Council Appears Poised to Vote on SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Plan Today, December 9, as New Financial Analysis Shows Fatal Flaws in Affordable Housing Claims

After several delays, the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee and Land Use Committee appear poised to vote on the massive SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning + Displacement plan today starting at approximately 11:30 am. There has been no public word on what if any changes the Council may make to the plan, though we have good reason to believe they will be small changes designed to sound like they address some of the key issues we have been raising, without substantively changing much. If this is the case, it will result in new zoning that is demonstrably worse than the existing (imperfect) zoning. It will also encourage massive overdevelopment; big-box chain-store proliferation; destruction of historic buildings and existing affordable rent-regulated housing and displacement of long-term lower-income rent-regulated, senior, artist, and Asian American resident; and the construction of huge amounts of office space, hotels, NYU dorms and other private university facilities, and luxury condos and residences with few if any “affordable” units (which would, for the most part, be more expensive than the rent-regulated housing they destroy, and require incomes higher than that of those they displace). 

Edison Parking Lot at Lafayette and Great Jones
Edison Parking Lot at Lafayette and Great Jones

This comes as Village Preservation performed a financial analysis that quantitatively shows why this plan will produce little or no affordable housing. Using the large Edison Parking Lot at Lafayette and Great Jones Street as a model, we calculated the 10-year internal rate of return (IRR) from developing a residential building with affordable units, as the City claims will happen here and on scores of other sites, and compared it to the IRR for the many other kinds of developments allowed under the rezoning with no affordable housing. We found that the NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING development generated twice the IRR of the version WITH affordable housing, illustrating why it is a farce for the City and rezoning proponents to claim that this plan will generate any significant affordable housing, and is anything other than a giant giveaway to developers.  

After votes in the Zoning Subcommittee and Land Use Committee, the proposal would go to the full Council for a vote, which is likely to take place the week of December 13, and must occur before the end of the year. If this plan is approved, advocates have made clear they see it as a template for similar rezonings across New York City.


Call your Councilmember and tell them to vote NO. Tell them the changes to the plan being contemplated aren’t enough, the plan needs to be scrapped and begun again. 

Call City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and urge him NOT to support this deal in ANY form: 212-564-7757 and 212-788-7210.

For more information + resources, CLICK HERE.
December 8, 2021