Sept. 21, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams wants to convert 25,000 outer-borough hotel rooms into permanent affordable housing.
Adams outlined a plan — during a press conference in Sunset Park Monday — for the city to acquire economically distressed hotels in the outer boroughs and convert them into supportive housing.
The mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President said he would utilize city funds as well as state and federal dollars to purchase and convert hotels.
Adams said he would also amend city planning rules and building codes to speed up the conversion of hotels as part of his plan. He also proposed including on-site services for homeless New Yorkers at the converted hotels.
Adams said converting existing hotels into housing is a cheaper and quicker alternative than building affordable housing from the ground up.
His plan focuses on hotels in the outer boroughs since hotels there have been slower to bounce back from the pandemic than hotels in Manhattan. The hotel industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and resulting shutdown — about 50 hotels have permanently closed citywide, according to the Hotel Association of New York City.
“The combination of over-development of hotels in the outer-boroughs and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to convert empty, distressed hotels into desperately needed permanently affordable housing–and we must act quickly,” Adams said.
He estimates that his plan would create 25,000 supportive housing units in the outer boroughs like Queens. Queens has a large share of the city’s hotels as it’s home to the city’s two major airports.
Adams was joined by State Sen. Michael Gianaris at the conference outside a dilapidated hotel in Brooklyn.
Gianaris recently shepherded a bill through the state legislature that sets aside $100 million for such hotel conversions. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill, called the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity (HONDA) Act, into law last month.
“New York has seen a decades-long affordable housing crunch exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic devastation,” Gianaris said. “Converting failing buildings is a good way to tackle the dual problems of distressed properties and lack of affordable housing.”
He added that he was excited to work with Adams to implement his plan.