Stalled real estate developments are already being snapped up by squatters and the homeless. Why should they have all the fun? City officials agree, and they've unveiled a $20 million pilot program to put a long rumored plan?converting unsold condos into affordable housing?into practice. The aim is to create 400 units for moderate- and middle-income households and help neighborhoods avoid the big bad blight monster. The program is called the Housing Asset Renewal Program, and it'll focus on areas outside of Manhattan. A Notice of Funding Availability will go out in July, and projects will be selected based on discounts being offered by developers and banks, as well as how much public money it will take to get the buildings up to speed. Is this a developer bailout, as some have alleged? The city estimates the average cost of HARP housing to be below the $75,000 to $100,000 it spends to build each affordable housing unit from scratch?not quite $1,000 per square foot. Plus, and developers take note, there are zero good comebacks to a "You got HARPed!" diss.
· City aims to wring gains from housing bust [Crain's]
· City launches $20M plan to help families buy unsold luxury condos [NYDN]