16 Predictions for New York City’s Housing Market in 2016

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MANHATTAN — The year 2015 was all about records: new heights forsales prices, rentals … and thenumber of applications to affordable housing lotteries.

But the market began to shift late in the year: sales price growth cooled, and landlords offered more concessions amid rising vacancies for rentals. Both are trends some brokers predict will continue.

Affordability will also remain a big issue as the de Blasio administration’s controversial zoning rules, intended to spur affordable housing, wind their way through the public approval process.

Here’s what else experts are talking about for 2016:

1. Sellers will no longer have an extreme advantage.

Sellers will need to be more prudent about pricing as many buyers have reached their limit, many brokers said.

“By no means will buyers have critical advantage, but they will have more leverage than in 2015,” said Noah Rosenblatt, founder of UrbanDigs, a site that analyzes the Manhattan market.

2. Ultra-luxury condos will see price cuts.

There may be more condos breaking the $100 million mark, but as inventory of the high-end market — above $20 million — has expanded, its sales will become “sluggish,” said Daniel Hedaya, of Platinum Properties, predicting that new developments with unsold units will start seeing price cuts.

It’s already started at buildings like Zeckendorf Development’s 50 U.N. Plaza and theToll Brothers’ 400 Park Avenue South and 1110 Park Ave. When Zeckendorf dropped prices, sales immediately increased, noted real estate expert Jonathan Miller.

“It’s not as if these prices are far off, it’s just that they’re priced based on the market two or three years ago, without the competition,” he said.

3. One developers’ woes might be another’s opportunity.

High land costs are putting a damper on development, said Robert Dankner, of Prime Manhattan Residential, noting that the “furious pace of buying dirt $700 to $1,000 a foot” has since “grinded to a halt” since developers can’t charge $3,200 a foot.

“There are some signs of people overpaying,” said Roberta Axelrod, of Time Equities. “That may wind up in opportunities later” — for other developers.

4. Developers, in general, become more “cautious.”

With some big regulatory unknowns, like what’s happening with 421-a tax breaks and details of the city’s affordable housing plans still in flux, many developers feel unsettled about starting new projects.

“Over the course of last six months, we’ve become a lot more cautious,” said Matt Baron, of Simon Baron Development, which recently opened Upper East and Upper West Side condos geared toward the “mid-market” — $2 million to $10 million range — and also launched Ollie at select buildings to provide renters with “lifestyle-relevant services” like housekeeping and a social concierge.

Jody Kriss, of East River Partners, which is developing a group of properties in Fort Greene and the Upper West Side, plans to take on smaller projects in 2016, focusing on four to 20 units in Brownstone Brooklyn, noting that smaller projects take roughly 2 years to buy and complete, which is less time than large scale developments.

5. High-end rentals in Manhattan will steal thunder from pricey condos.

The luxury rental market “will go through the roof,” especially as “hedge fund guys” have had a down year and might want to rent rather than buy, predicts Darren Sukenik, a broker with Douglas Elliman.

“A lot of these finance guys don’t want to be the one to buy at the top of the market,” he said.

One rental that will likely get much attention is the Moinian Group’s Sky at 605 W. 42nd St., which, at 1.2 million square feet, will be the city’s largest residential building.

Mitchell Moinian, of the Moinian Group, believes the building will raise the bar for rentals.

“We’ve programmed the building to the nines, with everything under the sun: three swimming pools, indoor and outdoor; hair and nail salon, one of the largest health clubs; pilates, yoga, basketball court,” he said.

6. Hello Kingsbridge, Elmhurst and Sheepshead Bay?

As buyers have become more price conscious, expect them to look to neighborhoods like Kingsbridge and Grand Concourse in The Bronx and some “less loved ones in Queens and Brooklyn,” like Elmhurst and Jackson Heights or Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, said Doug Perlson, of online brokerage Real Direct.

