New HPD Commissioner, 421-a Bill

Maria Torres-Springer will take over from Vicki Been as commissioner of HPD, February 6th. Torres-Springer was president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Been goes back to NYU. James Patchett, chief of staff for Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, will take over the reins at the EDC.

Tentative 2018 assessments released this week show a 10.5 percent citywide increase for Class 2 properties. Brooklyn buildings had the biggest increases with Class 2 assessments soaring 15.71 percent. The Department of Finance reported that about 25 percent of the Class 2 market value increases came from new construction and improvements. Apartment buildings owners have until March 1st to file challenges with the Tax Commission.

More new housing construction is the goal of the Governor’s latest 421-a tax incentive bill, introduced early this week. REBNY and the Construction Trades Council reportedly agreed on the terms, which set minimum wages for projects over 300 units in core Manhattan and the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront but provide deeper benefits than the old program for all projects citywide. However, neither Senate nor Assembly leaders have signed off yet, and the Governor did not wrap the issue into the budget bill, also introduced this week, that they may focus on first.

Construction safety is also in the news, with the City Council reacting to recent accidents and union pressure with a package of bills.  A spate of articles feeding the debate highlighted reduced federal enforcement, increased city enforcement, and debate over causes and solutions ranging from simply increased construction to the effects of project size.

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