State tweaks housing conversion proposal for offices, hotels

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)The state has tweaked its proposal for the conversion of offices and hotels to housing, limiting which buildings would be eligible. But some feel that the measure still doesn’t go far enough in creating new affordable housing.Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initial budget bill offered a temporary window for owners to override local zoning rules to turn vacant and struggling office properties into housing. Now, a series of amendments provides that only certain old office buildings and new ones in financial distress could be converted.Specifically, the measure applies to office properties that either had a certificate of occupancy as of Jan. 1, 1980, or had one as of Dec. 31, 2020, and are also bankrupt or under receivership.Two options for meeting the initial measure’s affordability requirements have also been eliminated. Hotels and offices that are converted must set aside 25 percent of residential units as affordable, through an agreement with the state’s housing regulator. In an earlier version, that threshold was 20 percent, and property owners could opt to use the property for supportive housing or pay into an affordable housing fund.The amendments also shorten by two years the time that owners have to pursue such conversions. The law would expire at the end of 2024.But some feel the measure largely incentivizes the creation of market-rate and luxury housing.“Big picture, I don’t think this is the proposal we need right now,” said Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference. “On balance, this is going to add to our supply of luxury rentals.”State Sen. Brian Kavanagh has pitched an alternative that would automatically approve certain hotels for residential use. Under a separate bill, hotels could be used to house low- to moderate-income tenants through an agreement with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.At least part of a hotel must be within 800 feet of a district that allows residential use to be converted into housing. Certificates of occupancy issued to such hotels would simultaneously be authorized for residential use. Unlike the budget measure, this bill would not expire.In an interview, Kavanagh said his bill focuses on hotels because they are likely easier to convert than office buildings. The 800-foot clause aims to allow conversions in areas with necessary services, such as transportation, and not in manufacturing zones.“We don’t want to lose hotels that we need just to create more luxury housing,” said Ted Houghton, president of Gateway Housing NYC, who advised on the Kavanagh bill. “We want to find hotels that are in real distress that can be used for affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers and those in need.”Cuomo’s new budget language includes a change similar to Kavanagh’s bill, calling for every certificate issued for hotels to allow for residential occupancy as well, in cases where the developer has an agreement with the state to set aside units as affordable.Like the rest of the budget bill, it does not define affordable housing but leaves that distinction up to the state’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal or the city’s housing agency. This provision would also expire in 2024.“These proposals speed development through what would be years of bureaucratic processes by allowing for the conversion of unprecedented vacancies in commercial spaces to highly needed affordable and supportive housing,” Freeman Klopott, a spokesperson for the state Division of the Budget, said in a statement.He noted that the 25 percent set-aside is a baseline requirement and that the budget bill leaves the door open for the state to impose further regulations.The changes to Cuomo’s amendments have created some confusion over whether hotel and office conversions would be permitted in manufacturing districts. Klopott said such conversions would be allowed. The amendments, he said, would not affect residential conversions in districts where they are already allowed.The geographical boundaries for hotels and offices eligible for conversions have also been changed. The budget bill would apply to office buildings below 60th Street in Manhattan, expanding the previous area, which was largely limited to Midtown.The amendments reverse the boundaries set for hotels in Manhattan, now excluding those between the Financial District and 110th Street. Hotels north of that or outside Manhattan are eligible for conversions, according to the amendments.The changes to the budget measure appear to ignore the concerns raised by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who complained that it supersedes local zoning and hands control to “wealthy real estate interests.”Mitch Korbey, partner and chair of Herrick’s land use and zoning group, said the discussion of recycling existing building stock, especially to create affordable housing and help the city recover, is important. But he said several issues need to be addressed by the city and state.“The question really is, how best to vet these ideas and how best to assess their impact?” said Korbey. “What does it mean for density levels if a building can just create hundreds of units in a former office building? If you can, what does that say about the ability of the local infrastructure to handle it?””Contact Message* Andrew CuomoOffice conversionscenter_img Email Address* Tags Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

The influence of sunspot number and magnetic activity on the diurnal variation of the geomagnetic field at mid to high latitudes

The variations of the diurnal range of the geomagnetic field with sunspot number and with magnetic activity was studied at mid and high latitude stations in the northern hemisphere at different seasons. The effect of increasing sunspot number is small at lower latitudes and increases with geomagnetic latitude, while the effect of increasing magnetic activity is to increase the range at all latitudes, very greatly at the higher geomagnetic latitudes.

