Search results for "affordable housing"
- 70 percent of firms indicate that inquiries for new work declined in March.
- 78 percent of firms have already seen slowing or stoppage of projects.
- Around 90 percent of firms have seen problems with current projects due to COVID-19.
- Most residential firms, about two thirds, indicated that virtually all/majority of their staff are now working remotely.
A number of compounding issues are contributing to the slowdown. State-mandated construction freezes have stopped or slowed most residential projects (some states are allowing affordable housing construction to continue). Supply chains have been disrupted by the pandemic, and building departments have been slowing their approvals as they try to make the transition to working digitally. Of course, looming large over the heads of developers and homeowners alike is the potential of an extended economic recession that could linger well after social isolation orders have been lifted. With unemployment growing to unprecedented levels and the stock market undergoing roller coaster-like peaks and valleys on a daily basis, many prospective clients are putting a hold on future projects. As the AIA also noted in the special report, firms with a focus on residential projects have thus far been hit the hardest; only 13 percent on non-residential-focused studios faced losses of 25 percent or higher in March. However, that may soon change as well as even institutional projects, long stalwarts for firms looking for stability, get placed on hold or canceled. New York City, for example, recently halted all public design work as it deals with the gaping hole coronavirus has blown in the budget. As noted in a recent AIANY town hall, this sort of cost-cutting measure didn’t happen even at the height of the 2008 recession, as the city tried to buoy architects with public work.
- Residential firms anticipate accelerated revenue losses in April, with almost 70 percent expecting losses of 10 percent or more for the month relative to their expectations in early March.
Michael Maltzan Architecture reveals variegated new dorms for the University of Toronto
Tighe-ing the Neighborhood Together
Tighe Architecture designs a steeply arched complex in newly developing portion of Los Angeles
First of the Month
Temporary eviction bans roll out across America, residents ask for more
Within the last week, prior to the April 1 deadline at which most rent and mortgage checks are expected under normal conditions (aka today), state officials have independently announced eviction moratoriums with varying term dates. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo released an executive order on March 7 that includes a 90-day eviction moratorium, while California Governor Gavin Newsom, at the helm of the most populous state in the country with over 40 million residents, released a similar order that prevents residential evictions for two months to those who have been laid off due to the pandemic. “For tenants, there will be no eviction proceedings; there will be no enforcement as it relates to pay for COVID-19,” said Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Times. Renters in both states will, however, have to make up the rent they owe after their respective moratorium periods, and rent payments are expected of those who do not provide written testimony that they are unable to pay them (The Hill reports, meanwhile, that New York state lawmakers are working on a rent suspension bill that is currently in committee but will likely be held up by Governor Cuomo). While many might be relieved to learn they can stave off eviction until they find the necessary funds, affordable housing leaders feel the measures are minimal and shortsighted. “I think we’re deeply disappointed that it isn’t just a blanket moratorium on evictions,” said Francisco Dueñas of the California-based advocacy group Housing Now. Residents of major American cities have called upon government officials to institute rent freezes and other initiatives to stave off the financial hardships being felt across the country. Over 15,000 Chicagoans, for example, have signed an online petition spearheaded by a tenants union that includes a city-wide freeze on rent, utility payments, and mortgages, according to The Chicago Tribune. More than 82,000 residents of New York City have signed a similar petition seeking to ensure that “every New Yorker is safely housed.” At a time when housing security has never been more important to obtain, a unified message of dissatisfaction is likely to become amplified over the coming weeks as millions of renters make the difficult choice between pouring into their savings, writing pleas to their landlords, and participating in a burgeoning nation-wide strike (made visible through the growing #RentStrike hashtag on Twitter). seized vacant homes owned by the city to protect themselves against the health crisis during the shelter in place order.
