Transfer Of Unused Air Rights

Published on March 10, 2020, 9:42 am
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Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the release of a citywide Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI # 110832) for applicants who are interested in purchasing unused development rights, aka “air rights,” from NYCHA. The RFEI is designed to provide more clarity and efficiency for determining sites with viable opportunities for transferring development rights by seeking to generate more revenue for capital repairs through the NYCHA 2.0 Transfer to Preserve (TTP) program.

Under that program, parties interested in applying to purchase unused NYCHA air rights must propose possible “as-of-right” zoning lot mergers to facilitate the transfer of development rights to neighboring privately-owned land in accordance with the current provisions of New York City’s Zoning Resolution. Once a viable proposal is identified and approved, the proceeds from the transfer are used to deliver renovations at the adjacent NYCHA development.

Where in prior years, NYCHA officials have typically vetted inquiries for utilizing air rights on an ad hoc basis, this RFEI will establish a new citywide clearing house for evaluating the feasibility of incoming air rights proposals. While this procedure will allow NYCHA officials to analyze a larger number of inquiries, the standard of significant resident engagement will still be maintained. That process involves early and continued briefings of TA leadership and area elected officials; ongoing discussions with residents on how best to use the proceeds generated from a sale; and dialogues with prospective purchasers on how the design and construction of their proposed projects will address the quality of life and safety concerns of NYCHA residents.

“The Transfer to Preserve program is a promising initiative that widens our ability to bring more comprehensive renovations to New Yorkers living in public housing,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “By explaining the process and clarifying the regulations to utilize NYCHA’s unused development rights, we make it easier to evaluate the best possible opportunities for improving the quality of life for NYCHA residents.”

“The Transfer to Preserve program is an important part of our strategy for finding new revenue sources for improving public housing and today’s announcement will help us better leverage the program,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “Expanding the ability of development partners to work with us in this way will allow us to identify the most impactful air rights proposals capable of delivering revenue for renovations across NYCHA’s housing stock.”

“NYCHA is committed to finding the best opportunities for bringing more renovations to more NYCHA campuses and this shift will allow us to identify the partnership prospects that offer the most value,” said NYCHA Real Estate SVP Jonathan Gouveia. “We will still bring the same due diligence, rigor, and engagement with residents that has always been a part of this process.”

Parties interested in submitting a proposal for utilizing the air rights from a NYCHA property can submit their preliminary questions in writing, via e-mail, to by April 01, 2020 and may attend a Pre-Submission Conference for more information on April 06, 2020 at 90 Church Street in downtown Manhattan.

NYCHA officials will provide answers to proposal questions to help further shape the development bids and will be reviewing submissions on a rolling basis from April 20 through July 31, 2020.

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to 1 in 17 New Yorkers, providing affordable housing to 528,105 authorized residents through public housing and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) programs as well as Section 8 housing. NYCHA has 177,569 apartments in 2,411 buildings across 335 conventional public housing and PACT developments. In addition, NYCHA connects residents to critical programs and services from external and internal partners, with a focus on economic opportunity, youth, seniors, and social services. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.

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