13 thoughts on “Board Deliberates Inwood Rezoning and Community Groups’ Alternatives

  1. It is important to understand that the quickest and most effective mechanism to create permanently affordable units is to incentivize developers to erect buildings with market rate units.

    In return for a higher density of zoning, builders provide a percentage of units as permanently affordable at rents well below market rates to individuals or families at certain income thresholds. Otherwise, nothing gets built in the first place.

    Development costs are approaching $500 per sqft in NYC and projects that break-even or lose money do not get financing. Buildings with 100% affordable units are not economical to build, unless the land is provided for free.

    Restricting housing supply will raise demand and raise rents. It’s important to take this opportunity to create the amount of housing stock Inwood needs.

  2. the comment above, by a property owner presumably positioned to make millions of dollars should this egregious rezoning go through, should be completely disregarded. the housing market in nyc has never been and will never be a purely ‘supply and demand’ market. as it stands, a majority of units in the neighborhood are rent-regulated units (although many of those are at risk because of preferential rent leases). inwood has managed to remain a working class neighborhood for generations thanks to the large number of rent-regulated units in the neighborhood and families that stayed put to build their families and communities and to hold on to that affordable housing. increasing ‘supply’ of market rate housing will in no way lower rents in inwood — in fact, the exact opposite is true. the new market rate units will be unaffordable to most inwood families and marketed to emigrants from more expensive areas of the city, while the increased pressure on tenants with rent-regulated units to get out (so that the rent can be more quickly increased and/or the unit flipped to a market rate unit) and/or the revocation of preferential rent will displace people from the community while also increasing the median rent in the area. inwood doesn’t need new luxury housing — it needs protection of its existing rent-regulated housing and LIMITS on the amount of new market rate housing construction, which threatens to unleash a hypergentrification monster, similar to that that devoured the previously working class neighborhood of williamsburg

  3. The presentation made by residents raised issues with the city’s rezoning proposal and suggested alternative approaches. It does not contain a complete alternative proposal, as the issue before the Community Board is whether to support or not the _city’s_ proposal. The presentation can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2nRbqZB

    A key map made by residents that translates the city’s rezoning proposal into building size and density can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/2BOu0u9

    The last part of the article above requires some clarification. The city has not released all of their underlying data or reasoning. It’s all residents can do to stay up till 2 am at night trying to pull figures from public databases and read 1400 pages of fine print to try and translate what the city is proposing for their neighborhood for the next 50 years or so. Residents do not have access to an army of consultants as the city does to perform detailed analyses such as modeling building costs. The question should have been, and was in fact, directed at EDC after their presentation earlier in the evening. They failed to answer. The question was then repeated verbatim after the resident presentation.

    That said, the question posed by Mr. Psathas is a fair one for any property owner who is considering developing or selling their newly up-zoned (and up-valued) property. It should have be answered by the city representatives. In fact there is an answer, which I will explain in a moment. But first it is important to point out that building costs are not necessarily linked to the zoning density under discussion here. It is true that given certain fixed costs a taller building may cost less per unit to build than a shorter one. However, it is also true that certain other fixed costs such as crane size, number of elevators and certain fire code regulations kick in as a building grows taller. The city requires a percentage of units to be affordable, not a fixed number, so as the building grows the number of affordable units required does also. It is not completely known that an 11 story building, which is what the city proposes enabling for Mr. Psathas’ property, is more or less difficult to finance than an 8 story or 14 story building.

    Also, Mr. Psathas’ family owns an extremely irregular-shaped property that would be costly and inefficient to develop under any zoning; this is perhaps why past schemes (such as a 7 story medical office building that was shopped in 2015) have not been enacted.

    In any case, an extremely extensive analysis on building cost was in fact done by the city when MIH was being formulated in 2015. The studies were done to see exactly how much the city could require in the form of affordable housing, and at what rents, without making the building unattractive to financing/development. You can read that study here, and I hope Mr. Psathas does, as it gets to the root of his question:


    Studies aside, MIH is still a new and untested concept. The number of MIH rental projects under construction is extremely small. The number of MIH ownership projects under construction is likely zero. Time will tell whether the city’s analysis of building costs and likely revenues ends up being correct or not.

  4. Peter Psathas owns property that will increase in value quite a bit if the rezoning goes through.
    I guess that influences his point of view?

  5. We do understand that, but what you either don’t understand, don’t care about, or actually desire, is that it is a recipe for gentrification and displacement. The New York City real-estate market, even with MIH, is not going to solve the housing problem, it’s going to make it worse.

  6. Inwood’s rents have risen faster than any other neighborhood in NYC because of a lack of supply. Less than 200 new units have been constructed since 2007. Rezoning existing industrial and automotive properties is the only effective means of alleviating rent pressure. Affordable units would rent at rate of $1,200 for a 2 bedroom for some families as stated in the follow article:


    The proposed rezoning not only stimulates housing and affordable housing, it also brings with it space for offices, something Inwood has a severe lack of. Waterfront access and investment from the city in infrastructure and services is also a part of the rezoning.

    Doing nothing will make sure rents continue to rise and has the support of exisitng landlords:

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