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Albany Passes 50-Year Tax Break for Penn South Complex

By Mathew Katz | June 20, 2014 12:10pm | Updated on June 23, 2014 8:43am
 Penn South provides affordable housing to tenants in its 2,820 units.
Penn South provides affordable housing to tenants in its 2,820 units.
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CHELSEA — Lawmakers in Albany passed a bill on Thursday that will exempt the middle-income Penn South co-op from paying property taxes for the next 50 years.

The law will renew the tax break to the 2,820-unit development — which spans from West 23rd to West 29th streets, between Eighth and Ninth avenues — allowing the complex to remain affordable.

The law, sponsored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and state Sen. Brad Hoylman, will allow the co-op to continue offering below-market-rate apartments in an area where real estate prices have skyrocketed.

“Penn South is a critical oasis of affordable housing in our rapidly changing Chelsea neighborhood, where stratospheric real estate prices have forced many longtime residents to relocate," Hoylman said in a statement. "This legislation paves the way for Penn South to remain affordable for current and future generations of middle-class New Yorkers."

Residents of the 15-tower complex, which opened in 1962, pay relatively low maintenance charges after they buy a share in the co-op, with some tenants paying as little at $350 a month for a studio. The wait for an apartment there can take years. 

"This legislation will enable almost 3,000 households, including seniors on fixed incomes, to afford to stay in their homes, and contribute to the economic and cultural development of Chelsea," Gottfried said.

The two lawmakers worked closely with the de Blasio administration to continue the tax exemption, which will now require City Council approval. 

“The passage of this important legislation permits Penn South, a middle-income housing development, to continue its mission to provide affordable housing, as it has done successfully since 1962," said Brendan Keany, Penn South's general manager, in a statement. "We hope to continue to do so for decades to come.”