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Bloomberg releases stats on ambitious affordable housing plan: far more preservation (107,119 units) than new construction (50,111)

Remember that bizarre dispute I got into with the New York Times editor in charge of corrections, who had defended a 5/20/12 profile of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, which stated:
On her watch, the administration has undertaken financing 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014, of which more than 130,000 have been built, and has created projects like Via Verde, the handsome, eco-friendly subsidized development in the South Bronx.
(Emphasis added)

After all, the city liked to use the term "build and preserve," as the Times reported in February 2010:
In 2005, the city said it would build 92,000 units and preserve 73,000 by 2014. Now, it expects to build 60,000 and preserve 105,000."
Now we have some numbers from the mayor's office: 50,111 units constructed, 107,119 units preserved.

The mayoral announcement

The numbers come from a 12/21/13 press release, Mayor Bloomberg Announces City Will Reach 160,000 Units of Affordable Housing Financed Under New Housing Marketplace Plan by Year's End - The Largest Affordable Housing Plan in the Nation:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas and New York City Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr today announced that by year’s end the City will have created or preserved 160,000 affordable housing units under the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, the largest housing plan in the nation. The ambitious New Housing Marketplace Plan is now 97 percent complete and is on pace to meet the goal of 165,000 units by June of 2014. In total, under the Bloomberg Administration, the City has created or preserved more than 175,000 units of affordable housing.
...To date the City has financed a total 157,230 affordable units through the NHMP –evidence of a promise kept by the Bloomberg Administration, and enough square-footage to roughly equal 46 Empire State Buildings. HPD and HDC will reach 160,000 affordable units by the end of this year, and are on pace to reach or exceed the 165,000 unit goal by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. Approximately 80 percent of those units will serve low-income households that earn between 40 percent and 80 percent of area median income. This is a group that has by far, the highest proportion of rent-burdened households. These families earn slightly too much to qualify for other government subsidies and benefits, and earn far too little to pay market rents.
Keep in mind that, however helpful to moderate- and middle-income households, about half of the 2250 subsidized rental units in the Atlantic Yards project would serve those earning over 80 percent of Area Median Income.

Drilling down

The announcement states:
Through the NHMP the Administration has financed more than 50,111 newly constructed affordable units to date.... At present, the City has preserved 107,119 units of affordable housing through the NHMP in a variety of multi-family buildings. By and large, these are tenant occupied buildings and are predominantly low-income. While preservation rarely creates new units, it can have a dramatic effect on communities by keeping people in their homes while maintaining the quality and affordability of the housing supply.
It also offers some borough statistics:
For every dollar invested by the City, the plan has leveraged an additional $3.43 for in other private and government funding for a total investment of $23.6 billion across the five boroughs, and will have created approximately 150,000 construction related jobs. This unprecedented investment has helped to spur economic growth, stabilize entire neighborhoods, and expand and preserve the city’s affordable housing stock.
Bronx: $7.6 Billion invested in 49,426 affordable units
Brooklyn: $5.3 Billion invested in 37,643 affordable units
Manhattan: $8.3 Billion invested in 51,168 affordable units
Queens: $2.2 Billion invested in 16,530 affordable units
Staten Island: $336 Million invested in 2,463 affordable units
From Wall Street Journal
What it doesn't provide--I've asked for more details--is borough-by-borough statistics. For example, of the 37,643 affordable units in Brooklyn, what was the breakdown between preservation and new construction?

Coverage in the WSJ

The statistics were cited in a 12/23/13 round-up on the mayor in the Wall Street Journal, headlined Bloomberg Reshaped the City: Leaves Sprawling Legacy as He Winds Down His 12 Years as the Mayor of New York City. The article focused mainly on the boom:
The Bloomberg years ushered in a new vision for condo living and renewed interest in architecture and design by developers and the public alike. Glass-walled buildings with high ceilings and skyscraper views outsold older co-ops lining Central Park.
Buyers from around the world rushed in to buy a piece of New York, bidding up prices on apartments and houses. With falling crime rates across the city, neighborhoods in Brooklyn became a destination of choice, for many newcomers to the city.
..."Mayor Bloomberg moved mountains," said Vicki Been, who studies housing issues at New York University. She said that the challenge for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was to improve affordability of housing, when incomes are stalled and rents are high.


  1. Anonymous11:05 PM

    What is the basis for the following statement?

    "The Bloomberg years ushered in a new vision for condo living and renewed interest in architecture and design by developers and the public alike. Glass-walled buildings with high ceilings and skyscraper views outsold older co-ops lining Central Park."

    Is that because apartments for sale "in glass-walled buildings and skyscraper views" vastly outnumbered apartments in "older co-ops lining Central Park"? I'd have to think the answer is "yes."

    15 CPW, a limestone-clad, traditionally-styled was "the most financially successful building in the history of New York," according to Paul Goldberger in Vanity Fair. And many of Mayor Bloomberg's friends like the head of Goldman Sachs live there. But Mayor Bloomberg, former Deputy Mayor Doctoroff, and Planning Commissioner Burden are so enamored with shiny new buildings and "iconic towers" (read "glass buildings designed by Starchitects") that they promoted glass buildings by architects who, unlike Robert A.M. Stern, will not design traditional buildings.

    It's worth mentioning that Doctoroff bought and impeccably and traditionally restored a beautiful 1890s row house designed by Clarence True, that Mayor Bloomberg lives in a row house in an historic district designed by McKim, Mead & White, and I would guess that Commissioner Burden lives in a pre-war co-op close to Central Park. Why do they promote shiny Starchitecture SO STRONGLY, almost to the point of restraint of trade for other architects? Part of the answer is probably that glass skins are so much cheaper than limestone cladding. There's also a Muschamp quote about why Starchitecture is best that I'll have to try to find.

    John Massengale


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