AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio will unveil his long-awaited plan for affordable housing, framing the administration’s pursuit of the mayor’s ambitious goal of creating 200,000 new units for low- to moderate-income New Yorkers within a decade. It will also shape the future of development in New York for years to come.The plan is expected to take a broad approach — building not on one particular initiative, but many. It may, more or less, provide a toolkit for policymakers.
—De Blasio will make the announcement in two places: First, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where he’ll hold a press conference at 10:10 a.m. (assuming the notoriously late mayor is on time). Then, hizzoner and a traveling press corps will head for The Bronx, where he is scheduled to speak at a second press conference at 12:30 p.m. on College Avenue, just south of 169th Street.
On Friday, I spoke to Steven Spinola, the president of REBNY,to get his thoughts ahead of the announcement. City Hall has been talking with the trade association for months and appears to see its leaders—and ultimately the entire industry—as key partners. Spinola said he’s “somewhat optimistic that this dialogue that has taken place will result in a plan that is inclusive of a lot of people’s ideas.” There’s of course a lot of things he expects or hopes to see, such as tax breaks, a speedier process to get shovels in the ground and, quite importantly, a path to building denser. “We’ve got to be creative and we need community boards to stand up and say, ‘we know many of the people don’t like the idea, they’re going to be building taller buildings.’”
But such a broad plan is certain to include things the industry might shudder at. Some sitting on hands could be in order. “There are going to be things in there that I don’t like,” Spinola said. “But the point is, if the plan overall is the right plan, and even if we think there are some mistakes in it, I’ve got to support.” What could change that? Fifty percent affordable, he says — or some figure close to it that would make development impossible without significant subsidy. Outside a proposal that drastic, Spinola is going to keep quiet. “If it eats away at some profit but still allows the projects to proceed, I’ve got to bite my tongue,” he said, adding: “It’s not a time for politics.”