Housing News Roundup: May 6, 2015
S.F. Giants Plan 1/3 Below-Market Housing in New Waterfront Development
The San Francisco Giants want to bring affordable housing to the Bay Area — contingent on a ballot measure set for November. The baseball team, which has long planned a mixed-use development on the waterfront across from AT&T Park, has announced that one-third of the planned 1,500 housing units will be sold at below-market-rates (up from previous estimates). Residents will be joined by commercial space and parkland. The 28-acre area is currently a parking lot. “Our first objective was that this project be an asset to the neighborhood,” said Jack Bair, general counsel and SVP for the Giants. “The whole neighborhood planning process didn’t focus on the Giants fan. It focused on the neighbor and what they wanted to see.”
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Report: Pittsburgh Needs 21,000 Affordable Housing Units
Pittsburgh is desperately in need of 21,000 units of affordable housing, defined as affordable for a family of four with an annual income of $24,000. According to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, more than 30,000 people in Allegheny County live in homes they can’t afford. Most of these residents also put more than half of their income to housing, leaving them at risk for eviction and homelessness. Robert Damewood, of Regional Housing Legal Services, who prepared the report, recommends that the city enacts inclusionary zoning regulations. “There are 500 inclusionary zoning laws around the country,” he said. “There’s no reason why Pittsburgh shouldn’t be able to design one.”
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Government’s (Potential) Role in Reversing Income Inequality
There’s no question that income inequality is a growing problem in America. The debate is over how best to address it. According to Joseph E. Stiglitz, author and Nobel laureate in economics, the solution may be for the government to step in and craft new laws and regulations that could narrow the divide. “We have been consistently weakening workers’ bargaining position,” said Stiglitz. “We are creating a legal framework for rules that lock in inequality.”
Source: New York Times
How to Save Portland, Ore., from Urban Sprawl
One developer is looking to models such as New York City’s Gramercy Park for inspiration on how to prepare Portland, Ore., for an expected population boom. Architect Rick Potestio recommends organizing new housing around local common areas such as schools, playgrounds or parks. A variety of housing types would ensure diverse options for everyone who’d want to live in the community, without the compacted feel that comes with normal urban sprawl. He admits that much work would be needed to put the plan in place, but that “the alternatives — sprawl, gentrification, and a loss of Portland’s treasured character — are far more ominous.” Experts predict the city will add another 750,000 residents by 2050.
Dueling Efforts to Help Low-Income Earners in NYC
One New York City effort to improve the lives of low-income workers could be placing another such effort at risk. State legislators are currently considering renewing the 421-a tax abatement that has promoted the development of more than 70,000 affordable housing units over the past 30 years. However, attaching prevailing wage requirements to the projects could mean higher costs, fewer jobs and far less affordable housing.
Source: New York Daily News