Dons get birthday honours

first_imgFour Oxford Dons have been acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of their service to science.Professors Christopher Hood and Wendy James were made CBE, while OBEs were awarded to Professors Richard Darton and Jeremy Thomas.After the publication of the official list on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the University told Cherwell: “The University takes pride in having so many academics who lead their fields, and many have been recognised over the years.”Professor Darton, a senior research fellow at Keble who set up the Univeristy’s Chemical Engineering course in 1991, said the honour for services to Engineering is “slightly overwhelming.”“Tackling the major issues of sustainable development will require enormous efforts and creativity, not least from engineers, so we appreciate this recognition and the encouragement it brings.”Fellow of New College and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (NERC), Professor Jeremy Thomas said that coming to Oxford in 2007 had given his work “a further fillip”.Thomas was “delighted” to be recognised for services to science within his area of special interest in conservation biology. In 2009 he was responsible for the restoration of the Large Blue Butterfly species to degraded landscapes across Europe.Professor Wendy James CBE has worked on humanitarian assistance in Africa, as well as teaching in the Universities of Khartoum, Bergen and Aarhus.Once Professor of Social Anthropology and a fellow at St Cross, Professor James said she was “elated and proud” to have been honoured for services to scholarship.This is not her first prestigious award for academia, having already been inducted into the British Academy twelve years ago.Professor Christopher Hood, whose research interests include the study of executive government, regulation and public-sector reform, was recognised for his services to social science.Gladstone Professor of Government and fellow of All Souls, Professor Hood admitted to being “apprehensive” of accepting his newest title.“What did I feel? Surprised. Flattered. A bit apprehensive. I wished my parents were still alive,” he commented. “It’s easy to get puffed up about these things and lose perspective.”last_img read more

Push for estranged student policy reform begins

first_imgAlmost half of Oxford students who have been estranged from their families are forced to “couchsurf” during the vacations, or would otherwise be homeless, according to a new SU report.Authored by SU VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Ellie Macdonald, the report gathers testimonies from 41 estranged students studying at the University.The report also reveals that over a third of estranged students worked during term time, as well as in the vac, in order to make ends meet.Macdonald said she wrote the report because it is “an issue close to my heart”. She said: “it’s a shame that although colleges do deal with it on an informal basis, there are no formal processes in place to help students who find themselves without family support whilst on course.“Before this research took place, there was no information at all around estranged students at the University of Oxford and so I’m really hopeful that this report can help change things.”Macdonald submitted her report for to the university-wide Domestic Bursars Committee yesterday, aiming to get the University and its colleges to adopt the Stand Alone Pledge, a statement committing educational institutions to supporting students without a family network.Whilst the report is based on the experiences of 41 students, the SU estimate there are at least 200 Oxford students who have no family support.Further statistics detailed in the report show that half of the estranged students involved in the report felt they could not approach their college for support, whilst 58% reported severe mental health problems as a result of burnout, stress, and isolation.43% of the students interviewed had difficulty in securing college accommodation, and 45% felt that bursaries were not enough to survive on and had difficulty accessing other funds.Macdonald told Cherwell: “If Oxford is interested in helping its graduates use their Oxford education as a foundation stone for their later success, then the University must recognize it has a duty of care towards estranged students especially in ensuring their university experience is at no significant disadvantage to their non-estranged peers.”last_img read more

News story: Tees Valley has ‘key role’ in new economy

first_img We are investing in improving connectivity, strengthening skills, supporting enterprise and innovation, and promoting trade – building an economy that works for everyone, and making Tees Valley an even better place to live and work. Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick today (31 August 2018) visited the Tees Valley to see how innovative local businesses in the area are helping drive the new economy.The Exchequer Secretary was in the region as part of a UK-wide tour. He met with Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, to hear how the local area is benefitting from its landmark devolution deal, which included new powers over transport, skills and business support, and £450 million of extra government support.The Minister was hosted at the South Tees Development Corporation and discussions included how £123 million of funding, announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the 2017 Budget, would keep the former SSI steelworks site safe and pave the way to crucial regeneration.He also visited the Centre for Process Innovation, which this month received £109 million of government funding. The centre is leading the way in designing new manufacturing methods to take prototypes to products on the market across a range of cutting-edge industries including pharmaceuticals, aeroplane and automobile engines and electronics.The government is supporting enterprise and innovation across the country so all areas can enjoy the benefits of economic growth. There are currently 55,000 more people in employment in the North East than in 2010 and 18,800 more businesses. The area recently received an extra £59 million from the government’s new transforming cities fund – to improve transport links and better connect people to jobs.Speaking on the visit, Mr Jenrick said: This area has a key role to play in the new economy and by working closely with local leaders we will ensure the Northern Powerhouse continues to boost growth and productivity across the country.last_img read more

