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New York City Looks To Sell Land, Air Rights To Raise $3B For Public Housing Fixes

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Campos Plaza, a public housing building in New York City, as of September 2017

New York City is hatching a plan to sell off New York City Housing Authority’s air rights and vacant land as a way to generate cash to fix its ailing public housing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plan yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported. It is expected to raise $3B to repair the authority’s housing stock.

The initiative, known as NYCHA 2.0, is part of a city plan to spend $24B fixing 170,000 NYCHA apartments in the city. This piece of the plan would allow developers to build on currently vacant, NYCHA-owned land, and buy additional density for their developments from current NYCHA buildings air rights sales.

“If you address the underlying problem, if you fundamentally rehab a building, the cost of keeping it up suddenly changes,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Brooklyn Wednesday.

The sites and air rights have not yet been selected. City officials said that NYCHA is not being privatized and the authority will still own its tens of thousands of housing units. Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the authority will move ahead with mixed-income developments at one or two sites next year.

Last month, the city announced it was moving ahead with a plan to allow private developers to manage a third of the apartments, a move expected to generate $12.8B.

NYCHA housing has been in a state of disrepair and the city has said it needs $32B worth of upgrades over the next five years. In June, the city said it would spend $2B over the next 10 years to fix the system, but a federal judge rejected that settlement last month.

Related Topics: Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYCHA