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  • jacob3008

Wake up NYC lawmakers! We need to bring back 421a to help with the affordable housing crisis.

Two years ago, I undertook a rezoning project for my family's property in #Astoria, and I can attest that it was no small feat - both in terms of time and financial investment. The #ULURP process took us five years to complete unofficially. Our goal was to bring much-needed housing to the heart of Astoria, located just 500 feet from the subway, making it an incredibly convenient location for potential residents. Previously, our property had served as the headquarters for our family's tire business, Max Finkelstein Inc, since 1919. However, since we sold the business, the building has remained vacant.

As per the ULURP/MIH program, we are now required to set aside at least 25% affordable housing. While MIH made sense in the past as it ran parallel with #421a, the current environment - with skyrocketing interest rates and construction costs, and #NYC real estate taxes accounting for approximately 30% of gross revenue - means that the economics of rental apartment development don't add up without the 421a program. There are several projects, such as Innovation QNS and sites in rezoned Soho and Gowanus, that could potentially bring thousands of apartments to NYC. However, without the 421a program, I have a hard time believing these will be feasible. Developers sitting on non-rezoned land will have no other choice but to build commercial space or for-sale condos, which will certainly not help solve the housing crisis.

It's disheartening to see how difficult it can be to build housing when the need is so evident. Rents are at their highest point in history, and policymakers seem to be making it even harder to build and add to the housing stock. Our location in Astoria is bursting with energy and a vibrant culture, but we are left wondering how much more challenging it will be to improve the community.

I firmly believe that everyone should have access to "affordable" housing, whether it's market-rate or affordable apartments. I hope that our experience sheds light on the need for better policies that support the creation of both market and affordable housing. We remain hopeful that our community will come together to support #affordablehousing initiatives and work towards a brighter future for all.

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