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City Wants to Swap Air Rights for Affordable Housing In LIC

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The de Blasio administration promised a new era of affordable housing in New York, and their latest trick will be a first for the city. The Observer reports that the city is looking to give away the development rights, at no cost, to a developer who will build "an affordable housing program that maximizes both the number of housing units and the level of affordability," according to the request for proposals issued by the Economic Development Corporation. The units would need to be permanently affordable and be available to a range of incomes, no greater than 165% of Area Median Income. No additional subsidy would be provided for the development.

The sites in question are city-owned pieces of land beneath the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, and they can not be developed themselves because of the bridge on-ramps. The air rights would need to be used on an adjacent site within the same block and zoning district, but applicants do not need to already own an adjacent site. If the site isn't adjacent, a zoning merger can let the new development be built nearby, on a pass-through lot. The largest side has 397,600 square feet of rights available, while the two smaller sites offer 66,366 and 30,533 square feet. Developers can submit proposals for all or a portion of the rights.

Developers can also submit proposals for market rate developments, but then they'll have to pay cold, hard cash for the rights.
· Air Rights for Affordable Housing: City Pitches Development Deal Swap [NYO]
· Long Island City RAMPS RFP [EDC]
· All Air Rights coverage [Curbed]