Celebrate Paul Barrere’s Birthday With Some Classic Little Feat Footage

first_imgBeloved Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere celebrates his 69th birthday today, July 3rd, and we couldn’t let the occasion go unmarked. Barrere joined Little Feat in 1972, just a few years after Lowell George founded the band. Among his many contributions to the Little Feat sound, Barrere was a great songwriting, putting out classics like “Skin It Back,” “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” “Time Loves A Hero,” “All That You Dream” and so many more. Barrere continues to perform Little Feat tunes with Fred Tackett, and has enjoyed a prolific career that has included work with Jack Bruce, Taj Mahal, Carly Simon, Robert Palmer and so many more. The guitarist’s versatile style has come to define the Little Feat sound, working in elements of rock, folk, funk, cajun, and more.To celebrate Barrere’s birthday, we wanted to dig through the archives and lay down a great Little Feat concert from 1977. Held at the Rainbow Theatre in London, enjoy some great Little Feat grooves!As a bonus for the phans in the audience, here’s footage of Phish covering Barrere’s classic “Skin It Back” on this day in 2012. What a birthday tribute!last_img read more

Five Tips to Help You Avoid Tech Support Phone Scams

first_imgFor the past several years, we’ve highlighted to customers the technical support scams plaguing companies around the world, including in the IT industry. These scams are not new. Fraudsters continue to design ways — from fake websites to phishing emails— to steal personal information for criminal purposes.One such scam affecting Dell and other well-known companies — the telephone technical support scam — is becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to distinguish from legitimate tech support calls. In this scam, individuals claiming to work for Dell make unsolicited calls to customers and insist there is a technical problem with their Dell product. They ultimately try to defraud customers by pressuring them to pay to fix the issue.Our thanks to those who have alerted us that they have been contacted by scammers. This information has been invaluable to Dell in helping us investigate these scams. We’re also working alongside our industry peers and law enforcement to aggressively address this issue.So, what’s the result? We know that sharing information on these scams has led to positive developments. Scammer websites have been shut down, fraudulent call centers closed, their participants prosecuted, and suspect internet addresses blocked from payment processing companies. However, these scams continue to operate. When we see one successfully shut down, another sprouts up at an alarming rate.As we’ve said before, the best protection from these scams is to hang up immediately if you receive a suspicious call. Here are Dell’s top five tips to help you avoid being scammed:Hang up! If an unsolicited caller pressures you to act quickly and give up sensitive personal and financial information to fix an issue and/or engages in threatening, aggressive behavior, that’s a sign of a scam.Never hand over your financial information to unsolicited callers who try to charge you to remove computer viruses, malware, or ransomware, even if they have specific information about your computer.Never pay for tech support services with any type of gift card or by wiring funds. Dell will never ask you for these forms of payment.Never visit unverified websites and never download and install software that unsolicited callers try directing you to.Never agree to give control of your computer to any unsolicited caller to fix an issue you did not report—despite how convincing they may sound.For our U.S. and Canada customers: If you feel you may have been scammed, contact us immediately via our online form or call us toll-free at (866) 453-1742 Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.For our customers outside the U.S. and Canada, please click here.The battle to protect customers from these fraudsters is ongoing. As long as these scams continue to happen, we’ll continue to fight on your behalf.last_img read more

