The city's planned Hunters Point South megadevelopment could rise above the Long Island City waterfront on the backs of tax-free bonds sold through a special nonprofit organization, a top city official said Wednesday.
Tom McKnight, a senior vice president of the city Economic Development Corp., said the uncommon approach would create a significant cost savings for the project, which will use city subsidies to provide 3,000 residential units that will be affordable to middle-income families.
But housing advocates said the proposal to sell tax-free bonds is an end-run around requirements to build housing that would be truly affordable to the average Queens resident.
Tax-free bonds plan to bankroll Hunters Point South high rises
...the Hunters Point South plan has been panned by housing advocates who say Queens' median household income - $48,000 a year - falls well below the lowest prices anticipated for the project's rental units.
The EDC did not respond to requests to define exactly what "affordable to middle-income" would be.
Housing advocate Elena Conte of the Pratt Center for Community Development said the city's plan to sell tax-free bonds is carefully designed to exploit an affordable housing loophole.
If the city were to apply for tax-free bonds directly - instead of setting up the nonprofit organization to do so - they would be subject to a federal requirement that 20% of the units be affordable to families making less than half of the local median income, she said.