“These are places that are commutable,” he said. “They may take longer to get to Midtown, for sure, but they have a lot of new development or tight-knit communities that [buyers] find appealing.”

7. Affordable housing will get more creative.

If the de Blasio administration’s mandatory inclusionary housing and zoning for quality and affordability plans pass, expect an uptick of creative designs for affordable housing, predicts Claire Weisz, founding principal of WXY Architecture + Urban Design.

Source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151229/tribeca/16-predictions-for-new-york-citys-housing-market-2016

Build it Back opening new construction centers

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The city’s Build It Back program, established in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to help homeowners rebuild their houses, is moving toward its goal of completing its work by the end of 2016, according to officials, who announced that the program is transitioning its case management centers to put more of a focus on construction services.

On Jan. 1, Build It Back will be opening up new construction services centers in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. At the same time, the program will be moving case management services from the old offices into the new centers so that applicants can access all services in the same location, officials said.

The Brooklyn Construction Services Center will be located at 1380 Rockaway Parkway.

Homeowners will be able to use the new center to review their project scope of work, sign grant agreements, receive temporary housing assistance and meet with program representatives to address questions and concerns.

Build It Back will maintain a satellite center at 1906 Mermaid Ave. in Coney Island. The satellite center is open by appointment only.

Coney Island is one of the neighborhoods that was hit hardest by Sandy, with many buildings heavily damaged by the storm. Sandy hit New York City on Oct. 29, 2012.

Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said he was pleased that the satellite center is located on Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island’s main commercial thoroughfare. “This is the main shopping street in Coney Island. It’s important for people to know that Coney Island is more than just the summertime amusements. Real people live here,” he told Brooklyn Eagle.

Meanwhile, the city is looking to help Sandy victims in other ways.

In May, officials from the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery and Treyger announced the creation of a program in which vouchers for pre-apprenticeship training spots in the construction industry would be distributed to individuals in Sandy-damaged neighborhoods.

Source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/12/29/build-it-back-opening-new-construction-centers

Opening Soon in NYC: 360 sq. ft Micro-Apartments for $2,900/mo

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A New York City zoning code established in 1987 that prohibited the construction of apartments smaller than 400 sq. ft has been jettisoned to make way for smaller apartments for singles who prefer to pay more to live alone.

The New York City Council in November voted for two changes to the 30-year-old zoning code: 1. to allow for the build and sale of micro-apartments under 400 sq. ft; and 2. to loosen the density restrictions so that existing units can be broken into legal sub-divisions.

Officials say the changes are meant to help meet the needs of the number of growing singles in the city– which now accounts for close to 50 percent of the population– so that they do not have to double and triple up with roommates. The city’s very first micro-apartments will open on February 1, 2016, at Carmel Place, a nine-story, modular building located at 335 East 27th Street, reported The New York Times.

Carmel Place prefab houses being lifted into place

The micro-units were prefabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and delivered by truck over the Manhattan Bridge. There are 55 prefab studios between 260 to 360 square feet, ranging anywhere from $2,540/mo to $2,910/mo– about the same rent for a regular one-bedroom apartment in that same area, but considerably more rent per square foot.

Carmel Place completed

Now Tiny Tim and other singles his size can live comfortably anywhere in New York City, while developers can get even more bang for their buck! The good news is, about 14 units in the building are designated as affordable, which is about half of the market rate costs. And already, the building is averaging 4,300 applicants per apartment.

The de Blasio administration is looking to expand the availability of these so-called micro apartments– next into the Lower East Side, other parts of Manhattan and then across the five boroughs.

As a single Brooklynite, how much would you be willing to pay for an “affordable” 300 sq. foot micro-apartment?

 

 

 

Source: http://www.bkreader.com/2015/12/opening-soon-nyc-360-sq-ft-micro-apartments-2900mo/

Hold Agencies Handling After-Hours Construction Permits Accountable: Pols

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UPPER EAST SIDE — The city should end “debilitating” after-hours construction work and slow down the rate it approves permits, politicians said.

