Newsletter: May 20, 2011

Larry Gluck’s Stellar Management scored an important but narrow victory in federal court on whether rent regulation applied to Independence Plaza because it received J-51 benefits after exiting the Mitchell Lama Program. The lower State courts said yes, and the U.S. sued Stellar to recover allegedly excess Section 8 benefits paid on behalf of tenants who they said should have been regulated. The US District Court ruled, however, that state law required termination of Independence Plaza’s J-51 benefits upon exit from Mitchell Lama and the fact that the City mistakenly continued them for several years didn’t subject the property to jurisdiction of the Rent Stabilization Law. It was one of many issued the State Court of Appeals left unresolved in the Roberts case.

NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy’s Quarterly Housing Update reports that new building permits were issued for only 16 residential units in Manhattan during the first quarter of 2011, and that the 1166 units sold in Manhattan during the first quarter represented a 17% decline from  the previous quarter. The median price was $1,170,494, an 11% decline from the peak a few years ago. Median prices in Queens and the Bronx are still down 32% from their peaks.

After three years of litigation by the National Association of Home Builders and others, the Department of the Interior has withdrawn an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that could have stopped development almost anywhere over any species. NAHB argued that under the rule “grey squirrels found on Manhattan Island might be entitled to ESA protection if the government determined that their numbers on the Island were shrinking.”

The City has issued an RFP for development of a healthcare, education, or scientific research facility at 525 East 73rd St. The project has to include a Department of Sanitation Garage. The site is 68,000 sq. ft., and currently zoned M3-2. Proposals are due by July 28th.

Remember to reserve your space at ABO’s June 9th luncheon featuring the new City Housing Commissioner, Matthew Wambua.

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