NYC

Lowest stabilized rent increase in decade infuriates landlords, tenants

Rent Guidelines Board Chairman Jonathan Kimmel (credit: DNAinfo)

The Rent Guidelines Board voted last night on the lowest rent increases for the city’s 1 million-plus stabilized rent units since 2002, the New York Daily News reported, and no one’s happy. Landlords claimed the increase, totaling 2 percent for one-year leases and 4 percent for two-year leases, wouldn’t cover rising costs and property taxes. But tenants advocates argued that any increase was unaffordable considering the current economic climate.

Landlord representatives wanted 5 percent and 9 percent increases as property taxes rose 7.5 percent in the last year. Joe Strasburg, president of the landlord’s Rent Stabilization Association group, said the inadequate increases would hurt small property owners, in particular, as many of those buildings are exclusively rented to stabilized renters that already pay well below market rate.

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New York Restores Apparel Sales-Tax Break on Items Under $110

By Elizabeth Ody – Mar 28, 2012 2:04 PM ET

Those shoes you’ve been eyeing at DSW Inc. (DSW) will cost you less starting April 1 when New York state raises the sales-tax exemption to $110 for clothing and footwear purchases.

Shoppers will get a break from the 4 percent state sales tax as well as a 0.375 percent Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District tax. In New York City, purchases under $110 have already been exempt from the city’s own 4.5 percent sales tax which makes a total of 8.875 percent or about $8.88 in savings on a $100 item.

“You can’t split a suit in half,” to meet the exemption, said Wayne Berkowitz, a partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group with Berdon LLP in New York. “If you’re buying five items and they’re all under-$110 items, you’re good.”

The full tax exemption returns after a more than one-year hiatus when it was amended to help close a state budget shortfall. From October 2010 to March 2011 there was no relief from the state sales tax or the commuter surcharge. Those breaks returned for items of less than $55 in price from April 2011 through March.

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Co-op / Condo Group Sets Rally to Support Tax-Fairness Bill

Tax Revolt 2012:  By Frank Lovece

It’s a rite of spring, but this year the composer is Stavisky, not Stravinsky. With the New York City Department of Finance issuing its annual property-tax assessments, State Senator Toby Anne Stavisky is again attempting to level the playing field for co-ops and condos. A Queens activist group has thrown its weight behind the measure — urging board members from all boroughs to join in supporting a law to treat co-ops and condos like residential property, and not, as now, higher-taxed commercial real estate.
March 30, 2012 — The value of your co-op or condo is flat compared to last year. It might even be down. In fact, unless yours is one of those multimillion-dollar apartments that always seem to flip for millions more, your place almost certainly hasn’t seen any great increase in its value.Which makes 20- to 50-percent increases, which Bob Friedrich of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council (PCCC) says the New York City tax department is assessing several Queens co-ops / condos this year, all the more difficult to understand.Except, not really. But whether it’s fair or not is another story.

“It’s counterintuitive that a condo unit you bought for 10 percent more than you could sell it for today has gone up in value,” admits Dept. of Finance spokesman Owen Stone. “But if the rental market is moving up, you’re still going see an increase in the value of your home.”

When a Home Is Not a Home

By “home” he means “co-op or condo,” not single- and two-family homes and townhouses. That’s because under New York State’s Real Property Tax Law Section 581, co-ops and condos are assessed as if they were “comparable” income-producing commercial properties — i.e., rental buildings. And rents generally tend to go up, regardless of what the sales market does.

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Whole Foods, Brooklyn – City Council voting starts soon..

Whole Foods Market Inc. faces a series of City Council votes starting next week to win final approval for construction of a 52,000-square-foot supermarket next to a 140-year-old landmark in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

COIGNET

Eric Haugesag for The Wall Street JournalThe Coignet building today next to the planned Whole Foods grocery site

The new store is planned to wrap around two sides of the vacant Coignet building, the city’s earliest known concrete building, at the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street. After expected council approvals, the grocery chain would be allowed within five feet of the old building and wants to have its first Brooklyn store open in 2013.

