Inclusionary housingPhoto: 

The Inclusionary Housing Program has been part of NYC policy since 1987. Its aim is to create economically integrated communities in areas seeing new housing development, by offering a floor area ratio bonus for developments that offer affordable housing.

The public can get a full picture New York City’s inclusionary housing clusters by visiting ZoLa, the Department of City Planning’s Zoning and Land Use application that displays updated property and neighborhood information on an interactive city map. Launched in 2011, ZoLa offers information ranging from ownership to zoning to land use to historic districts and more.

Browsing ZoLa, you’ll find something that may surprise you: there is currently no inclusionary housing on the Upper East Side.

This is unexpected because the Upper East Side is a hotspot of new construction activity, and much of the Upper East Side would be eligible to be an Inclusionary Housing Designated Area from a density perspective. The primary arm of the program is meant for high density R10 districts and commercial districts with R10 density, and there are indeed a number of buildings along Fifth and Park Avenues with those qualifications.

Additionally, the City’s Inclusionary Housing Designated Area map shows clusters of inclusionary housing throughout the city, with the largest clusters in Midtown West and East Brooklyn — other dense areas with significant new construction activity.

But the Department of City Planning specifically selects areas where zoning changes “would provide an incentive for developers to increase density to buildings,” and the Upper East Side apparently does not fit the bill.

Even if the Upper East Side were to be included as a designated area by the City, Inclusionary Housing is a voluntary program and many developers are simply not participating.

A DNAInfo report mapped information from the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development to show where developers were applying to build Inclusionary Housing. They discovered that, although Queens has Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas, they had no applications from developers.

HPD Spokeswoman Elizabeth Rohlfing said, “It is totally market-driven. Developers are only likely to apply for the program if they view that the market will support the affordable portion of the project.”

Meanwhile the Upper East Side luxury housing market continues to grow. A penthouse at The Charles on First Avenue was recently purchased for $37.9 million, making it the most expensive condo ever purchased in the Upper East Side east of Third Avenue. The Upper East Side also has the city’s second highest price per square foot at $1,771, second only to Downtown Manhattan’s $1,985 per square foot.

BuzzBuzzHome’s Market Snapshot shows the median list price for a condo on the Upper East Side at $4.1 million, with 1,093 homes currently in construction.

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