Will de Blasio Kill Tax Perks for Developers?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Atlantic Yards site in Brooklyn; the rust-colored Barclays Center (left) opened last fall. (Matthew Schuerman/WNYC)

Two hallmark projects received more than $118 million in property tax exemptions and tax abatements from the New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) in the waning weeks of the Bloomberg Administration. If the projects had been on next month's agenda, after Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is sworn in as New York city's Mayor, these projects might not have passed muster.

The Board approved more than $76 million in subsidies for developer One Hudson Yards to build a high-rise office building at Eleventh Avenue and West 33rd street. It also voted in favor of more than $42 million in tax breaks for Phase 1 of Willets Point, the 23-acre site next to Citi Field in Queens, now slated to become a hotel and retail facility. That project received more than $100 million in grants already.

But under de Blasio's administration, such corporate incentives will likely meet with more skepticism. During the campaign, de Blasio railed against subsidies, and promised to end one program that he said will save the city $250 million.

"I'm proposing wholesale reform of our city's tax incentive policies that give hundreds of millions of dollars to office towers on Park Avenue and unaccountable one-shot subsidies to companies who can do without them," said the candidate at a speech at CUNY in the spring.

The subsidy question is a sticky one for de Blasio, because he has a history of supporting some projects that received subsidies, like Atlantic Yards, a massive, mixed-use development under construction in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The project has promised affordable housing units, but has yet to deliver. Ground breaking on the housing portion of the facility, which includes the Barclays Arena, is expected some time next year.

"Mayor-elect de Blasio supportedĀ Atlantic Yards because Brooklyn needs more affordable housing, and locating density near mass transit makes sense," de Blasio's spokeswoman Lis Smith said to WNYC in an email.


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Comments [4]

Ellen from Manhattan

I am really tired of hearing them brag about all the "affordable" housing. While there may have been an increase, it is hardly sufficient. As a single mom, I make a respectable salary but cannot find housing that doesn't eat up half of my take home pay. Lotteries are just that, LOTTERIES, and the waitlists are YEARS long. I make too much money for low-income lotteries and I don't make enough money to qualify for "mid-income" lotteries. When I looked into the affordable lottery for the controversial building that had a separate entrance for the affordable tenants the income minimum was $100something thousand! For an apartment costing $2600/month. THAT is affordable?!!! I don't think so. And the building gets tax breaks for THAT?!


Dec. 12 2013 11:15 AM
Jay and Bey from TriLoNoHoFoFoCoBoCaCa

He should allow developers to build luxury condos in Dante's tremendous Afro. That would really be putting his money where his mouth is.

Dec. 12 2013 11:03 AM
Marlene C from Mott Haven

Hey Bill, stop the subsidies to Fresh Direct too! what a waste it would be.

The IDA and NYCEDC is a gang of criminals, prosecute Kyle and Seth too.

Boycott Fresh Direct!

Dec. 12 2013 09:02 AM
Atlantic Avenue neighor from Brooklyn

Ratner & Empire State Development need to be held accountable for not creating jobs and housing with the subsidy money they received. If you follow the money trail and make this authority accountable for the work they didn't deliver that would be better than each year giving Ratner & ESD wasting our tax dollars with no results. There has to be some type of accountability here all ends. But, this is what happens when you hire hacks to run this agency and this is an example of a organization who has more political hacks than actual employees.

Dec. 12 2013 08:53 AM

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