Roughly two dozen electeds wrote a letter to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris on Dec. 16 urging the mayor’s office to create a construction liaison who would be responsible for overseeing coordination between the Department of Buildings, theDepartment of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protectionregarding construction happening in their neighborhoods.

Upper East Side residents have long been complaining to officials about noise, bright light and air pollution stemming from building sites that operate late into the night and even on weekends.

Though it’s disruptive, they say there’s nothing that can be done because the DOB continues to issue contractors the necessary permits.

A recent boom in construction in the Upper East Side area has angered a lot of people, according to Councilman Ben Kallos who said that his office gets more complaints about after-hour construction work than any other district in the city.

Many complaints that come in concern developer Anbau’s Citizen360 luxury condo project on First Avenue and East 89th Street, he said.

“The DOB is granting after-hours variances as a right, so this is just something that is happening — people don’t get to rest of a weekend or get to sleep late,” Kallos said.

“Developers are building without any regulation or oversight, which the DOB should be doing.”

In November, Anbau was granted after-hours variance permits and was allowed to do work well into the evening, frustrating residents living across the street from the site who said the noise and lights kept them up at night and disrupted day-to-day life.

But Kallos said the number of grievances has gone down because the flood of complaints forced the DOB and Anbau to compromise and set the after-hours permits to end earlier and push back drilling to an hour later in the mornings.

The letter — which was also signed by Councilman Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright — also demands that the city reexamine how residents report construction complaints.

Currently the only way for residents to flag issues to the city is to call 311, but complaints often don’t get addressed or are sent to the wrong agency, according to the letter.

“The Department of Buildings is wielding a giant rubber stamp and approves these variances far too often and for unreasonable hours,” Garodnick told DNAinfo New York.

“When residents call to complain, everyone just points fingers and noone is held accountable for unreasonable or illegal construction.”

By creating a liaison in the mayor’s office, the permitting process could be checked by someone who has direct connections to the community, the letter explains.

The liaison would have full access to the permitting and complaint review processes of all three agencies involved and would be able to coordinate between them to make sure that issues are handled together. They would also have the authority to decide whether specific applications are reasonable or not.

“What we want is someone who can say, ‘The buck stops here,'” Garodnick said.

“We want someone who can balance the need for construction to progress with the quality of life of area residents. We also want to streamline the process on all fronts. It is unwieldy for builders and it does not work for residents.”

Garodnick, Kallos and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez are sponsoring a bill that, if passed, would streamline and clarify the process for granting these variances and add protections for residents, according to Garodnick.

The bill calls for better notification to the community of after-hours work and setting new standards for when variances can be granted, he said.

The mayor’s office said that it plans to address the issue, but would not comment on the letter’s demands specifically.

“We take very seriously the responsibility of ensuring construction sites are safe and present as little disruption as possible to the public,” said Wiley Norvell, the deputy press secretary for the mayor’s office.

“New York City is in the midst of a historic construction boom, which is delivering more jobs, housing and opportunity for New Yorkers. We’ll work closely with all concerned officials to make sure this unprecedented surge in activity is managed in the safest and least disruptive way.”

Kallos urges people to contact his office if 311 doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

“We need somebody ultimately to be held accountable,” he said.

A request for comment from the DOB was referred to City Hall.

Source: https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151223/upper-east-side/hold-agencies-handling-after-hours-construction-permits-accountable-pols

New York City Soon to Be Home to World’s First Underground Park

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An abandoned trolley terminal in New York City will soon be home to the world’s first underground park. The Lowline, a lush underground forest powered by advanced solartechnology, is “one step closer to becoming a reality,” The Verge reported.

The ambitious project sits one story below Delancey St. and directly adjacent to the existing JMZ subway track at the Essex St. subway stop. It will be the size of a football field when complete.

