Friday, April 16, 2010

Add "affordable housing", build whatever you want

From the NY Observer:

Rose Plaza apparently will not be going the way of the Kingsbridge Armory.

On Wednesday afternoon, the City Council approved the planned Williamsburg waterfront development, a make-or-break vote that came after a scramble of last-minute lobbying and a boost of the affordable-housing levels.

Two weeks ago, the project looked poised for a rare defeat, given that the developer had failed to woo the local councilman, Steve Levin, and the project had drawn fire from leaders of a politically influential faction of Satmar Hasidic Jews in Williamsburg.

In the end, the developer, Isack Rosenberg, committed to set aside 30 percent of the apartments as below market rate, an unusually high number for a project that has not been earmarked for any discretionary subsidies to do so. Mr. Levin voted for the project on Wednesday.

Well, of course he did! Why would we expect anything but this outcome? This is a movie we've all watched before.


Lino said...

If you are questioning whether the "affordable housing" - will truly be-so you have a point, if this is another "tower people" beef, well let's get real.

I have a friend who works at an old style diner right in the heart of the Williamsburg waterfront. back in the 90's when most of the industrial buildings were emptying and there were several suspicious fires in them, the area was creepy and littered with hookers and biker trash scoring drugs.

Gradually some of the salvageable old buildings were converted into apts and the area became a lot better.

We've had this debate before, those areas will never again be the sweat-spit n' swear waterfront they once were (mafia and all) and no one in their right mind will build some small stick houses on that sort of property.

Towers-condos are it.

Queens Crapper said...

No Lino, you are totally missing the point, but that's expected of you. This required a zoning change. What the hell is the purpose of zoning if it is continuously undermined by developers and green lighted by the council as soon as bullshit affordable housing promises are made.

Lino said...

"What the hell is the purpose of zoning if it is continuously undermined by developers and green lighted by the council as soon as bullshit affordable housing promises are made..."

Do you know what the "bullshit affordable" criteria pricing will be?

And what is the point of not changing zoned status when the circumstances change.

Look, I have read enough on this blog over the last year to know some of the underlying sentiment, one of which is a dislike (to put it mildly) for "towers" and their residents.

In this particular case, the owner of the property is the one proposing the new use..what the hell does it matter that he is closing his lumber yard if that is his choice. There was no E-D procedure here, no one thrown out of their homes.

As I see it, there are two facts you may as well get used to: Waterfront property is going to get re-developed and this will always involve "towers".

I can understand objecting to these buildings in a low-rise neighborhood where houses prevail, but these former industrial sites are different. If they are not redeveloped they just become abandoned dumps for the waste of society, material and human.

Anonymous said...

The site was occupied by an industrial use in an industrial zone up until the rezone, so there's no reason to believe it could not be marketing for industrial purposes.

Queens Crapper said...

This is not about "tower people". This is about putting towers in places that cannot handle development, about appeasing a developer and then forcing the public to pay for the aftermath. The developer is not increasing subway capacity, reducing traffic, increasing school space. No, he is doing the exact opposite here. WE are going to be the schmucks paying for and experiencing the strain on services. This project does not have to be built, but the city has never met an overdevelopment project it didn't like. The Community Board said this project was too big. Making swiss cheese of the zoning code is a pastime of the Bloomberg administration and the City Council. Why have one at all if anything goes?

Anonymous said...

Affordable housing is bullshit to begin with. We need hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units. These developers come up with a handful and they get whatever they want. All while the existing affordable housing complexes become market rate.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Queens Crapper on this one. The city council members are Assholes.

I said it before...Mayor Moneybags wants to leave a legacy of tall buildings, luxury over development, sport stadiums, and anything else that doesn't need to be built.

Council members and certain boro presidents are nothing more than "cheerleaders" for the mayor.

Missing Foundation said...

"Affordable housing" is a canard to get the gullible to go along.

Since there is no credible force at public education or media reporting the truth (outside of blogs like this) people never find out that the bulk of promises made during rezoning are bullshit and meaningless.

Hell even the 'community preservation movement' as it is, talks only about accommodating new building rather than preserving and creating strong neighborhoods.

You want 'affordable housing'?

1. Cut taxes for tweeder programs.

Even large community destroying mega projects generate what? a pathetic 2,000 units? This will only replace 3,000 rent stabilized senior apartments that are herded into senior barrack built by groups like HANAC.

Cutting taxes means that millions of people in a lower income cohort suddenly have money for themselves and their families. It might hurt the clubhouse efforts to replace its continously eroding base, but hell, if it means more space for your family who gives a crap?

2. Get serious about illegal immigration

This is the basis for high rents: infinite demand for living space shifts the burden on everyone by driving up rental costs.

LibertyBoyNYC said...

Get ready for more hipster vs hasid action, with tower people thrown in to the cage. It'll be a Battle Royale of epic proportions!! Oh, the humanity!

Anonymous said...

The developer is not increasing subway capacity, reducing traffic, increasing school space.


It's not the developers job to maintain city infrastructure. That responsibility belongs to the city. If you have a problem with city services take it up with the city. The lack of services is a legit beef, but Lino is right these project will continue to get build no matter who is the mayor. Several reasons:

1) Local job that construction provides
2) Tax revenues - payroll taxes, sales taxes property taxes, RE transfer taxes, all flow to the city everytime a project like this get underway and they have an effect going out many years.
3) Returning underutilized or dilapidated area to productive use. Vacant warehouses and factories are an eyesore and do not contribute economically or asthetically to the city
4) Housing - There's too little quality housing in the city. Simple laws of supply and demand. The only reason that only bankers can live on manhattan is that there is a shortage of housing stock.

You can rail all you want against it, but these types of projects will continue to march on unabated. The worst recession in history has done nothing to stop them. Those that have serious concerns or issues with that need to seriously consider whether NYC is right for them in the long term.

georgetheatheist said...

"It's not the developers job to maintain city infrastructure."

In the old days, they first built the infrastructure, then the development. Check out this view of scarcity of development near Queens Boulevard, View from the Packard building, on Jan. 12, 1917:

Anonymous said...

One could make the argument that additional condo residents will increase the tax base and those extra tax dollars will (hopefully) be used to support more infrastructure.

Waterfront property with a nice view will sooner or later get developed.

Queens Crapper said...

Actually, one can't make that argument because past experience says otherwise.

And if you are getting big tax breaks it should be in return for something other than bringing more people to an area and making millions off a project.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what we need is MORE luxury condos, because that's the type of housing we are lacking.

The city could have bought that property and built a school there. That would have been worth the zoning change!

Anonymous said...

What tax breaks did he get?

Anonymous said...

Get ready for more hipster vs hasid action, with tower people thrown in to the cage. It'll be a Battle Royale of epic proportions!! Oh, the humanity!

Cute but I dont think this one involves hipsters. Remember the hasids think they own the streets like most drivers here and wanted to have a sort of closed off community with no bike lanes and no girls in the summer wearing shorts instead of black pants or dresses covering their bodies like women in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

hey is that biggie smalls as lino?