However, the report suggests that these rededication plans only scratch the surface of what is possible. The Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group that covers the New York area, has proposed similar plans for affluent, passable enclaves in all counties that are more common with single-family houses and low-rise buildings. These include portions of Forest Hills in Queens, Midwood in Brooklyn, Riverdale in the Bronx, the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, and Grasmere in Staten Island.
The tendency has been to not bother with neighborhoods that can offer more resistance to new developments, said Moses Gates, vice president of the housing and neighborhood planning group. But the changing landscape, with several local politicians moving left on housing issues, could set a new standard.
“You can’t know there is opposition unless you try,” he said.
Convert empty hotels into affordable housing
The hotel industry is volatile, and the city could help convert a number of troubled hotels into apartments for very low-income New Yorkers.
Last week, hotel occupancy in New York City was below 34 percent after 91 percent in the same period last year, according to research company STR.
The strain has led some owners to consider sales that could convert the buildings into affordable housing for half the cost and significantly less time than new construction, said Brenda Rosen, president and chief executive officer of Breaking Ground, a nonprofit developer.
Ms. Rosen’s company is considering buying a large Times Square hotel that could create 600 units, two-thirds of which would become permanent single rooms. The rest is reserved as temporary accommodation for the homeless.
Before Covid hit the hospitality industry, “we couldn’t touch it,” she said of downtown Midtown pricing, but the company is currently in talks to pay less for the building than the current owner paid for it in 2013. The last time Breaking Ground could afford Manhattan Core Prices was in 1996 when it converted the Prince George Hotel into 416 supportive housing units, split between low-income adults and the ex-homeless.