Astoria, Real Estate
Jan 28, 2017

Hallets Point and Astoria Cove Developers May Get a Tax Break After All

An update on the effort to find a replacement for the 421-a tax abatement program in NYC.

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Rendering via Studio V Architecture

Our friend Bill Parry published an article in the Times Ledger recently about an update regarding the 421-a tax abatement program. Not sure exactly what that is? Curbed has nicely outlined the basics, but there’s also a short and sweet description in this Times Ledger article: it exists “to allow developers to move forward with mega-developments” via tax breaks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in mid-January that he’d like to see a replacement, and would “push for legislation to create a new housing program that will replace the 421-a tax abatement.”

Two mega-developments in Astoria were affected by the expiration of 421-a—Hallets Point and Astoria Cove. If Cuomo’s new $2B “Affordable New York” housing program is put into law, developers “would be eligible for a full property-tax abatement for 35 years, provided they commit a certain number of rental units to remain affordable for 40 years, and pay construction workers an enhanced average wage and benefits.”

However, what does “affordable” mean? There is much contention about that word, and many assert that “affordable” has been defined in Bizarro World; guidelines for cost have seemed quite steep (though that may change). Gothamist lays it out here, as does 6sqft; and here’s what a Ben Carson HUD could mean.

Cuomo and de Blasio more or less agree regarding 421-A’s usefulness. Two quotes from the Times Ledger article that show their sort of agreement:

Cuomo: “This agreement will help fulfill the real need for more affordable housing in New York City while recognizing the work of the employees who build them. This agreement will expand housing opportunities for low-income individuals by lowering income eligibility requirements, and extend affordability for projects created with 421-a for an additional five years.”

De Blasio: “I do think the absence of 421-a has been unhelpful to say the least. I don’t think it has been critical, in the sense of a lot of great work continues to be done, and a lot was already in the pipeline, but we need it, and I am increasingly optimistic that it will be done soon.”

However, those guys still have issues: “The loss of 421-a has slowed development in the city after the governor shot down a deal brokered by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015.”

So how about you? Are you happy to see developer tax breaks leading to more construction and more affordable housing? Or is it all a sham? Let us know in the comments.

New hope for Astoria’s Hallets Point as Cuomo pushes 421-a replacement [Times Ledger]

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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