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November 26, 2007

Vacant lots, empty buildings = new opportunity for affordable housing

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder digs into a report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and attends a Drum Major Institute panel on rehabbing vacant buildings to learn if there might be means of creating affordable housing that don't involve seizing private property and tossing big subsidies at mega-developers:

In the 1970s, New York City took over some 100,000 properties abandoned for nonpayment of taxes, and in subsequent decades helped community development groups fix them to create affordable housing. The numbers remaining are few, so the city now practices new tactics--tax incentives or increased development rights--to stimulate affordable housing.

But other solutions remain, notably the utilization of vacant or abandoned properties that are not in tax arrears. Unlike some other cities, notably Boston (as reported on the DMI blog), New York doesn't keep an inventory, nor has it changed any tax policies to incentivize owners.

(Regarding some seemingly stagnant properties in the Atlantic Yards footprint, the state got around the lack of incentives by declaring them blighted. A rezoning, however, might have done the trick.)

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Posted by lumi at November 26, 2007 10:28 AM