Spearheaded by co-founders James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the Lowline will host trees and plants such as philodendrons, dwarf snake plants, spiderworts, nettles and Spanish moss.

The coolest part? The flora will thrive off of actual sunlight in this underground arboretum thanks to solar technology designed by Ramsey’s firm, Raad Studio.

“The proposed solar technology of the Lowline involves the creation of a remote skylight, whereby sunlight passes through a glass shield above a parabolic collector, is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground,” the creators explained on their website.

“Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology would transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow.”

undergroundpark
This graphic shows how the team will bring actual sunlight underground. Photo credit: The Lowline

Ramsey and Barasch came up with the idea of a subterranean oasis in 2009 and made many headlines soon after. Ramsey, who is also an ex-NASA engineer, first conceptualized this design while building satellites for the space agency, The Verge reported.

The park was given a similar moniker to New York City’s Highline, a linear park built on a disused railroad. The Lowline makes use of a site that has unused for the past six decades and brings much-needed green space New York City dwellers, especially during in the city’s typically harsh winters.

“The site itself is located at the very heart of the Lower East Side, and today, it still remains one of the most crowded neighborhoods in the city,” as Barasch, a former Google strategist, said in his TEDTalk last year. “New York City has two-thirds the green space per resident as other big cities and this neighborhood has one-tenth of the green space.”

According to the project’s timeline, the Lowline team is currently negotiating with the MTA and the city to build and operate the underground park. After negotiations are finalized, a capital campaign to support construction will be launched.

The Verge reported that the founders are also working out certain kinks such as making the city’s “request for expressions of interest” Feb. 1 deadline and figuring out details for concessions and hours of operation, as well as raising funds for the expensive project. The Lowline is reportedly expected to cost between $44 million and $77 million to build, and $2 million to $4 million annually to operate.

The project completed a successful $223,506 Kickstarter campaign in October to construct their Lowline Lab, which is currently a research space for lighting and horticulture experiments, and is now open to the public for visits and community events.

The underground park is planned to open by 2020.

Source: http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/23/lowline-underground-park/

New York Today: The Year That Was

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Good morning on this brightening Wednesday.

As we looked back over the past year in New York, we remembered just how much has happened since we raised our glasses to toast the start of 2015.

There was a prison escape, the stunning downfall of two major politicians,a deadly explosion in the East Village, and plenty more in this buzzing city of ours.

Here are some of our most popular stories of 2015, month by month.

January: Cadbury’s chocolate made in Britain will no longer be importedto our chocolate-loving shores.

February: Two teenagers were trying to shovel snow for money. Then the police came. So did national news media. And the State Legislature.

March: Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO documentary, “The Jinx,”was arrested on a murder charge.

April: A time-lapse video in the elevator at the One World Trade Observatory shows the history of the area.

May: A deep dive into the exploitive practices in the nail salon industry.

June: The second prison escapee was captured.

July: How the two inmates at an upstate prison pulled off their escape.

August: A story from our “Summer Love” series, about a woman who answered a man’s ad for a roommate, moved in and never left.

September: The police officer who mistakenly arrested the former tennis star James Blake had a history of complaints about his use of force.

October: The Lonely Death of George Bell.

November: An Italian marathoner who went missing after the race was found on the subway in his running clothes.

December (so far): A lawyer was refused boarding on a flight out of La Guardia Airport after a revolving-door mix-up.

Here’s what else is happening:

WEATHER

A bit sunny for most of the day, with a high of 47, but clouds scrambling in later in the afternoon could bring some rain.

And the winds have calmed down from yesterday.

Winter coat watch: It’s a safe bet.

