Rededication at 306 Union.

Yesterday, St. Nick’s Neighborhood Preservation Corporation held a rededication for its property at 306 Union Avenue (WilliamsburgIsDead was there too). St. Nick’s acquired 306 Union from the City in the 1980s. They rehabbed the abandoned building using low-income housing tax credits, and turned it into a model housing development for formerly homeless residents. Those tax credits had a life span of 15 years, after which the property could revert to market-rate rentals.

This is where the waterfront rezoning comes in. One of the biggest selling points of the rezoning for long-term residents was the inclusionary housing bonus which, theoretically, would result in 33% of all new housing units being developed as affordable housing. Most famously, developers would receive a density bonus for developing new affordable housing (about 1.25 new market rate units for each affordable unit developed). But there was also a provision in the inclusionary program for the preservation of existing low-income housing units.

306 Union is the first projects to utilize this part of the inclusionary bonus. In return for additional floor area on a new development elsewhere in the neighborhood, St. Nick’s received money to rehabilitate and upgrade 306 Union. More importantly, by using the inclusionary bonus, St. Nick’s is committing to keep 306 Union affordable forever.

With the exception of waterfront developments like Northside Piers and the Edge, the inclusionary program has not yet resulted in large numbers of new affordable housing units. But it is resulting in the permanent preservation of existing affordable housing units throughout the neighborhood. 306 Union is just the first among these.