Mayor Eric Adams on Monday launched particulars of a plan to turn empty offices into model new apartments to assist relieve New York Metropolis’s inexpensive housing crunch.
Adams’ workplace conversion blueprint consists of particular proposals to ease zoning restrictions and supply tax breaks to property homeowners. The plan, which pulls on suggestions from a metropolis process power convened in July, may pave the best way for up to 20,000 new apartments over the subsequent decade, Adams mentioned.
“The need for housing is desperate, and the opportunity offered by underused office space is clear,” he mentioned in an announcement. “These concrete reforms would clear red tape and create the incentives to create the housing we need for New Yorkers at all income levels.”
Distant work has drastically lowered the usage of workplace area all through New York Metropolis. The duty power’s research discovered that workers come to the workplace lower than half as usually as they did earlier than the COVID pandemic, and about 20% of Manhattan offices had been out there to lease within the second half of 2022—up from 10% in 2019.
A controversial plan to remodel the world round Penn Station into a large new workplace district has confronted delays as officers and skittish builders take into account the way forward for in-person work.
Lawmakers, housing advocates and New Yorkers in want of an condo have for years mentioned measures to turn offices into houses, with underwhelming outcomes. However final month, Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul positioned office conversions as a central part of their joint plan to “reimagine New York’s commercial districts as vibrant 24/7 destinations.”
Adams’ announcement comes a day earlier than Hochul delivers her annual State of the State Deal with, a speech anticipated to give attention to housing and affordability.
Hochul final month revealed her purpose of constructing 800,000 new inexpensive houses statewide—a plan she is probably going to define throughout her speech Tuesday.
That formidable plan coincides with Adams’ “moonshot” intention to construct 500,000 housing items within the 5 boroughs.
New housing is sorely wanted, particularly for low-income New Yorkers who wrestle to discover apartments as rents, evictions and homelessness rise.
Almost 69,000 individuals spend every evening in a shelter run by the New York Metropolis Division of Homeless Companies, and the emptiness charge in apartments priced beneath $1,500 a month has plummeted beneath 1%, in accordance to the town’s most up-to-date housing survey.
Adams’ workplace conversion proposal would goal Midtown Manhattan, in addition to different business districts, like Downtown Flushing and Bronx Hub. The plan would additionally permit for a variety of housing varieties, together with supportive housing for individuals who have skilled homelessness and would require adjustments to metropolis and state legal guidelines round zoning necessities.
However prior plans to turn empty lodges into sorely wanted apartments have stalled, regardless of widespread assist and a devoted pool of state funding.
New York Metropolis Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz mentioned workplace conversions add one other potential supply of new apartments.
“To solve our housing shortage, we need every tool possible,” Katz mentioned.