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Mayor Announces Six Neighborhoods With Mandatory Affordable Housing

By  Jeff Mays and Ben Fractenberg | February 3, 2015 11:25am 

 Bill de Blasio gave his second State of the City address on Feb. 3, 2015.
Bill de Blasio gave his second State of the City address on Feb. 3, 2015.
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NEW YORK CITY — The mayor announced an ambitious affordable housing plan during his State of the City speech, complete with 80,000 new units by 2024 and six neighborhoods where developers will be required to build affordable units.

In the speech, the mayor took aim at predatory landlords and developers who were cut breaks in the past for building nothing but luxury housing, pushing out lower-income New Yorkers.

Among the plans are for free legal representation for tenants in rezoned neighborhoods facing landlord harassment and housing and working space for artists.

The neighborhoods that will have new mandatory affordable housing requirements will be East New York, Long Island City, the Jerome Avenue Corridor in The Bronx, Flushing West and the Bay Street Corridor in Staten Island. 

"Part of the problem is that the city has for decades let developers write their own rules when it came to building housing.  Sometimes projects included affordable housing…but far too often, they did not," de Blasio said.

"That meant a bias towards luxury housing — units that fetched top dollar, but were entirely out of reach for most New Yorkers…multi-million dollar homes that drove up rents in the neighborhoods they occupied — all without a corresponding menu of affordable new options."

The new policy will require new housing built in rezoned areas to include affordable units. The first rezoning plans will begin this spring. 

The city will also invest $30 million to create 1,500 affordable living and work spaces for artists by the end of the decade, the mayor announced.

There will also be 500 below-market artist workspaces in city-owned buildings, according to de Blasio, and the city will work with housing agencies and philanthropies to create additional units. 

"We know that New York is the city it is today in part because of the contributions from generations of artistic visionaries who at one point struggled to make ends meet," the mayor said. 

"These folks bring joy to everyday New Yorkers and inspire young people to pursue their natural talents in professions that often don’t promise a big paycheck.  They also help make our city a mecca for tourists, and are one of the reasons why a record number of people  — 56.4 million — visited New York last year."

The mayor also announced expanded ferry service to Rockaway, Astoria, The Bronx and South Brooklyn.