Gov. Andrew Cuomo has brokered an agreement between the city's real estate lobby and the building trades union to revive 421-a, a controversial property tax break for developers that the city and many in the industry believe is essential for the construction of rental housing.
"The deal reached today between these parties provides more affordability for tenants and fairer wages for workers than under the original proposal,” said Cuomo. "While I would prefer even more affordability in the 421-a program, this agreement marks a major step forward for New Yorkers."
The deal was reached between the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the Real Estate Board of New York. Key to the agreement is a wage floor for certain construction projects. The revamped program would require average wages of $60 an hour including benefits for construction workers on Manhattan projects containing 300 or more rental units. The average wage for similar sized projects along waterfront Brooklyn and Queens communities would be $45 an hour.
"We applaud Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration for bringing all parties together to finalize an agreement on an important public policy that will allow for the development of critical affordable housing, and establishes wage standards for construction workers in New York," said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council.
Cuomo had previously signed a 2015 law that extended the tax break and increased the amount of affordable housing that would be required in exchange for receiving it. But he held off putting it into place until developers and the construction trades union agreed on how much laborers would be paid at sites getting the tax break. The two sides were originally supposed to reach a pact by January, but negotiations stalled and dragged on until Thursday’s announcement.