Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bushwick City Councilman Antonio Reynoso today joined with the grassroots organization Make the Road New York, Bushwick residents, small business owners, and faith leaders to demand an end of the controversial 421a tax abatement program that provides tax giveaways to large developers who build units that are unaffordable to local residents.
The march paraded through the streets of Bushwick and extended to the Colony development, which received a 15-year tax abatement of several million dollars of 421a tax abatement money to build a 127-unit building with no units that local residents can afford. The building is expected to receive approximately $8 million of 421a abatement, while only paying $2 million in taxes.
Make the Road officials noted the development has marketed its unaffordable units to what it deemed “settlers” from outside the area, fueling gentrification in an area where the average income is arn only thirty to forty percent of the Area Median Income. This case highlights how unwise tax giveaways to developers are fueling gentrification in neighborhoods like Bushwick across New York City.
“We need real affordability for all New Yorkers. Allowing over $1 billion to build luxury developments that don’t open their doors to working class people, like the Colony, makes absolutely no sense. If we are going to create a city where working people can afford to live and thrive, we must start by getting rid of the 421a program,” said María Elena Khohaciche, a Bushwick tenant and Make the Road New York member.
Assemblywoman Maritza Dávila, who was unable to attend, also expressed her support for the event, saying: “The days of giving away our hard-earned tax dollars are over. The Colony 1209 development is a perfect example of how a program that is meant to create affordable housing has been used to blindside a whole community. When this development was being constructed, our Bushwick families expected their fair share of affordable housing for their families. Instead, in the years since this building began receiving its tax abatement, far more than 127 families have been displaced by luxury housing such as that at Colony 1209.”
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