Good news from oppostive ends of the income divide.
As we reported last week, and The New York Times followed up on this week, there are finally signs that the market for ridiculously tall, ridiculously expensive superscrapers is slowing. CityRealty, the real estate data firm, says sales at the ultra high end are slowing as the China economy sputters and regulators crack down on the use of the buildings as super-sized money-laundering machines. Two of our elected officials deserve credit: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has focused people’s attention on the role of anonymous real estate deals in terrorism financing and tax evasion, and Councilmember Ben Kallos led the fight against a skyscraper in Sutton Place on the Upper East Side. That deal fell apart after the developer behind the scheme scuttled into bankruptcy.
These types of skyscrapers weren’t just a blight on the skyline, though they are that. They also represent the hallowing out of our city, as neighborhood housing is replaced by lairs for anonymous outsiders. We’re happy to see things slow down.
We’re also happy to finally see some progress on affordable housing in the city. The City Council is expected to vote next week on a plan that would require many developers who want approval for their projects to include affordable units in their plans. The proposal has been sidetracked by an argument over what klind of rent constitutes affordable and what level of income qualifies.
A deal now seems in the offing, not a minute too soon. Finally, we can point to a week of progress in the housing crisis plaguing our city. Neither development will solve our deep divide, which is years in the making. But they mark a beginning.