In 2007, a plan to rezone 368 blocks of Jamaica in Southeast Queens was put in place to spur development in the Southeast Queens regional hub. The economic downturn soon hit the real estate market, and development halted.
On Tuesday, city officials from agencies in transportation, housing, infrastructure, economic development, and tourism all convened in York College to listen to a large group of community leaders.
But the community workshops also highlighted the challenges the mayor’s housing plan is facing.
The 10-year housing plan includes 80,000 new affordable units over the next decade, most of which will come from large development projects. This strategy relies on the strong real estate market spurring developers to build.
Alison Novak of The Hudson Companies, a residential development company with work all over the city, said they have been approached to do 80/20 projects (80 percent market rate units, and 20 percent affordable units) in Jamaica but couldn’t make the math work.
Housing bonds and tax incentives from the city do not cover affordable units in a way that makes them comparable to market rate units for the developer, which means the market rate portion of the building effectively subsidizes the affordable units.
And in Jamaica, Novak explained, even market rate units fall under prices of what would be considered an affordable unit for a middle-income family or less.