9 thoughts on “Eight Things Developers Think About De Blasio’s Rezoning Strategy

  1. Does densification diminish the quality of life for all? Probably not if you’re taking the seaplane to your 20-acre spread in the Hamptons every weekend and living in a 5,000 square foot apartment or townhouse Monday to Friday. As for the rest of us, I will posit that the answer is ‘yes.’ Because as exciting as it is to live in a city that never sleeps, at some point the reality of acutely limited acreage and an aging infrastructure will mean that everyday life for the overwhelming majority of inhabitants starts going downhill. I think we’re about to reach that point:


    • “Probably not if you’re taking the seaplane to your 20-acre spread in the Hamptons every weekend and living in a 5,000 square foot apartment or townhouse Monday to Friday.”
      What if I told you… I actually live on Jerome Ave and struggle with the ever increasing rents, just like many others in my community?

      When I speak of increasing density, it does not mean building 50 story skyscrapers in the Bronx. It means building 8-10 story buildings on 167th St, 170th St, Mount Eden Ave, ect… areas that are sandwiched between subways but are currently occupied by 1 story retail structures. You are correct to point out our infrastructure is strained. And that’s exactly why you want to lower the cost of construction so that its feasible to build without taking public money, and so that new buildings actually contribute to the tax base which gives our city the resources to build more schools and subways, and hire more teachers and police officers.

    • And now you know why New Yorkers prefer downzonings to upzonings. How are all those new LIC residents going to squeeze onto the already jam-packed subways in the area.

  2. If rent needs to be at $60-$65 per square foot, does it mean that a 450 sf apartment should be rented out for $27,000 a month to return the investment?? Are these numbers right?

    • The article isn’t clear but in real estate jargon that’s a yearly figure. So that is really means 450 x $60 = $27000/year or $2250/month.

    • that’s per year. When R/E types talk about rent per square foot they often talk about annual rent per square foot.

  3. The whole “infrastructure” argument is a beggar-thy-neighbor argument. No matter where you build, SOMEPLACE will become denser and require more infrastructure. But you don’t need nearly as much new infrastructure in cities (where most of the infrastructure is already in place) as in rural exurbs (where an entirely new set of roads, schools etc will be built to accommodate sprawl).

  4. Two major problems have been observed to date with the strategy:

    MIH was supposed to be a guarantee that when new density was created, a piece was carved out for affordable units. But instead it has become the tail that wags the dog, because by “forcing” themselves to trigger MIH in an upzoning, developers now get political cover from the only vote that matters — the local councilmember — and can propose crazy private rezonings that never would have stood a chance before MIH.

    The second problem is that individual spot rezonings are never really going to fly. It’s one thing if the city comes in and says “let’s densify here, in a reasonable way, along a transit corridor but at the same time we’ll offer to freeze or even downzone some sidestreets to match existing conditions”. It’s quite another if a radical spot zoning with a density unlike anything in the area is proposed for a single site. Of course this will generate opposition, which will be branded NIMBYism but it’s not necessarily anti-development — neighbors might be fine with replacing tired 1-story retail buildings with 9 story mixed-use buildings, but they’re not going to have a point about a 17 story building that sets a new precedent for an entire area with uniform zoning and say 6 to 8 story buildings. (See: Sherman Plaza, Inwood Library, etc.) The de Blasio focus on spot rezonings is bad planning (and likely illegal?)

  5. Everyone must read this new book! “Zoned Out”
    It is critical to read up on Zoning Laws in NYC if one wants to fight the powers that be!

    Zoned Out! Race, Displacement, and City Planning in New York City
    20.00 Editors: Tom Angotti and Sylvia Morse
    Contributors: Tom Angotti; Philip DePaolo; Peter Marcuse; Sylvia Morse; Samuel Stein

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