Developers warn Albany city leaders ahead of crucial vote on housing

The new law would lead to a decline in new market-rate and affordable housing in the city, according to an analysis.

Developers warn Albany city leaders ahead of crucial vote on housing

The Albany Common Council has been trying to stop a new law imposing new requirements on affordable housing for a long time.

The law mandates that newly constructed, market-rate apartments include more affordable units for people earning less than the median area income.

Developers claim that, while the goals of the inclusionary zoning laws are admirable, they will have an immediate negative impact on the future development, or the economics could change over time.

We'll look elsewhere if we don't see a profit. "It's going to slow down development."

These warnings, however, have not had a major impact on the support of the 15 members for this measure.

The final -- and possibly last -- step of the process will likely take place on Monday night.

According to Alfredo Balarin who sponsored the bill, the council will vote on whether or not to override Sheehan’s veto.

To override, you need 10 votes.

The measure was approved twice, with 14 and 13, respectively, affirmative votes. Sheehan vetoed this law for the first time back in February. The council approved an identical version of the same bill earlier this month due to a procedural mistake before the first vote.

Residents, tenants' rights activists and others have spoken to the all-Democrat Council about the urgent need for quality, affordable units in newly constructed, market-rate apartments outside of Albany's historically "redlined" neighborhoods.

They say that doing so will help to address decades of economic and racial segregation and make the city livable for more residents.

Canyon Ryan, executive of United Tenants of Albany said, "I do not want Albany to become a city where only the wealthy can afford it, [buzzing] full of tech bros and young yuppies." Canyon Ryan spoke at a meeting of the Albany City Council earlier this month. Some people think that Albany rents have already become affordable. However, United Tenants received 560 phone calls in the past three months about rental assistance. Most of the calls come from South End, Arbor Hill and West Hill -- neighborhoods with concentrated poverty.

On that same night, the council heard from Sarah Reginelli (President of Capitalize Albany Corp.) and Jeff Mirel (Principal at Rosenblum Cos.), about the dangers posed by this legislation.

Capitalize Albany's mathematical analysis showed how the new law could lead to a decrease in new affordable and market-rate housing in the City, Reginelli explained, and would ultimately increase rents on existing substandard units.

Reginelli stated that "the math is what we are basing all of our concerns on."

Mirel stated that if the proposed requirements had already been in place, Rosenblum Cos. wouldn't have been able get financing for its $22 million apartment complex at 745 Broadway named Industrie.

Mirel stated, "I've had two projects that I've been looking at over the past few weeks put on hold until I see what happens with this legislation."

Jankow, Mirel, and Jeff Buell, another developer from Redburn Development Partners tried to convince the Council not to pass this legislation in a Zoom call organized in March. This was before the vote of the Council earlier this month.

Buell stated, "Our position is that we are not yet sure about the impact." It will change in the next few months.

Buell responded: "We are still trying to figure out the best way to attack the building." It's still too early to tell if it will cause damage, but we have a cautious approach.