IN THE NEWS

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton rebuked former Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly for claiming that the Police Department is doctoring its data. [New York Times]

As the chief judge on the state Court of Appeals steps down, he leaves behind a legacy of changes inspired by social justice. [New York Times]

A new program brings poetry to Rikers Island. [New York Times]

Former Gov. George E. Pataki dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for president. [New York Times]

Dean G. Skelos, former leader of the State Senate convicted in a corruption trial this month, has filed for his pension. [New York Post]

Funding cuts to the state Department of Environmental Conservation have led to a decline in the state’s air quality, according to a new report. [Capital New York]

Cleanthony Early, a player for the Knicks, was shot in the leg and robbed after leaving a strip club. [New York Times]

Scoreboard: Islanders rattle Maple Leafs, 6-3. Devils quell Hurricanes, 3-2. Knicks stall Pistons, 108-96.

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Wednesday Briefing.

COMING UP TODAY

Explore the Pinetum in Central Park on a guided walking tour. 11 a.m. [Free]

Play a “Deer Survival Game” and find signs of deer in Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island. 1 p.m. [Free]

Make a journal to record the events of 2016 during a workshop at the Museum of the City of New York. 11 a.m. [Free with $14 suggested admission]

Eat some spaghetti and watch some performances at Great Small Works’s year-end dinner at Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square. 7:30 p.m. [Donations from $5 to $25 accepted]

Nets at Magic, 7 p.m. (YES). Devils at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (MSG+). Rangers at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBC Sports).

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

COMMUTE

Subway and PATH

Railroads: L.I.R.R., Metro-North, N.J. Transit, Amtrak

Roads: Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking: in effect until Friday.

Ferries: Staten Island Ferry, New York Waterway, East River Ferry

Airports: La Guardia, J.F.K., Newark

AND FINALLY …

The New York Public Library has released its most popular books of the year, those most frequently checked out across the system, which includes 92 branches in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx.

(Queens and Brooklyn have their own library systems.)

Nine out of the top 10 books were written by women, including “Leaving Time,” by Jodi Picoult; “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins; “Go Set a Watchman,” by Harper Lee; and “Not That Kind of Girl,” by Lena Dunham.

Marshall Karp and James Patterson, who co-wrote “NYPD Red 3,” were the only male authors on the list.

There was some variation by borough:

On Staten Island, three books by Danielle Steel made the top 10.

“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson was quite popular in Manhattan.

In the Bronx, practical knowledge beat out literary smarts — the top book was “TASC: Test Assessing Secondary Completion: Strategies, Practice, & Review” from Kaplan Publishing.

Tim Herrera contributed reporting.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

For updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/nyregion/new-york-today-the-year-that-was.html?_r=1

NYC Institutes New Requirements for Cooling Towers in Wake of Legionnaires’ Disease Deaths

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Twelve deaths from Legionnaires’ disease linked to a cooling tower in the South Bronx prompted New York City to pass a law on August 18, 2015, that requires all cooling towers to be registered with the Department of Buildings and includes specific mandates for compliance with health and safety measures.

This summer the South Bronx experienced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, an illness traced to the Legionella bacteria present in air conditioning cooling towers. Typically, the disease results when contaminated water is inhaled into the lungs. Health officials believe that the bacteria festered in at least a dozen South Bronx cooling towers and contaminated their systems, most dramatically at a local hotel to which the deaths of 12 persons with preexisting health problems have been linked. While the outbreak is now contained, more than 100 people contracted the disease.

In an attempt to curtail the outbreak, on August 6, 2015, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued an order to building owners to disinfect all cooling towers by August 27. In addition, the order makes cooling tower registration mandatory and registration must be completed prior to initial operation. Existing cooling towers must be registered by September 17, 2015.

On August 14, 2015, the New York City Council passed a bill (Intro. 866) that the mayor signed into law (2015/077) on August 18, 2015. This law, which is effective immediately, requires building owners to develop a maintenance plan to prevent Legionella contamination.

The law further requires that owners:

  • Register cooling towers with the Department of Buildings

  • Inspect and test them on a quarterly basis

  • Clean and disinfect cooling towers if any test comes back positive for microbes, such as the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease

  • Notify DOHMH if any test comes back positive for microbes.