Perennial Garden Challenge

We’ve had such a warm winter that most perennials came out of dormancy early and are going like gangbusters. This can pose problems.My summer phlox, for example, would normally be a foot high in early May. But on April 20, they were two feet tall, with buds forming a month early. At least three things are wrong with that. First, air can’t move easily in dense phlox colonies, so mildew takes over and destroys the plants. Second, the taller stems are flopping over. And third, they’re beginning to cover my treasured yellow butterfly weed. My garden is out of kilter. If yours is having similar problems, here are a few things to consider. Transplanting? Dividing? Moving? Not this year! I don’t recommend digging and replacing established perennials this late in the season. And this is an especially bad year for it. Growth is soft and luxurious. Disturbed root systems won’t be able to meet the needs of all that foliage. If you must divide, transplant or move plants, reduce the foliage by half or more. And be vigilant at watering as warm weather returns. Pinching back growth (removing two or three inches of top growth from each stem) can reduce the spread of fast-growing perennials. Chrysanthemum, saponaria, veronica, salvia and lantana will respond to pinching in May. Pinching slows terminal growth and redistributes food into side branches. Your plants will be shorter. They may have twice as many flowers, too. Trimming is likely required for spreading perennial plants such as Homestead Purple verbena. The new crown growth is competing with growth at the ends of scraggly long branches. Cut off all but a 6-inch circle around the crown. Allow the new shoots to spread. The old scraggly ones can be rooted and regrown elsewhere. Thinning is removing some of the plants from a colony. I’ve thinned my phlox by removing shovel-sized groups of plants from the middle, allowing airflow and sunlight to filter in. The remaining plants’ root systems are only slightly disturbed. And by replacing fresh soil in the holes, roots reestablish quickly. I’ve never seen this procedure affect a colony adversely. Staking will be essential this summer. Not only are my phlox flopping over, but so are most other tall perennials. Staking needs to be done now, before the stems fall over. I like small tomato stakes and green yarn. The yarn is effective, yet impossible to see by midsummer. Tie it at one-third and two-thirds of the stem height. If you tie it at one-half the height, strong storms can buckle the stem. This year’s vigor may require you to do more deadheading, or removing spent flowers. Many perennials put up a flush of flowers in early summer. If those flowers are pollinated and allowed to remain, they produce seed. This uses up sugars, thus reducing or preventing more flowers. Because things are growing and flowering earlier this year, the summer flowering gaps may be longer and more pronounced. Gaillardia, phlox, veronicas, coneflowers, Echinops and some of the tall salvias will likely need deadheading to perform well all summer. One last tip: fertilize lightly this year. The extensive root systems will have access to much more fertility, causing gargantuan growth if you add lots of fertilizer. Just a light sprinkling of 10-10-10 may be all you need. Reduce soil moisture if you can. This will harden off root systems and slow growth. By hardening off plants now, they may be better adapted to summer heat. Slight wilting of tip growth in mid-afternoon is normal for most sun-loving perennials. Don’t water this spring unless you see very dry soil and wilting by late morning. read more

Beer Blog: Westbrook Brewing Company’s Gose

first_imgHere’s the deal with Westbrook Brewing Company’s Gose.It’s gonna catch you off guard. You’re not ready for the first powerful sip, even though Westbrook (a great brewery out of Mount Pleasant, S.C.) tells you on the can what to expect — “Sour, Salty, Delicious,” you’re not expecting the beer to be this…intense.But that’s the only way you can really describe this beer: intense.Gose is this relatively ancient German style of beer that had essentially been forgotten about by American brewers until the last few years.Now, sours are all the rage and the Gose is one of the esoteric versions of sour that’s been resurrected. It’s not like any other sour out there, though because of the use of sea salt, and in most cases, coriander.The result is, well…salty, sour, and shocking. And yes, delicious.Westbrook’s version of the Gose is one of those unexpectedly awesome beach beers. It’s too complex for simple lawn mower beer status, too interesting to fit neatly in the summer beer category, but it’s light and refreshing and clocks in at a reasonable 4% ABV. That, my friends, is a beach beer.But don’t get too excited. Even though the Gose has qualities of a session beer, it’s not exactly sessionable. The beer is simply too bombastic to have more than one on each sitting. It’s the kind of beer that will either turn you off or get you hooked right away. Like NASCAR, or midget tossing. It’s weird. But in a really good way.–Graham Averill is a writer, beer lover and stay-at-home dad. Follow his adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at read more

Is your marketing the pirates who don’t do anything?

first_imgYes, this is a blog about marketing tips for credit unions and community banks, but let’s talk music for a minute.Parents of 90’s and early 2000’s kids likely recall the song and subsequent film “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” (If you haven’t, click the link for a good laugh.)Part of the popular VeggieTales franchise, the song and film focus on a group of friends on a pirate-themed adventure who time travel and rescue a loved one from a cheesy villain.In addition to the moral of the movie/song, there’s also a valuable question for financial institutions: is your marketing the Pirates who don’t do anything? This post is currently collecting data… This is placeholder text continue reading »center_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more