Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio negotiated a deal for more affordable housing at the planned Domino Sugar redevelopment site in Brooklyn, and now, the deal has been tweaked again to guarantee even more affordability, only this time, city taxpayers will be helping to pay for it. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Under a hard-fought deal struck by the de Blasio administration and approved last month by the City Planning Commission, plans for the old Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg would include 537,000 square feet of affordable housing, about 25 percent of the projects total floor area.
However, negotiations weren't finished just yet. Concerned with just how affordable the housing might be, the City Council has won a commitment that tenants will average less than 70 percent of area median income.
"It means that the apartments will be affordable to people making lower incomes in the range of a family of four making $40- or $50- or $60,000 a year," said City Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn.
"If you look at projects around Williamsburg, if you look at projects around Bushwick, this is a really deep level of affordability," said David Lombino of Two Trees Management. "It's something we're proud of. It's something that is a significant concession."
The modified deal won approval from two key City Council committees Thursday, clearing a path for the $1.5 billion project, which will also include offices and park space. In another concession, the community will also have more input into how public space is used.
However, where the city had previously committed no public subsidy to the project, that now has changed. Under the new deal, the city will help guarantee the new affordability standard, possibly in the form of tax-exempt financing.
"We have the administration guaranteeing that if needed, they will come in and they will bring these subsidies in to make sure that we have a guaranteed level of affordability," said City Councilman David Greenfield of Brooklyn. "And that's not something that the developer, obviously, could offer."
The deal now goes to a vote next week by the full City Council, where passage is all but assured. The developer, meanwhile, which has been busy with site preparation, said it'll break ground on the first building at Domino this December.