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Some NYC Developers Put Construction Projects on Hold Despite Being Essential

Posted by Melvin Monachan | May 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

As NYC grapples with the enormous impact of COVID-19, many construction projects have been put on pause for a while. After all, Gov. Cuomo has only permitted certain projects to keep going in the wake of the pandemic, with the construction of essential buildings being allowed to continue. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are continuing as planned since some developers in NYC are wary of putting workers at risk. Here's the latest update about essential construction projects—including affordable housing—during the pandemic.

Which Projects Are Essential?

Throughout the pandemic, it's been unclear which construction projects can continue. At first, Gov. Cuomo declared all construction essential, so they could continue despite most other industries shutting down. He changed this in late March, though, when he declared some exceptions to the rule. For example, construction workers could keep working on homeless shelters, hospitals, certain infrastructure projects, and affordable housing in NYC.

As a result, hundreds of buildings with affordable housing have been under construction. That's good since NYC housing experts have suggested people will need affordable homes more than ever later this year. After all, many residents aren't able to pay their rent right now, causing them to take part in a rent strike. Though evictions have been suspended for now, landlords will be allowed to proceed with evictions toward the end of summer, which will leave a lot of people looking for inexpensive places to live.

So the idea of more affordable housing getting built gives hope to many. But at the same time, the construction process itself has some NYC developers and construction workers feeling worried about their own safety during this pandemic.

Concerns During Construction

Even though Gov. Cuomo has given the go-ahead for essential construction projects to continue in NYC, not all developers are on board with this plan. In fact, construction on about 28 affordable housing projects in New York City has been paused, for now, as the developers in charge are worried about the health and safety of their workers.

Of course, the construction teams that are continuing with their work are taking precautions to keep everyone safe. For example, the size of their teams has been scaled down to less than a dozen at a time so workers can stay at least six feet away from each other on the job. In addition, they have to wear protective equipment, such as masks, and have their temperature taken every morning before they begin work. Their worksites are also heavily sanitized.

Despite all these precautions being taken, some local politicians believe too many construction projects have been deemed essential, so they want to reduce that number. After all, an affordable housing building only needs to have 20% of its units considered affordable to qualify as essential. That means 80% are at the regular market rate. Some believe only buildings with 80% to 100% affordable units should continue construction, but that's unlikely to happen considering New York just recently adjusted the guidelines so projects with even fewer affordable units could be declared essential.

As you continue to look for updates on housing in NYC, make sure you hire a real estate lawyer before you buy, sell, or rent in this city so you can get the legal guidance you need. Contact a Great Neck NY real estate attorney today for an initial consultation to find out more.

About the Author

Melvin Monachan

Melvin Monachan is the founder of The Law Office of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, a full service, real estate law firm representing individuals, investors and corporate entities in all aspects of real estate law. On the transactional side, Melvin represents purchasers and...


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