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NYC to build 837 apartments.

NYC to build 837 apartments

A major federal grant for the building of affordable housing in New York City may give a push to the near stagnant construction industry.

Mayor Dinkins and the City's Housing Authority announced a $76 million grant and their intention to build 837 new housing units throughout the five boroughs. The units will be built by the Housing Authority and there will partnerships with other city agencies and private developers.

As to what this means for the beleaguered building industry, Timothy Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Housing Authority, said the city cannot yet say specifically because sites have not yet been chosen. However, he said, historically the New York City Housing Authority has built more projects than any other city in the nation and they did not do it on their own. The private sector, he said, played a major role.

"It's a city-wide source of pleasure because it's going to generate jobs," said Sullivan.

The funds are part of the $733.7 million approved by Congress for the building of affordable housing in the Affordable Housing Act of 1991. The money also represents the largest federal allocation for housing for New York City since 1981. Funding for public housing was cut drastically during the Reagan Administration.

Sullivan stressed that New York City is getting 12 percent of the national allocation. New York State is receiving $190,000 of the federal government's commitment.

Peter Newall, spokesperson for Alexander "Pete" Grannis member of the State Housing Committee, said, "It's the first big time capital housing dollars in over 10 years."

The construction industry in New York has suffered the loss of some 10,000 jobs since the market took its turn for the worse. The Building Congress, the Construction Trades Council and other groups are planning a rally at City Hall on Dec. 19 to urge the city to create jobs through incentive programs and public capital campaigns (See Page 13).

There was some industry concern on announcement of the Federal grant that the city would give the contracts to non-profit groups. Sullivan said the non-profit groups would be involved in the bidding process but that even they would be calling on the private subcontractors. In the past, Sullivan said, the private sector has sometimes found the profit margin too low to be involved in the building of affordable housing.

According to Mario Procida, president of Procida Construction, builders of affordable housing in The Bronx, without subsidy, it is not economically feasible for the private sector to answer the city's need for housing.

"The subsidy has become essential or the direct funding of it has become essential," he said.

The units are to offer a variety of rent and purchase options to accommodate different income levels. The city will be looking to build low-rise developments that blend into neighborhoods. In addition, to serving those on the Housing Authority waiting list, the funds will assist families who live in public housing that are exceeding the income level, but still cannot afford to buy a home. In negotiating the Housing Act of 1991, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp pushed for a new generation of public housing that would incorporate home ownership.

The Housing Authority programs include: Rent to purchase; outright purchase and tenant cooperatives; conventional public housing with 100 percent construction subsidy; building with other agencies that create housing for higher income levels; and joint ventures with private developers that incorporate tenant ownership and cooperative ventures.

The planned distribution of the units among the boroughs are: Staten Island 129 units; Brooklyn 187 units; The Bronx 170 units; Manhattan 170 units; Queens 181 units.

The Housing Authority now manages 325 developments with 179,000 apartments and administers the Section 8 existing housing program 54,000 apartments.

"This money is for new construction," said the Housing Authority Sullivan. "It will add to the housing stock of the city itself.
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Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 18, 1991
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