Quinn, Palma To Introduce 421-a Reform Bills

57536627%5B1%5D Quinn, Palma To Introduce 421 a Reform Bills
Quinn gets Bloomberg’s 421-a support.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told Council members on Tuesday she would introduce a 421-a reform bill Wednesday that would favor affordable housing advocates over real estate interests but that would not go as far as the Block of 22 (originally 19) that announced its plan a week ago.

The details, according to a memo provided to The Real Estate, calls for many of the changes the Mayor already supports, but with a larger exclusion zone (more of Harlem and Brooklyn) in which new apartment buildings would not get automatic tax breaks, and a lower value cap of eligible new units ($650,000 instead of the Mayor’s $1 million). Buildings in the exclusion zone would qualify for limited tax breaks if 20 percent of their units were priced for low- and moderate-income households.

In other words, in Quinn’s world, a new $500,000 condo in Flushing would still qualify for property tax abatements, but the breaks would only apply to the first $650,000 of a million-dollar condo. According to the Block of 22, neither condo would get a break unless their buildings included 30 percent affordable housing.

In other words, in Quinn’s world, a new $500,000 condo in Flushing would still qualify for property tax abatements, but the breaks would only apply to the first $650,000 of a million-dollar condo.

Quinn’s exclusion zone, according to one City Council source, looked gerrymandered, intended to appeal or pick off certain City Council members who wanted to have their neighborhoods included. Bushwick–home of state Assembly Member Vito Lopez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna, for example–was included, even though it is not as well-off as some other parts of the city that would be left out of the exclusion zone.

The Mayor put out a statement saying he supported Quinn’s bill at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Block of 22 is still planning to introduce its own bill also, sponsored by Bronx Democrat Annabel Palma, creating a rare challenge to the Speaker. Plus, Joel Rivera, another Bronx Democrat, was also reportedly crafting a bill that is even more developer-friendly than the Mayor’s, which came out last month.

“The relationship with the Speaker on this when she started calling members in was never, ‘Don’t introduce this bill,’” said Jesse Dixon, chief of staff to Palma. That said, he added, “We haven’t had this type of contentious a situation with this Speaker yet, so no one knows what to expect.”

- Matthew Schuerman

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated how a million-dollar condo in Flushing would be treated.