Quinn: Turn Vacant Luxury Housing Into Affordable Ones

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to buy vacant apartments that developers are unable to sell.

Quinn says the city would negotiate the lowest possible price for the apartments and then make them cheap enough for middle class families to rent or buy.

The idea is still in a conceptual stage and it's unclear how much the program would cost.

Mike Slattery, Vice President of the Real Estate Board of New York says developers want more detail such as what incentives there are, but so far reaction is positive.

SLATTERY: One of the appeals of this program I think for a market rate builder is that it's another alternative out there in how to deal with their product in a weakening market.

REPORTER: Real estate experts say the program would likely be good for developers with smaller buildings in the outerboroughs.

The city has no exact numbers on how many vacant apartments there are.

But Slattery says it's likely that developers trying to market their projects right now are running into trouble.

For WNYC, I'm Cindy Rodriguez.