It’s been six years since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg first announced his New Housing Marketplace Plan (NHMP). Today, the $7.5 billion program seeks to create and preserve a total of 165,000 housing units. In December, the program passed the 82,500-unit threshold.
“New York’s commitment to affordable housing is unshakable, and I believe it is essential to our recovery and our future,” Bloomberg said, outlining a plan to juice up the NHMP by dispersing $2 million in grants to not-for-profit foreclosure and mortgage counseling servicers; earmarking $24 million to purchase foreclosed properties for affordable preservation; and extending the NHMP by up to one year.
Despite the NHMP’s brisk pace, affordable housing advocates remain upbeat. “Housing development always lags behind target dates, and it is extraordinary that the city has been as on time as it has,” says Ted Houghton, executive director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
Still, some developers think the NHMP may face problems as distressed assets come into play. Several affordable players point to Tishman Speyer’s acquisition of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village as an example of large-scale housing that might come back online—a Citigroup analysis last fall suggested that funds from operations on the properties were not enough to pay interest payments on the complex’s mortgage, although a reserve of about $400 million could service the remaining debt until 2011. Tishman Speyer declined to comment.
Despite this, “for better or for worse, there is an endless demand for affordable housing in New York City,” says Ken Olson, CEO of New York City-based affordable housing developer POKO Partners and a member of the executive committee at the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “We’re huge fans of the mayor’s program—165,000 units? We’d like to build all of them.”