A major developer announced plans to demolish four properties in Mott Haven to construct two apartment rental towers, using a newly resurrected state tax exemption program.
The $160 million project is being funded by TreeTop Development, based out of Teaneck, NJ, which owns properties across the city, as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The project consists of two 12-story apartment buildings that will total about 360,000-square-feet – a roughly 260,000-square-foot residential rental building with ground-floor retail space, and an approximately 100,000-square-foot rental property directly across the street.
The development will be a mix of market-rate and affordable units.
Construction will begin by the end of 2017, according to Ryan Smith of Beckerman Public Relations, the developer’s publicist.
The project’s assemblage includes three adjacent properties on the west side of Gerard Avenue between East 144th and East 146th Street, along with a corner property across from it at 125 E. 144th Street.
The project is just east of the Major Deegan Expressway, in an area populated by warehouses.
Some of the properties were vacant, while the rest have made plans to relocate their businesses.
“We believe that this underutilized land is primed to be put to use for development of high-quality housing that is currently lacking for middle-income residents in the neighborhood,” said Azi Mandel, co-founder and managing partner of Treetop Development.
The developer intends to take advantage of the just-renewed 421-a state tax incentive program, which is available for new housing developments with three or more units, located on sites that were vacant, underutilized, or had a “nonconforming” zoning use.
Under the program, owners are exempt from paying the increase in property taxes that results from the new construction for a period of years.
The updated program is operating under the moniker of Affordable New York, and now includes wage requirements for construction workers on certain projects.
Governor Cuomo announced the program’s renewal as part of the 2018 fiscal budget on Monday, April 10.
Under the revived program, developers of new residential projects with 300 units or more in designated areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens would be eligible for a full property tax abatement for 35 years if the project creates a specific number of affordable units and meets the new wage requirements.
The units must remain affordable for 40 years to reap the total tax benefits.
For all other affordable developments in New York City, tax exemption eligibility would be tied to the number of affordable units. The new program is expected to create an estimated 2,500 new units of affordable housing per year, according to the Governor’s office.
“We’re excited about the return of the city’s 421a program, which will further solidify our development plans, and help the neighborhood realize its potential much quicker,” Mandel said.
The south Bronx has seen an enormous surge in private and public development over the past year, as available land for development in Manhattan and Brooklyn becomes scarce and unaffordable.
The push has also sparked fears of gentrification – the New York Times named the south Bronx as one of its places to visit for 2017, but then drew the ire of longtime residents for mentioning just trendy new businesses.