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November 19, 2009

Empty luxury condos, government intervention, and AY housing

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder looks at the call to subsidize the conversion of stalled condo buildings into affordable housing, the debate over such a program's appropriateness and potential efficacy, and the possible implications for Atlantic Yards.

The Right to the City-NYC coalition, which includes housing advocacy groups and several elected officials (including Prospect Heights Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries) held a press conference in Downtown Brooklyn on October 27 to urge the city "to convert these vacant condos into deeply and permanently affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers." (Here's CityRoom coverage.)

Others involved were City Council Members Melissa Mark Viverito, Letitia James, and Maria del Carmen Arroyo. While the group has the same general goals as the city in its Housing Asset Renewal Program (for which $20 million has been allocated), the latter is aimed at moderate- and middle-income families.

As Crain's reported in an article headlined Survey finds 601 troubled condo projects:

Right to the City identified Be@Schermerhorn, a 246-unit luxury condo, with a vacancy rate of more than 93%, and Forté, a 108-unit luxury condo, with a vacancy rate of more than 60%. Both buildings have been on the market for at least a year. Forté was recently taken over by its lender Eurohypo bank. The group has not identified specific buildings in the Manhattan neighborhoods yet.

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Posted by eric at November 19, 2009 11:06 AM