Mayoral brawl over tax break for Soundview condo owners

Bronx condo owners to Mayor de Blasio: get over it.

That’s the message after the mayor called a recent specific legislative tax break for owners at a Soundview condominium a bad precedent.

Blasio said at a press conference that he was blindsided after learning that 204 homeowners in Sections Three and Four of the Harbour Pointe at Shorehaven development in Soundview would now be included in the state’s 421-a tax abatement program for homeowners.

The condo owners say that they were told they were going to be getting the abatements when they purchased their homes, but a foul up prompted many to miss out on the tax breaks for working class homeowners.

Legislation championed by Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo to specifically help the condo owners was included in the $138 billion state budget.

A brouhaha

According to a published report, the mayor said he felt that using the legislative process set a bad precedent. Another article quoted a Bloomberg administration official who said something similar in 2013.

Crespo said the legislation was necessary to bring these homeowners to parity with most of their complex neighbors who have been receiving the abatements for years.

“This is a very different situation…this wasn’t going to benefit the developer,” said Crespo. “The developer sold their property and don’t have any skin in the game in regard to this getting approved or not.”

“By extending the 421-a plan to all of the homeowners at Harbour Pointe, we were correcting an injustice,” said Klein. “People purchased these units with the understanding that they were covered under the program, only to find out that they weren’t eligible. Consequently, many of these homeowners faced profound financial hardship.”

Grateful homeowners

Alba Hernandez, who will now receive the tax abatement, said that while the mayor may have been blindsided, so was she, thinking she would receive the abatement when she first purchased her condo.

Richard Tyrell, a condo owner since 2009 who will now get the abatement, said he and his attorney were told at the condo closing that they would receive the abatement “shortly.”

“The bottom line is that we would not have bought that home if no abatement was offered,” he said, “because 99% of the people in there are working class people like myself.”

Responding to the “sweetheart deal” accusation, condo owner Andy Torres said the abatement will make it “much more feasible for me to afford to stay in the Bronx.”

The mayors office, as of press time, did not respond to a written request for comment.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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