Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he will be advancing new legislation to create the "Affordable New York" housing program after the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York reached a deal to replace the program previously known as 421-a. The legislation expands the production of affordable housing and provides fair wages for construction workers.
Under the new “Affordable New York” housing program, developers of new residential projects with 300 units or more in certain areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, who create a specific number of rental units to remain affordable for 40 years, and pay construction workers an enhanced average wage and benefits, would be eligible for a full property tax abatement for 35 years. For all other affordable developments in New York City, the period of affordability and abatement eligibility would be tied to the number of affordable units.
“This agreement will help fulfill the real need for more affordable housing in New York City while recognizing the work of the employees who build them,” Governor Cuomo said. “This agreement will expand housing opportunities for low-income individuals by lowering income eligibility requirements, and extend affordability for projects created with 421-a for an additional five years. This is a major step forward in our efforts to provide affordable housing in New York City and ensuring benefits and fair wages are paid to hardworking men and women. I’m urging the Legislature to pass the Affordable New York bill and release the $2 billion housing fund.”
Rob Speyer, Chairman, The Real Estate Board of New York said, "We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in reaching this agreement. The new law will lead to the creation of desperately needed rental housing, including many more affordable units, throughout New York City. It will also generate more well paid jobs for New Yorkers. We would like to applaud Gary LaBarbera for his efforts to resolve this critical matter.”
Gary LaBarbera, President of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York said, "This legislation will not only help spark the creation of desperately needed affordable housing in New York City, but it also will ensure that the construction workers who build it will receive good middle class wages. We applaud Governor Cuomo for his steadfast leadership and commitment to renewing this critical law which will undoubtedly help keep New York competitive for years to come. None of this could have been done without our partners on the other side of the table, namely the leadership of REBNY, including Rob Speyer and John Banks."
Specific provisions of the agreement would:
- Extend affordability for projects created under the program – bringing affordability for these units to 40 years from 35 years.
- Expand housing opportunities for low-income individuals by lowering income eligibility requirements.
- Require that construction workers receive fair wages and benefits, providing an average rate of $60 per hour for projects in Manhattan south of 96th Street and an average rate of $45 per hour for projects one mile from the East River in community boards 1 and 2 in Brooklyn and Queens (the “Enhanced Affordability Areas”)
- Allow 300-unit or larger developments citywide to qualify for the program provided they are willing to satisfy the affordability and wage requirements under the law.
- Ensure enforcement and compliance of the wage and benefits requirements by requiring developers to hire independent monitors to audit payroll reports and create penalties for developers who do fail to meet the requirements.
- Allow projects that began construction after December 31, 2015 and on or before June 15, 2020 to qualify for the program if the completion date is on or before June 15, 2026.