Saturday, July 11, 2020

W.W.R.D.? (What will Reynoso do?)

Hi folks,

One of the advantages of having a blog with longevity is that you get to follow the tweeding stories as they unfold. Then you get to call out the tweeders on their BS. Let's take a little trip down memory lane...

It was 2014, and a lot in Ridgewood close to the Bushwick border was being rezoned to allow a filthy eyesore truck lot to be transformed into a gleaming new residential project. Hopes were high that the developers would include affordable housing in their plans. The electeds got to work:

From the Times Ledger:

Some argued the rents described by developers — with studios going for about $1,000 and two-bedroom apartments renting for up to $1,800 a month — would not be affordable to most in Ridgewood and invite an influx of young, wealthier inhabitants...

Katz’s nod of approval came with two suggestions. She requested an unspecified number of apartments be reserved for those making 60 percent of the area’s median income and urged a different commercial overlay be used to recruit a wider array of businesses.

An applicant representative said the landlord would be willing to use the zoning suggested by Katz during the June 11 Planning Commission hearing, application documents show.

The spokesman also agreed to permanently offer eight units in the larger development as affordable housing. When prompted by the commission, he committed to increasing this to 20 percent of the building’s apartments provided the city permits a bulkier development than currently authorized by its Inclusionary Housing program.

From DNA Info:

The proposal for the 88-unit building originally had no affordable housing, but developers committed to 50 percent affordable units, along with the affordable community space after discussions with Reynoso's office and community members, the councilman's office said.

"Any project that runs through a ULURP process will need to meet demands of real affordability, and I’m pleased that we were able to achieve that here," Reynoso said.

The affordable units, of which 20 percent will be permanently affordable, will be distributed to people earning between $23,000 to $105,000 per year.

50% of 88 units is 44. 20% of 44 is 8. Eight units will be "permanently" affordable.

Now, let's take a look at what the community actually got, courtesy of Ridgewood Post:

Forty apartments in a newly constructed building in Ridgewood are up for grabs through the city’s affordable housing lottery — but only for those who make at least $61,000 a year.

The building, called the “The Strand,” is located at 18-81 Starr St. It has a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, which cost upwards of $1,797 a month through the lottery.

Residents must make 130 percent of the area median income to be eligible for the lottery.

Ok, so now we're at 40 affordable units instead of 44? Rent for a studio was supposed to be $1000, now it's starting at $1800? Instead of 60% of the median income, the applicants have to make 130%? Minimum income of $23,000 has now become $61,600?

So, Antonio Reynoso, what are you going to do about this developer pulling a fast one? Or is being complicit with this part of the overall plan?

JQ Update:

Another tidbit from that old DNA article mentions that the developer behind this was the Slate Property Management Group LLC.

You remember those guys right? They were the ones who bought Rivington House for a song from the city and then tried to flip the building to some "mysterious buyer" for luxury condo development for 10 times for what it's worth as de Blasio was busy with his pay to play Campaign for one New York fundraising shenanigans and meetings with his "agents of the city" in city hall.

And speaking of Ridgewood and longevity (you're welcome), the creative geniuses behind Slate joined forces with craft swill makers Rockaway Brewery and attempted to open a pop up beach when this fraudulent affordable housing building was a toxic dirt yard about 4 years ago, which I called out for weeks in my role as a muckraking commenter back in the day.


Anonymous said...

The Free Market will fix housing not government intervention.
Universal basic right anything that must be guaranteed by redistribution will not work !

Anonymous said...

Blame the party with a supermajority in the ol' city council.

Anonymous said...

This is what you get when the gubmint tries to run the real estate market-- red tape and absurdities.

"Forty apartments in a newly constructed building in Ridgewood are up for grabs"

Nope. The new-built barely-affordable units are never up for grabs. They used to be, in an open market. Now these units now go to "lucky" lottery winners who typically have a 1-in 80,000 chance of winning. Just buy a regular lottery ticket. Then, if you win, you can live anywhere you want! I say "lucky" with quotes because at the rents/incomes posted, most winners of these apartments will just squeak by every month. Other "winners" who see their incomes grow will still be allowed to occupy the affordable units even as others need them more.

This whole barely-affordable scheme is a give-away to developers while politicians down-zone pleasant existing neighborhoods in exchange for donations. NY is SOOOO corrupt it's disgusting.

TommyR said...

Excellent breakdown JQ. Ridgewood residents should be bringing this up their council reps constantly.

JQ LLC said...

Thanks Tom, but I only did the last part. Crappy broke it down first.

Funny thing, I was about to post that story too and I got scooped.