NYC partners with unions, developers to build affordable workforce housing

March 12, 2024

New York City is entering a first-of-its-kind partnership with a major construction workers’ union and a real estate developer to address a shortage of affordable housing options for low- and middle-income New Yorkers.

The partnership between the city, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity (BCTC) and real estate development company Cirrus will start with $100 million to develop multifamily housing for New York City’s workforce.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement will help build housing that is affordable for the New Yorkers who have built our city and help New York City lead on the affordable housing crisis facing our nation,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release. 

The city marked a new milestone in the housing crisis last month with a survey that found the lowest number of housing vacancies since 1968. The city’s essential workers are increasingly unable to find an affordable place to live in the city where they work.

Mayor Adams has made housing a high priority with an initiative last year to reform zoning and build 100,000 more units. The latest partnership will test if the city, its workforce and developers can successfully come together to alleviate the housing crisis.

“This path-breaking new partnership is yet another demonstration of the administration’s unrelenting commitment to using every tool available to bring relief for working-class New Yorkers,” Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer said.

The initial $100 million will come from pension funds operated by BCTC and private funds from Cirrus. The company has more fundraising plans and hopes to raise more $400 million to see the project through. So far, city funds are not part of the project, but the city has signed a memorandum of understanding with both partners to ensure the goal of affordable housing at 80 to 140 percent area median income.

“We believe that the union funds investing in this program have demonstrated tremendous vision and we look forward to building the housing supply for the city’s working class,” said BCTC president Gary LaBarbera.

It is not clear how many housing units will be built, but the partnership will include new developments and redeveloping properties for affordable housing. Priority will be given to locations that have easy access to public transit, and designs will include sustainable building practices. Cirrus has also entered a project labor agreement with BCTC to ensure the construction workers receive fair wages, benefits, training and apprenticeships while building the housing developments.

The partnership also echoes part of New York’s history. Between 1926 and 1974, organized labor played a large role in building the city’s housing stock through the United Housing Foundation. Today, more than 100,000 New Yorkers live in in apartments built by the labor movement.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching