Archive for the tag 'rent'

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden sponsored a bill that provides huge tax breaks for Manhattan luxury apartment building developers. The New York Daily News is reporting that legislation backed by Golden designates tax breaks for five developments, costing the city tens of millions of dollars as the city wrangles with an already starved budget.

One of the buildings eligible for a tax break includes One57, a massive 75-story luxury apartment development being built near Central Park. Believing that the legislation will help create jobs, Golden otherwise pleaded ignorance when questioned on the breaks.

“These projects were ready to go,” Golden told the Daily News. “I’m not sure where they came from,” Golden said in response to who earmarked the developments for special favor.

The bill’s sponsor in the Assembly, Keith Wright, a Manhattan Democrat, was also unsure for who and why the tax breaks were included.

“These five properties — it was important that they benefit from the piece of legislation probably, and I don’t know why, because some of the folks in the Senate wanted them to be included,” Wright told the Daily News.

The answer as to why the developments got special favors was not surprising. The Daily News discovered that significant campaign contributions were made to various state campaign committees:

The developers of four of the projects, their relatives and affiliated companies gave $1.5 million to various state campaign committees during 2008-12 — including $440,962 last year, records show.

The contributions included $53,000 to the state Senate Republican campaign treasury, $34,000 to the war chest of Assembly Democrats and $150,000 to the campaign of Gov. Cuomo, who signed the bill Jan. 30.

Advocates of campaign finance reform saw this measure as another example of how the system is broken.

“That real estate developers were able to win such a huge giveaway is a reflection of . . . just how broken the current campaign finance system is,” Jaron Benjamin, president of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, told the Daily News. “The reason Albany lawmakers agreed to spend millions subsidizing luxury housing for the wealthy is clear: Developers who contributed to their campaigns . . . expected to be rewarded.”

City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu sent out a press release today blasting the actions of the Senate and Assembly.

“Extending tax breaks to super-luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan is wrongheaded and shows grossly misplaced priorities. It’s sad and outrageous that billionaires get huge subsidies while the Rent Guidelines Board considers significant rent increases for millions of New Yorkers. It’s especially galling that the tax abatement in question, called 421-a, was meant to promote construction of affordable housing,” Liu said in the release.

Source: whatleydude via Flickr

We all know that looking for new apartments is a horrible soul-deadening experience. Just ask Sheepshead Bites editor Ned Berke. Finding a decent new apartment is a maddening, expensive affair that usually ends with you crammed into a closet with three strange roommates who never clean out the drain in the bathtub. The task has proven especially difficult in recent years as the apartment vacancy rate has fallen to the lowest level since 2001, according to a report by WKZO.

Good apartments are always hard to find and with the economy being terrible for a long time now, more people than ever are renting instead of buying. While this has been a boon to those who own the apartment buildings, the bad economy, which has kept wages stagnant, might finally change the equation.

With people unable to keep up with the rate of inflation, landlords might finally be forced to cap their practice of raising rents every year as a matter of practice.

“At some point, you can’t keep pushing these rent increases on since the majority of the tenants, if they’re not getting income gains to keep up with that, it’s just not sustainable,” Reis economist Ryan Severino told WKZO.

As someone who is also looking for an affordable new apartment, writing all those words just made me sad.

Photo by Erica Sherman

With the cost of renting out storefront property perpetually on the rise across the city, it comes as no surprise that many local politicians are having trouble meeting the budget limitations set for their respective headquarter bases. State senators based in New York City are allotted $40,000 a year for rental expenditures, but many have gone over that line, according to a report in the New York Post.

One of the state senators marked for going over their rental budget allotment is our own Marty Golden who rang up a yearly rent bill of $48,000 for his Bay Ridge headquarters. Still, its hard to blame Marty when a typical small storefront property on Sheepshead Bay Road goes for more than $4,000 a month.

Golden isn’t the only local politician having trouble meeting the limit:

Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) paid $49,723 for his district office at 38-50 Bell Blvd. He insisted the Senate Republicans negotiated his lease — claiming he didn’t even know he was over the limit.

Even imprisoned ex-Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and indicted former Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) got in on the fun, despite having represented lower-rent neighborhoods, spending $45,000 and $47,452, respectively.

[Jeff] Klein cut his annual rent by $15,000 by leaving his East Tremont Avenue district office for the Hutchins Center, where he pays “market rate,” said spokesman Eric Soufer.

“Believe me, nobody comes to work for us because of the accommodations,” Soufer said. “I’ve had college dorm rooms that are bigger than our office.”

The problem politicians like Golden face is that they could rent cheaper space on higher levels in office buildings, but they would lose on-the-street contact and easy access to their constituents.

We put the question to our readers as to what is more important; paying extra to keep your local politicians closer to the ground and more accessible, or saving costs by pushing their headquarters into harder to access office spaces?

Source: Propertyshark via Gothamist

Gentrification is one of the most emotionally loaded words in Brooklyn. Some welcome it with open arms, embracing all the artisanal cheese and organic coffee shops left in its wake. Others detest it like a virus, decrying the loss of the “real” Brooklyn, horrified by the hipster harem left in its wake. Those less concerned with the culture wars point to the skyrocketing rents that uproot poorer and working class families out of their neighborhoods.

For those people, here’s the latest map confirming their suspicions. Provided by Propertyshark via Gothamist, the map outlines changing property values in Brooklyn from 2004 to 2012. Only residential properties were included in the analysis, measuring the values of single and two family homes, condos and co-ops.

The darker the red, the higher the jump in real estate prices. And them red parts are exactly where you’d expect them to be.

In Sheepshead Bay, there has been a 10 percent decline in property prices, a figure that puts it in the stagnant zone. Those worried about a hipster invasion in Sheepshead Bay can take comfort that they are not Williamsburg, which, unsurprisingly, has seen a whopping 174 percent increase in property prices.

Other areas surging with hipsters and high prices include Fort Greene (+51 percent), Gowanus (+52 percent) and Lefferts Garden (+63 percent). Southern Brooklyn’s very own Coney Island also saw a bump of 25 percent.

Not all of Brooklyn is so hot though. Cypress Hills saw a 30 percent drop in property prices while the supposedly up-and-coming Red Hook only saw a relatively stagnant 10 percent boost.

Of course, none of this is to say that Southern Brooklyn has cheap real estate. In fact, some of the largest residential deals have recently been in Gravesend and Manhattan Beach. But it does show that over the past eight years, home prices have stayed relatively stable, even through recession, while Northern Brooklyn developed, gentrified and saw dumpy commercial areas give way to so-called luxurious living.

Sheepshead Bay and its environs, though, remain the bastions of middle class families, with steady real estate prices and unflinching resolve in the face of the hipster hordes. We were here before they came, and we’ll be here when they go home to Arkantuckisconsin.

And, in case they get any ideas, here’s a reminder to our Northern Brooklyn neighbors: stay above the line.

New York City marshals evicted Paradise Garden Restaurant and Nightclub from the property at 2814 Emmons Avenue on Monday for failure to pay rent.

According to neighbors, the owners of the restaurant failed to pay rent and taxes for two years. The Marshal’s office was unable to confirm this information by press time due to a computer malfunction.

The property owner, Gennady Borokhovich, could not be reached for comment. Borokhovich himself is in hot water after being named in a Texas lawsuit for his alleged role in a mortgage fraud scheme in 2011.

Tuesday Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

A reader sent Sheepshead Bites the following letter this week:

I live in a two bedroom apartment in a Voorhies Avenue co-op. I wanted to discuss unfair rents where some people are charged $1,700 for a two bedroom, which is fair – a bit much, but fair – and others are charged up to $2,400. Let’s not forget the fact that the landlord (not the porter or the super) is lazy and won’t get anything done! He’s in it for the money – he owns half the building’s apartments!

The question basically is if it is okay for a landlord to charge $1,700 for a two bedroom apartment, and charge $2,400 for another, comparable apartment? In other words, is it legal to have such a large discrepancy in rent?

Well, is it? And what can you do if your landlord isn’t keeping up his side of the bargain? Find out.