Halted Development Update

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Assemblyman (D-57) representing central Brooklyn, checks in on his efforts to turn vacant market rate developments into affordable housing.


Hakeem Jeffries

Comments [17]

calculated it b4 moving


"The cost of construction in NYC has virtually nothing to do with bankers' salaries and everything to do with Land Cost of Fees, Filings, etc.Cost of labor..."
filings and hiring illegal labor are costs that are nearly negligible compared to the impact of bankers bidding up land costs by 300 to 10000 percent or more. if you are referring to luxury high rises then i agree but keep in mind luxury high rises only go up in the first place in areas that are literally kept afloat by million dollar plus bonuses. you must know this lori.

Oct. 17 2009 05:46 PM
Sam from Brooklyn

This is a healthy debate going on here. Previously, I was in favor of Mr. Jeffries' efforts, but I'm not sure now.

What is "affordable" these days? Previously I was making about 50k and that was enough to break even in a modest Brooklyn apartment ($850/mo). Let's face it, the cheaper rentals are in less safe neighborhoods and I'm not willing to risk a stick up or getting jumped. I'd consider leaving NYC before moving to a cheaper (i.e. less safe or more cramped) place. I'd like to think I qualify for affordable housing... otherwise it's just poverty housing.

I think this whole plan really hinges on the definition of "affordable." Does that mean teachers, cops, non-profit workers? Or does it mean section 8? If it's working class, then I think it's a good idea, if it's low income then I agree that it's not fair to the respective neighborhoods.

Oct. 16 2009 04:49 PM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

Banker's fees are minimal in these types of transactions compared to the costs of materials, design and construction. I've done development in NYC and the costs are staggering.

There is no way that a government would cover the total nut for these developers and make them whole. Many of these deals were cut when the market was quite strong and it wouldn't be good government to pay that amount. Therefore, I assure you that the developers would take a loss. (which is fine, real estate is cyclical, everyone knows/accepts that risk)

That said, last time I checked the city/state/fed was going broke. Are they really in a position to buy up these parcels and construct?

At the end of the day, someone will have to pay for these subsidized projects. No free lunches and all...

Oct. 16 2009 11:25 AM
hjs from 11211

bankers fees are in every transaction!

the pro for this plan is it gets the white elephants off the books of the banks and developers. the con is why should we help banks and developers

Oct. 16 2009 11:13 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

As much as I am for this kind effort, to say that we must take advantage of developers' unlucky and unprofitable choices weakens Mr. Jeffries' argument. It makes liberal-minded, socially conscious endeavors seem opportunist and exploitative in nature. I think it more useful to focus on the pros of diversity, as well as the redefinition of "affordable" from a catch word synonymous with impoverished, third-rate and crime-ridden, to the more accurate description of the financially-strapped, well-educated and honorable middle class.

Oct. 16 2009 11:05 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

The cost of construction in NYC has virtually nothing to do with bankers' salaries and everything to do with

Land Cost
Cost of Fees, Filings, etc.
Cost of labor

I agree with Maggie. Is social justice now about moving someone into a condo with granite counter tops? And, yes, developers are speculators. They should benefit when the market is good and suffer when the market is poor. They should not, however, under any circumstances, benefit from overzealous eminent domain seizures.

Oct. 16 2009 11:04 AM
Stuart Sachs from Prospect Heights

Assembly member Jeffries,

The Atlantic yards development promised a large amount of affordable housing that now appears will never be built. This seems to be a bait-and-switch by the developer Forest City Ratner who now wants to use eminent domain to take and demolish recently renovated historic buildings to build a privately owned arena.

Somehow the affordable housing will be built off site, probably never.

Will you strongly oppose the use of eminent domain for this project that will provide no affordable housing, and serve only to enrich a private developer?

Oct. 16 2009 10:53 AM
calculated it b4 moving

and maggie/1

the ONLY reason the cost is so high is because of the large salaries passed around in the banking know, the one that the teachers and cops worked january 1 through may 22 to bail out?

Oct. 16 2009 10:53 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

I've visited the Halted Development Map, but I'm wondering if "Project Reclaim" has a dedicated website?

Oct. 16 2009 10:51 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

I saw the Halted Development Map, but I'm wondering if "Project Reclaim" has a dedicated website?

Oct. 16 2009 10:50 AM
Melissa from Clinton Hill

Oops! I meant to say "not working class or moderate income".

Oct. 16 2009 10:50 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I am sure the developers' funding is based on assumptions that lower income housing sales cannot support. Also, if the developers have sized these apartments and specified materials already (which I imagine they have), they will not be able to drop the price in half and survive financially.

It's absurd in NYC where land and labor costs are so high to say that you can turn a "luxury" project into an "affordable" project just by changing your mind. Well intentioned, but totally naive.

Oct. 16 2009 10:48 AM
Melissa from Clinton Hill

I live in Mr. Jeffries district and very much oppose this plan, essentially for the reasons articulated by the man who raised the issue with Brian yesterday.

This issue should not be presented as a no-brainer. It is NOT the case that occupancy is simply better than non-occupancy. Mr. Jeffries paints a pretty picture of his idea when mentioning nurses, teachers, etc, only slipping in under his breath a reference to those far lower down the income chain. I can tell you, this neighborhood does not need more struggling people. Mr. Jeffries says he wants there to be a "mix" of income levels in this neighborhood but there already is such a mix so why alter that by bringing in a substantial number of--let's admit it--low income (working class or moderate income) people.

Mr. Jeffries must know of the already delicate balance in the neighborhood between the old timers and the newcomers; why stoke those problems further?

Oct. 16 2009 10:48 AM
Daniel Goldstein from Brooklyn

Why all of this bailing out and mortgage discussion. Why doesn't the city or state take these empty, underutilized properties by eminent domain and turn them into "affordable housing"?

Oct. 16 2009 10:48 AM
calculated it b4 moving

chuck -- sadly its actually for a family it's 300-400 if you want to save for college and retirement and have a modest summer cabin upstate.

Oct. 16 2009 10:47 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

We need housing for people who make between 60 and 100 grand a year! Really, in this city you need to make 150 grand to get a decent place. What is considered middle class here is much different than the rest of the country.

Oct. 16 2009 10:44 AM
Maggie from Bronx

come on... give me a break already. people take personal responsibility and live where you can afford. its not the job the government or our taxes to bail out developers or pay for someone who wins some hosing lottery to live where they cant afford and thus raise the cost for everyone else

Oct. 16 2009 10:44 AM

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