Built in 1872 for the New York & Long Island Coignet Stone Co., the 2½-story building is the sole survivor of a five-acre industrial park built along the Gowanus Canal in the early 1870s.

The elegant Italianite mansion provided office space for Coignet and subsequent companies, including its longest-running tenant, the Brooklyn Improvement Co., from which Coignet leased the land for its stone works.

“It’s a lonely little building,” said Jennifer Gardner, a researcher at the Gowanus Institute, a local think tank. “To some degree, the plans for that site will limit the opportunity for the [Coignet] building, but also provides a potential draw for people to see it and appreciate it in a different way.”

The building received city landmark status in 2006. Two City Council panels overseeing landmarks and planning will vote next week on whether to reduce the Coignet building’s lot size to about 1,720 square feet from 6,250 square feet, a measure that’s already been passed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. If approved, a full City Council vote on the measure is slated for April 18.

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CIM, Macklowe submit plans for city’s tallest residential tower

March 29, 2012 06:30PM

Charles Garner, principal at CIM, and the proposed tower at 440 Park Avenue (center)

CIM Group and New York developer Harry Macklowe are making strides toward building the tallest residential building in New York City at the Drake Hotel site at 440 Park Avenue. They filed a plan examination request for the building, one of the first steps towards getting a development off the ground, with the Department of Buildings, according to a DOB filing dated March 26.

The California-based real estate investment trust filed its plans for an 82-story condominium tower for review to DOB, which will check if its plans are in compliance with building code, a DOB spokesperson confirmed, saying an examiner had not yet reviewed the filing. The filing cites the height of the building as 1,397 feet in total, which would make it the tallest residential building in the city; for comparison’s sake, One57, Extell Development’s planned condo tower on 57th Street will be 1,004 feet tall upon completion in 2013 and the Empire State Building, the tallest structure in the city, is 1,453 feet in height.

As previously reported, CIM, (which acquired the site for $305 million last year), and Macklowe plan to erect a slim condo and retail complex designed by Uruguayan-born architect Rafael Vinoly at the site. It is slated to have 128 units and 12-foot high ceilings. The $1 billion project will include a 5,000-square-foot driveway, golf training facilities and private dining and screening rooms, according to previous reports.

Neither CIM nor Macklowe immediately responded to requests for comment.
— Katherine Clarke

LaGuardia Terminal Update Sought

By ANDREW GROSSMAN (WSJ)

[010612laguardia] Bloomberg NewsTravelers wait to check in at the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in 2010. The Port Authority is planning to begin construction on a new terminal in 2014.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is eyeing a 2014 start to construction of a replacement for the cramped, outdated Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport.

The authority is seeking proposals from private terminal operators, bankers and consultants to finance, design and build a replacement terminal, according to a request for information issued quietly last month.

NYLAGUARDIAmap

Plans are still tentative, and construction might not start by 2014. But the request for information is one of the most concrete steps yet toward replacing the terminal.

“I think the schedule is our best estimate to how the transaction or transactions could fall into place,” said Patrick Foye, the Port Authority’s executive director. “Obviously we’re going to be driven by the suggestions that come in from industry partners.”

The schedule calls for construction to be completed by the end of 2021 at a cost of about $3.6 billion.

Full Article Here: Via WSJ

NJ State Leads Nation in Down-Payment Size

BUYERS in New Jersey have the highest down-payment rate in the country, putting down an average 13.71 percent of the purchase price, according to a new report from LendingTree. That surpasses percentages in cities like Washington, and states like New York, Hawaii and California, though only by tenths of a point. In New York, the average down payment works out to 13.47 percent. The national average is 12.24 percent, for the year ending in November.

Of course, very few borrowers pay the average percentage, which is computed by figuring out the average down payment on conventional loans made by banks and government-insured Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loans, which have down payment minimums of 3.5 percent.

Countrywide, about a quarter of all mortgage loans are government-backed, according to lending specialists.

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