New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

The Real Deal

The Real Deal NYCHA’s private lifeline by Konrad Putzier

NYCHA’s private lifeline

Local City Council member Ben Kallos claimed Fetner plans to cluster the affordable apartments on lower floors and reserve the upper flowers for higher-paying tenants. But representatives for Fetner and NYCHA deny that.

Kallos said he would support the infill program only if it was fully affordable and argued that the $25 million Fetner paid the agency for the land was far too low. “It would be a violation of anyone’s fiduciary duty at a company to sell off all of your assets, leaving you without the money you need to maintain your existing properties and no plan to get out of it,” he said. “There are some apartments in my district that cost $25 million,” the council member added.

The Real Deal The latest fight to build a supertall on Sutton Place heats up by Kathryn Brenzel

The latest fight to build a supertall on Sutton Place heats up

Meanwhile, ERFA proposed its rezoning plan to limit the heights of buildings and create a new inclusionary housing zone that would allow developers to build up to 350 feet if they include affordable units in their projects. The proposal has garnered the support of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council members Dan Garodnick and Ben Kallos and state Sen. Liz Krueger, but it has not yet received the crucial approval from City Planning.

Kallos, who helped co-found ERFA, said the group is made up of more than 2,000 people across 45 buildings in the area. The Council member said the rezoning effort is spurred by the fact that construction in his district is rampant and residents are seeing very little affordable housing created in the area.

 "You can literally walk anywhere in my district and see one construction site from another construction site,” said Kallos, who told TRD that he wanted to step in to prevent “another 432 Park Avenue” from towering over the city. “People in my district are getting development fatigue.”

 

The Real Deal Community Group Pushes to Cap Sutton Place Building Heights at 25 Stories by Miriam Hall

Community Group Pushes to Cap Sutton Place Building Heights at 25 Stories

A Sutton Place community group working to curb supertalls in the neighborhood has formally submitted a rezoning proposal to the Department of City Planning. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick support the proposal.

The Real Deal Unions, nonunions fight over construction safety legislation by Kathryn Brenzel

Unions, nonunions fight over construction safety legislation

One of the more contentious bills would require construction workers involved in projects of a certain size that receive $1 million or more in any kind of government assistance to receive state-approved training. Contractors would be required to participate in apprenticeship programs approved by the New York State Department of Labor if working on projects that are 100,000 square feet or more or have 50 or more residential units. A similar bill was introduced in 2013, but was revived by Council member Ben Kallos. Kallos noted on Wednesday that since 2012, 72 percent of construction-related accidents occurred on sites where contractors didn’t participate in apprenticeship programs.

“No one should die from a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper education, apprenticeship, and protections for a worker’s right to say no to a dangerous situation,” he said in a statement.

Brian Sampson, president of the New York chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, a nonunion organization, said the bill wrongly equates the apprenticeship programs with safety. He argued that the law would force workers to either join a union — since unions already participate in the programs — or apply for a program independently, which can take six to 18 months. He said this is likely to put hundreds of workers out of jobs.

The Real Deal City considering crackdown on landlords who skirt zoning rules by Editorial

City considering crackdown on landlords who skirt zoning rules

The City Council will discuss 10 bills Wednesday aimed at tightening the rules that allow property owners to bend zoning regulations.

Council member Ben Kallos is sponsoring the proposed bills that will target the Board of Standards and Appeals, Crain’s reported. The board is able to approve applications from landlords who argue they need to surpass zoning laws in order to make a profit from a development. In some cases, according to the publication, owners ask that a height restriction be relaxed so that revenue-generating apartments can be built. In other circumstances an owner may say that a lot is oddly shaped and it is therefore impossible to conform to zoning laws.

In 2011, the board approved 97 percent of applications that came before it, many of which had been opposed at the local council level. Kallos believes the board is too lenient.

The Real Deal Tale of two tech companies: NYC welcomes Uber, while Airbnb faces new restrictions by Kathryn Brenzel

Tale of two tech companies: NYC welcomes Uber, while Airbnb faces new restrictions

“Uber engages with regulators and complies with regulation,” City Council member Ben Kallos said. “And Airbnb does whatever it wants in violation of the law.”

The Real Deal City Council finally schedules hearing on Rivington scandal by The Real Deal

City Council finally schedules hearing on Rivington scandal

Council members Vincent Gentile and Ben Kallos will lead the hearing on Sept. 29, which will focus on how the city approved the lifting of a deed restriction on the Lower East Side nursing home earlier this year.

Following the lifting of the restriction, landlord Allure Group sold the property to Slate Property Group and its partners Adam America and China Vanke for a $72 million profit. The new owners plan to convert the building into luxury condos, though city agencies to date have prevented construction from starting. The Real Deal put together a video explaining the whole saga.http://therealdeal.com/2016/09/01/city-council-finally-schedules-hearin…

The Real Deal New legislation hopes to combat tenant blacklists by Kathryn Brenzel

New legislation hopes to combat tenant blacklists

New proposed legislation aims to help tenants blacklisted for their history in housing court.

Councilman Benjamin Kallos on Tuesday introduced legislation to the council’s Consumer Affairs Committee that would force screening companies to provide landlords with fuller descriptions of housing court cases. The measure is intended to combat overzealous tenant blacklists, which are compiled by tenant-screening data companies based on housing court records.

Housing attorneys argue that the blacklist is riddled with errors and fails to show when a tenant won a case, the New York Times reported. After two years of being homeless, Margot Miller, 68, recently was denied housing at an apartment for low-income seniors when the owner discovered that she had been sued by her previous landlord.

The Real Deal Channeling scofflaw Trump, land use chair says it’s time to make public spaces great again by Rich Bockmann

Channeling scofflaw Trump, land use chair says it’s time to make public spaces great again

The Council bill, backed by members Ben Kallos and Donovan Richards, would require the Department of City Planning to create a map of the spaces and report twice a year on the status of each POPS. It would also mandate the DOB to report annually on complaints and violations.

The Real Deal AG forces DDG to refile condo plans for 180 East 88th Street by The Real Deal

AG forces DDG to refile condo plans for 180 East 88th Street

In May, City Council member Ben Kallos accused DDG of violating the spirit of zoning laws.

Amid complaints from community advocates, the city’s Department of Buildings launched an audit of the project and issued a temporary stop work order.