527 Cities that Experienced Home Value Declines of 10% or More Now at or Close to Peak, According to Q1 Zillow Real Estate Market Reports; Affordability Problems Could Spread as Interest Rates Rise -U.S. home values climbed 5.7 percent year-over year…
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For the first time in 40 years, Ridgewood Queens may have one of its manufacturing areas rezoned for residential use.
At a packed Land Use committee meeting on Myrtle Avenue, Community Board 5 members heard from the public, contractors, developers and the owner of the lot. With about a block and a half being rezoned for the developers needs.
At the end of the meeting, the committee voted in favor of recommending the rezoning. Two days later, at a full CB5 board meeting at Christ The King high school, the rezoning proposal was approved. A city Planning Commission meeting on April 24, (10:30 at Borough Hall, 2nd floor) will be the next stop for the proposal.
Some residents, worried about the eyesore the property has become since City Brothers lost their license to operate their waste removal business from the site, are very much in favor of the development.
Arguing that prostitution combined with poor law enforcement have made the area a dangerous corridor that attracts crime, at the land use committee meeting they suggested that the new building would put an end to criminal activity on the street.
They further noted that the landlord has promised to make the apartments "rent stabilized."
At the land use CB5 meeting, several members of the development team suggested there was, "no plan B"---either a lie or misstatement easily proven by a check of the EAS application. (e.g.,the backup plan includes commercial space)
Other local residents, including Trinidad who lives down the block from the development and spoke against the rezoning at the committee meeting, are worried the pricetag attached to the apartments may push out current residents as other landlords bump up the price on their own properties. In fact, history has shown as property values increase, so do property taxes on smaller (non-subsidy-receiving) landlords, thus forcing them to bump up rents, whether they want to or not, on their own tenants simply to keep up with the bills.
The rezoning proposal now goes to a city Planning Commission meeting this Thursday, April 24. The rezoning has pitted several interests in the community in an ever-more-vocal rumble over how the Greater Ridgewood area (Bushwick, Ridgewood, Glendale) will be defined as the pressure of gentrification not only pushes out low and middle-income neighbors but also many of the job-creating manufacturing and medium-income commercial firms in the neighborhood. Further exacerbating the fight is the reality that the area is one of the last pockets for New York City's massive service worker population, many of whom work for a minimum wage that would price them out of housing like the one proposed for the site at 176 Woodward Avenue.
If you live in the neighborhood and have an opinion on this rezoning, you can contact City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who ultimately has the final say over whether the rezoning will be approved.
Earlier this month, leaders from the New York Senate and the Assembly joined fast food workers outside a McDonald’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan to demand that the $8 minimum wage being paid to workers in the state be raised. New York State recently…
New York has a new mayor who wants to remake his deeply unequal city into much more than a playground for the super-rich. The experts who track global wealth trends think he’ll fail.
A recent report from Knight Frank, a global consultancy firm, is predicting that by the year 2024, New York will replace London as the mega-wealthy’s top go-to urban destination.
That turn of events would certainly please Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire predecessor of new New York mayor Bill de Blasio. The more billionaires New York attracts, Bloombergpronounced last year, the better.
“We want the richest people to come here and patronize our stores and live here and bring their businesses here and pay their taxes here,” Bloomberg opined. “And that does create a greater income disparity, but that’s also where the tax base comes from to fix the school systems, which will eventually help those people who are struggling get up the ladder.”
Current London mayor Boris Johnson feels the same way. London hosts more millionaire fortunes than any other city, and Johnson wants to hang on to that distinction. The super-rich, he said last November, deserve “our humble and hearty thanks.”
If the rich didn’t “employ eau de cologne-dabbers,” Johnson added, ordinary families “might otherwise find themselves without a breadwinner.”
Johnson and Bloomberg believe that billionaires bring cities cash, cachet, and culture. Mayors should cater to them. But not every observer of our urban scene agrees. Cities that lay out the welcome mat for the super rich, these skeptics note, are dooming their non-rich to chronic aggravation.
Any city “in thrall to money and greed,” as one British newspaper recently editorialized, is inviting “nightmarish consequences” that range from wildly inflated housing costs to municipal corruption.
These consequences show up most clearly in London. The city has become a “honeypot for global capital,” says architect Peter Murray. In 2012 alone, London gulped down $8.3 billion in new luxury home investment. A mere four-bedroom apartment in one of London’s new luxury towers is now listing for nearly $32.5 million.
Bidding wars for properties like this are driving up housing prices throughout London. TheFinancial Times reports that a quarter of the city’s neighborhoods have become unaffordable even for income-earners who make it into Britain’s most affluent 5 percent.
Workers who service the city’s wealthy have things much worse. Many have had to go so far outside London to find affordable housing that they’re now commuting two hours each way to get to work.
But the global ultra-rich don’t just drive prices up. In the cities they invade, they suck the vitality out. These rich people don’t actually live in the lush condos they buy. They only visit them. Billionaires on average, the Swiss bank UBS reports, own four homes. They spend their year skipping from one to another, when they aren’t staying in hotels. In London, entire neighborhoods can seem deserted.
And in this London of the rich, the creatives who do so much to give urban spaces their cultural vitality have less and less place. Developers recently converted one old London factory that had been home to 400 artist studios into luxury apartments.
But what about Bloomberg’s claim that the taxes the rich pay offset any negatives from the inequality their presence creates?
That claim might hold some water if the rich were pulling their tax weight. In New York, theyaren’t. In 2010, the city’s top 1 percent — taxpayers making at least $493,579 — grabbed over a third of the city’s income, 33.8 percent, but accounted for only a quarter, 25.2 percent, of city tax revenue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to raise the taxes rich New Yorkers pay. But he’s getting intense pushback from local powerbrokers. They’re arguing that any tax hike would have the ultra-rich departing New York in droves.
Maybe New York should let them go.
This article was originally published via OtherWords.
OtherWords columnist Sam Pizzigati, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow, edits the inequality weekly Too Much. His latest book is The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class. OtherWords.org