Real Estate Weekly
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Tax break 421a provides opportunities for developers and residents alike


By Heidi Burkhart, president and founder, Dane PCG

I have heard a lot of criticism of the 421-­a affordable housing program, which some have deemed weak and “a giveaway to developers.”

Many parties have emphasized how expensive the program will be instead of highlighting how expansive the opportunities and benefits of such a program will be for New York residents.

Photo by sanchez jalapeno/ Flickr
Photo by sanchez jalapeno/ Flickr

With the 421-­a program back in effect, it is important to underscore the positive outcomes it will create for our city.

For one, the addition of more homes in central business districts will support our workforce across low-, moderate-­ and middle-­ income levels, providing needed support for our firefighters, police officers, teachers and nurses.

Additionally, as unemployment continues to be a concern for many, this program will create additional jobs in construction. It will also build stronger city infrastructure and spur economic development and opportunity as substantial companies will invest more money in our city and outsourced companies will  clamor to be suppliers at these new construction sites and developments.

Further, these newly built units will give more people the opportunity to call New  York City home, which will add more income to be taxed for the city, helping to drive down the $82 million deficit that the city estimates the program will cost in “unrealized taxes.”

The question, “does this program actually create affordable housing?” is outrageous.

Yes, it clearly does. 25 to 30 percent, at the very least, of all new housing stock that is part of the program is mandated to be affordable. If you question this, visit, which notes the new 421-­ a options A, B, and C. These require 25 percent, 30 percent and 30 percent of housing, respectively, to be affordable.

Focusing on matters at face value leads to stagnation, not progression. That is why I applaud the administrations of Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for working with many housing groups and budget watchdog organizations to find a win-­win solution on affordable housing.

I was once told that the best deals are those in which every party settles by leaving something on the table. I agree, especially as it relates to the 421-­a program.

Despite some groups criticizing this program, the opportunities it provides for New York City’s residents and infrastructure far outweigh what some have called a “giveaway.”

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