have finally settled on an agreement. The tax break, which provided incentives to developers who built residential developments with affordable housing such as providing a 10 to 15 year exemption from property taxes for newly constructed housing developments, has been successful in increasing affordable housing in the area. Yet, despite the benefits the program provides, an independent study found that it is also costing the city more than $300 million per year. To that end, Cuomo’s office recently sent the new bill to the state legislature for approval while also announcing that the program will henceforth be known as “Affordable New York.”
Some of the changes from the original program include implementing an affordability timeline of 40 years on affordable units. The previous program called for a timeline of 35 years. The tax exemption program will also be increased to 35 years. These benefits will be available to any developers who build projects with more than 300 apartments to the south of 96th Street in Manhattan or near the waterfront in Queens and Brooklyn who also pay an average of $60 per hour to construction workers in Manhattan or $45 per hour for workers in Queens and Brooklyn. Altogether, the bill is expected to help create 2,500 affordable apartments each year. By the time it expires in the summer of 2020, it should have created 9,000 affordable units.
While the bill still needs to be voted upon by the state legislature, it has already received backing from construction unions as well as affordable housing advocates and developers.
Domino Sugar Refinery Redevelopment to Offer Affordable Housing
Even as the new bill is still being worked out and awaits approval from the state legislature, additional affordable housing apartments are still being developed throughout the city. Among these is the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment.
The first residential building being constructed at the Williamsburg Domino site is starting to take shape. As promised, the building offers a whimsical donut shape just as the renderings had promised. Located at 325 Kent Avenue, the 16-story building is getting the top horizontal pieces that create a sort of skybridge giving the building its unique shape. The skybridge will reportedly give way to apartments as well as accessory residential space.
With construction of the building beginning in March, 11 of its 16 stories were completed in July. A lottery for the building’s 104 affordable apartments started in late November. Move-ins to the building, which will boast a total of 500 apartments, are expected to begin this summer. There is no word at this time regarding pricing, but listings for the building’s market rate apartments are expected to appear sometime in the spring.