Building owners are required to pay for the inspection and disinfection. Violations of registration, certification and inspection requirements are punishable by civil penalties up to $10,000. Failures to disinfect cooling towers that test positive for unhealthy levels of such microbes are classified as misdemeanors and are punishable by fines up to $25,000.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled similar statewide regulations requiring building owners to register, test, inspect and disinfect all cooling towers when necessary. A free hotline (1-888-769-7243 FREE) has been established to answer questions and provide information regarding the new state regulations.

Source: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/nyc-institutes-new-requirements-cooling-towers-wake-legionnaires-disease-deaths

THREE TRENDS THROTTLING AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN BROOKLYN

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Last year, New York City announced a lofty goal of 200,000 new affordable units over a decade, and we’re excited to explore the horizon at our NYC Affordable Housing event at the Roosevelt Hotel on Oct. 1. The Hudson Cos has 2,000 of these units in the pipeline, with many in Brooklyn—but three external trends are making it difficult to pursue affordable housing in the borough, says principal Aaron Koffman, a panelist. The biggest impact is the price of land, whether coming from speculators or longtime owners, even though the city’s term sheets are set up to account for some of these costs, Aaron says. (For instance, he’s seeing costs between $45/SF and $75/SF in East New York.) That financial hit is coupled with the impact of both prevailing and non-prevailing wages on the cost of construction—he’s seen as much as a 20% to 30% increase in wages over the past 18 months. And the city’s building boom across all sectors has spread utility companies thinner; its experts are needed during the engineering, design and installation phases, Aaron says, so it’s significantly impacting affordable housing project timelines and budgets. Flickr/Eli Duke Hudson Cos has been partnering with landowners to help bring down some associated development costs, Aaron says. And given land prices, the firm has its eyes on doing more preservation projects. Hudson is about to close on its first affordable preservation deal, which will recapitalize and extend the regulation period by another 30 years for 212 units in 13 buildings in Brooklyn, mostly Bed-Stuy (a rooftop shot of the neighborhood above). It’s the first of a two-phase transaction with the same nonprofit owner, which will eventually total 550 units in 47 buildings. Hudson will be responsible for capital repairs, fixing roofs, upgrading life safety systems and adding new features to the buildings. “We’re excited about moving more into this field, especially as more buildings are in need of preservation services,” he notes. Hudson Cos is also diversifying into combining housing types into its affordable projects. In Crown Heights, it’s partnering with a church to build 160 units of affordable housing. Half of the units will be for seniors, 15% will be for residents within 90% of the area median income (AMI) and 35% will be low-income. “It’s quite possibly the wave of the future,” he predicts. “Here, we have three boxes checked on one development, all of which are in critical demand in Crown Heights.” At 280 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights, it won an RFP to redevelop the public library and build 139 market rate condo units; as part of the agreement, it will build 114 units of inclusionary housing off-site in Clinton Hill (above), which is currently in land-use review. “It’s a neighborhood in desperate need of affordable housing.” In East New York, Hudson Cos is completing the 287-unit Gateway Elton Phase 3 project (above), which targets residents with 40% to 60% AMI and has 27 units sponsored by the NYS Office of Mental Health. (The entire project will comprise 659 units with 66k SF of retail and community space, with up to 1 million watts of PV solar power installed along Elton Street.) This isn’t its first foray into supportive housing; the developer participated in New York/New York III, the city-state initiative to place supportive housing in low-income projects, and hopes to participate in New York/New York IV should it come to fruition, he says. Outside of work, Aaron is an avid cyclist, volunteer and gardener who is always seeking more time to get outdoors with his dog, Scooter. Hear more at our NYC Affordable Housing event starting at 7:30am at the Roosevelt. Sign up here!

Source: https://www.bisnow.com/new-york/news/affordable-housing/three-trends-throttling-affordable-housing-development-in-brooklyn-50107?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser