Housing-Affordability

Housing Affordability

Housing in Battery Park City

Battery Park City is home to more than 16,000 residents and is composed of 30 residential buildings (12 rentals, 18 condominiums). Roughly 300 residential units are income-tested affordable apartments, with rent protections for hundreds more apartments in Gateway Plaza, the neighborhood’s oldest residential complex.

Battery Park City’s development and ongoing operations have been a success as demonstrated by the high quality of life experienced in the neighborhood, the vibrant programming, culture and art presence, as well as the value of homes and apartments in the community. At the same time, housing affordability is a significant concern for some stakeholders – as it is throughout New York City and in many parts of the country.

Upcoming rent reset provisions in residential ground leases are expected to trigger a significant rise in rents to an amount that could threaten the financial viability of many of BPC’s residential buildings. As a result, building owners are eager to negotiate with the Authority, providing BPCA an opportunity to achieve its strategic goal of expanding housing affordability and certainty.

To date this has been realized in the Authority’s efforts to extend limits on rent increases for long-time residents at Gateway Plaza, preserve affordable rental housing for nearly five decades at Tribeca Pointe, and the prior elimination of several resets for 12 condo buildings – saving them nearly $280 million in unreasonable increases.

Joint Purpose Fund

BPCA’s contribution to support affordable and low-income housing is explicitly contemplated by the Battery Park City Authority’s enabling legislation. Certainly, achieving a robust affordable housing stock in BPC has been affected by economic and political considerations since the neighborhood was originally envisioned and created (Battery Park City Is Success, Except for Pledge to the Poor/NYT). However, the Authority has since focused its efforts on preserving affordable housing in BPC, as well as meeting its obligation to provide over $430 million in financing to the City of New York’s affordable housing programs through the Joint Purpose Fund, which are used for purposes determined by the Mayor, New York City Comptroller, and BPCA.

BPC Housing Toolkit

Pursuant to Goal 1.1 of our Strategic Plan, the Authority recently developed a BPC Housing Toolkit examining the full range of tools that may be available to the Authority and its tenants, and describes potential strategies the Authority could pursue to respond to affordability concerns. Given the BPCA’s structure and fiscal obligations to the City and State, the opportunities for the Authority to create or preserve affordable housing in Battery Park City unilaterally are limited. However, in pursuit of its goal to expand and preserve affordable housing, the Authority will do its part while working with City and State partners as they contemplate new legislation and expansion of programs such as SCRIE, DRIE, SCHE, and DHE that require approvals beyond the Authority’s purview.

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