Feb. 2, 2018 By Tara Law
The Housing Development Corporation abruptly pulled $43.5 million in funding for an affordable housing building at Hallets Point, jeopardizing the massive multi-structure project by the Durst Organization on the peninsula.
The seven building, 2.4 million square foot development would bring 2,400 rental residences, including 483 affordable units, to Hallets Point. The 14-story building in question, known as Building 7, would be entirely affordable housing and offer 163 units.
One building, known as Hallets Building 1, is still slated for completion this summer, but construction of the other six buildings has been halted, said Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz in an interview Thursday. The builders are currently sealing off the site.
The HDC’s decision, which the Durst Organization learned of on Nov. 17, was “inexplicable,” Barowitz said. He said the HDC had offered no real explanation.
“We can’t build the building without the bonds,” said Barowitz. “We can’t build the rest of the project because construction is dependent on the financing of Building 7.”
Funding for the rest of the project is contingent on the completion of the affordable housing buildings, said Barowitz. Without the affordable housing, the project will also lose a 421-a tax exemption worth $26 million.
“We’re not able to go forward with the rest of the project until the affordable units are occupied,” said Barowitz.
HDC spokesperson Libby Rohlfing said in a statement that the private activity bonds, which would have financed the project, are an “extremely scarce resource.”
The funds became unavailable around the same time that Republican lawmakers were considering cutting the bonds in the federal tax bill. Although the final bill ultimately retained the bonds, at the time state and local resources claimed they were under pressure to stretch their resources.
“The City is always looking to allocate its limited bond cap as efficiently and effectively as possible to achieve our affordable housing goals,” Rohlfing said.
The HDC’s decision to stop the funding coincided with a public feud between Douglas Durst, the head of the $4.4 billion real estate empire, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In a September op-ed published on Medium, the mayor described turning down requests and ideas from major donors. Although the descriptions of the donors were largely generic, one of the mayor’s examples— of a leading developer who wanted a contract for the citywide ferry service— fit the Durst organization.
Durst, in an interview with Politico the following month, said: “I think he’s going to see lots of problems in his term,” referring to the mayor.
De Blasio was reportedly also miffed that Durst had interfered with billionaire Barry Diller’s $200 million Pier 55 park project on the Hudson River.
Barowitz declined to comment on the feud, but said that the Durst Organization is looking for another way to work the city and bring the project forward.
“If there’s some other way we’re all ears, but we need the cooperation of the City,” he said. “It’s a popular project with the community, and we think a very worthwhile project.”
Come on Durst Org. you have the funds to finish. You own so much property.
Maybe Bobby Durst will pay em a visit and help things along???
You’re already underway to developing your new LIC monolith which surrounds the Clock Tower. it’s going to block out the sun for part of LIC and Astoria when the sun hits it south
One the this city will become a city of the very rich and the very poor. The very rich won’t care how high it costs to live here because they will have the money to afford it. The very poor won’t care either because everything they have will be subsidised or given to them, i.e. subsidised rent, food stamps, free or subsidised medical care, etc.
Tom: Programs like section 8 housing, food stamps (SNAP), WIC etc. etc are subsidies paid to individuals but actually corporate subsidies. These subsidies help corporations suppress wages and avoid paying market wages to employees. Just more money in corporate profits. Corporations have socialized much of their expenses and privatized their profits. That’s one of the reasons corporations are sitting on the largest mounds of cash in history.
I work for the city, yet cannot afford most of the “Affordable housing” since it’s too affordable! I either make too much or too little, they never have any that fir $40,000 – $50,000. It’s either more or less, very disheartening.
The average starting salary out of college is $48,000. So if that is what a 22 year old makes, who is just starting their career , then it makes sense there isn’t a lot of help at that range. That is when you have 3 roommates.
especially considering you may have $50-100K in debt for a degree which may never pay for itself
Shut all these Developments down and get real affordable housing into LIC.
I mean this sincerely. When you say “affordable” what do you mean specifically? Give me some numbers.