Developers Scramble to Beat 421-a Changes

Mr. Lopez, who didn’t respond to an interview request, submitted a bill in February that would apply the tax abatement—which is worth as much as $200,000 per unit for its duration—only to buildings with 30 percent low-income housing, no matter where in the city it was built. However, more conservative legislators, especially in the Senate, are pushing back with the aid of the Bloomberg administration and the real-estate industry, arguing that such onerous conditions will force developers to invest only in market-rate housing in no-risk, expensive neighborhoods.

“We could have a great bill, but at the end of the day, if no one will build affordable housing, what do we do?” said State Senator Martin Golden, a Republican who represents southern Brooklyn and who is expected to submit an alternative to Mr. Lopez’s bill in the coming days. “We will hopefully come up with the bill that is acceptable to the city and all the parties.”

The end result, which would have to come before the Legislature adjourns June 21, may well enlarge the so-called exclusion zone—the area where affordable housing is required in order to receive the tax break—beyond the boundaries drawn by the City Council in December, but not to the edges of the city, as Mr. Lopez would prefer.

“I spoke with Vito this morning, and I can tell you that much is in negotiation,” said State Senator Serphin Maltese, a Democrat from central Queens and the sponsor of Mr. Lopez’s bill in the Senate. “The Mayor, I know, has his point of view, but we feel we should spread it out more.”