During this crisis, I know many Angelenos are worried about paying rent. If you're able to pay, you should continue to do so. But for those of you that aren’t able to pay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your City has your back. No one should be evicted because of this emergency. pic.twitter.com/d9ilKc1Be4— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) March 29, 2020
when the jackhammers fall silent
New York puts freeze on all nonessential construction
At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.Under his initial PAUSE shutdown directive, Cuomo had classified all types of construction sites as being “essential” along with banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, and the like. This, in turn, meant it was largely business as usual at building sites across the state although workers were instructed to follow difficult-to-enforce social distancing practices while on the job. Cuomo, however, faced considerable pushback from construction workers and their families along with city leaders, notably City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Brad Lander along with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“Anything that is not directly part of the essential work of fighting coronavirus and the essential work of keeping the city running and the state running, and any construction that is not about the public good, is going to en,” New York City Mayor de Blasio clarified on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show following Cuomo’s announcement. “So, luxury condos will not be built until this is over, you know, office buildings are not going to be built so that work's going to end immediately. We need to protect people.” The day before Cuomo ordered work to be halted on all nonessential construction projects, the New York Times published an article detailing how laborers in the city were being exposed to conditions that, although likely to raise very few eyebrows during ordinary circumstances, seemed downright perilous as a deadly, highly contagious rages through New York and beyond:
It is essential right now to build new hospital capacity.It is NOT essential right now to build new condos. @cmenchaca is right in calling for a moratorium on (non-crisis-response-related) construction work. https://t.co/66f8Pg1oxB — Brad Lander (@bradlander) March 16, 2020
“Construction sites, even during normal times, are notoriously dirty. Workers often share a single portable toilet, which rarely has soap or hand sanitizer. Running water is not common. None of the recent safety protocols recommended by public health officials are practical at a job site, workers said. They share tools, and procedures require that they closely watch over one another. There is no social distancing. Some workers wear protective masks, which are in short supply.”Cuomo’s directive also came after work on two infrastructure projects considered essential by the ESDC, the overhauls of LaGuardia Airport and at Moynihan Station, came grinding to a temporary halt when workers at both sites tested positive for COVID-19. Although initially not wholly supportive of a Boston-style moratorium on construction due to the so-called “devastating” economic impact, Carlo Scissura, president of trade group New York Building Congress and former president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has since thrown his support behind Cuomo’s updated directive. “The health and safety of building industry workers and every New Yorker remain the highest priority as we continue to respond to this pandemic,” said Scissura in a statement obtained by the New York Post. “Just as the governor has outlined, we must carry on with New York’s most critical projects, from infrastructure and public works to healthcare and affordable housing. These projects are essential to our region’s future and will benefit our most vulnerable populations.” Some have pointed out a not-so-tiny loophole, however, in the ESCD’s new guidelines, specifically with regard to the construction of affordable housing. The exemption that allows for work on affordable housing projects to continue doesn't just apply to project that are strictly affordable; rather, work on residential developments with at least 20 percent affordable housing can proceed. This, in turn, means that a lion’s share of residential constructions projects in New York are essentially off the hook.
Hooray for hollywood
A timber-topped terraced office tower could be coming to the heart of Hollywood
Tall Timber in Tinseltown
Michael Maltzan Architecture designs affordable mass timber housing tower for Skid Row
Boston imposes citywide moratorium on construction
Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Monday that the moratorium on construction work would go into effect on Tuesday, March 17, and construction sites need to be secured by March 23.
Walsh’s action comes after he declared a public health emergency in Boston, postponed the Boston Marathon, and canceled the St Patrick’s Day Parade over infection concerns. It makes Boston one of the first cities or districts in the U. S., other than those in complete lockdown or quarantine, to ban construction activity as a way of fighting the coronavirus. The move comes at a time when the city and region are booming with construction activity, from affordable housing to high-rise office buildings. Walsh did not say how long work will be suspended, but he indicated it’s likely to be at least 14 days.
“Effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are suspending all regular activity on construction sites in the city of Boston,” Walsh said in a briefing yesterday. “The only work that we are anticipating right now moving forward in the city will be emergency work” approved by the city’s Inspectional Services Department.
“These decisions that we make are not easy, but they’re out of an abundance of caution,” he added. “It’s about protecting the worker and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“This is a critical time for us right now… I think if we can prevent the spread from happening and try and level the virus off, we’ll be in a better position long term.”
The mayor said he didn’t have an exact figure for how many construction projects are affected by his order, but he knows it is substantial.
“It’s massive, massive,” he said at the briefing. “I don’t have a number. It’s tens of thousands. We’re in the middle of a boom right now, and…today is a difficult decision to make… Construction is at the core of our economy here in Boston. I come out of the trades. I was a construction worker myself. This is something that is very personal to me and to a lot of us.”
Mayor Walsh added that city officials will monitor the situation closely to determine when the moratorium can be lifted.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we ‘re looking at 14 days potentially, and then we’ll revisit it and hopefully they can be the first workers back to work.”
The moratorium is “something that we’re going to be monitoring literally week to week,” he said at another point. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be able to change the policy. But right now, out of an abundance of caution for the workers on the job site and to prevent spreading the virus, we want to make sure those workers are safe.”
According to a statement posted on the city’s website, the city is instructing employers to “maintain necessary crews to keep their sites safe and secure, keep any materials from blowing away, and prevent trespassing. This work needs to be completed in the next week, by Monday, March 23, 2020.” Once sites have been secured, the message said, skeleton crews will be permitted on site “for the remainder of the suspension” to ensure safety, but no construction activity can take place.
Walsh said Boston has 33 confirmed cases of Boston residents with COVID-19 as of Monday, March 16, and the construction moratorium is part of a multifaceted effort to address the spread of coronavirus.
“The coronavirus is one of the greatest public health challenges that our city has ever faced,” he said at a press briefing. “Our primary objective right now is to slow the spread and flatten out the curve so that our medical centers don’t get overwhelmed. This strategy is crucial to helping our most vulnerable residents and make sure that we can rebound from this as soon as possible.”
According to Walsh’s order, the only exceptions to the construction ban are: “emergency utility, road or building work,” such as repairing gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes; new utility connections to occupied buildings, mandated building or utility work; work that “ensures the reliability of the transportation network,” work on facilities that support “vulnerable populations,” and work needed to make occupied buildings “fully habitable.”
Walsh said the city may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for “essential” projects that “support increased public health and safety.” But he said new projects cannot be started after March 17, unless approved by the city. In his briefing, Walsh said he hopes employers don’t fire their employees as a result of his action.
“I want to remind Boston employers that we’re in a robust construction market,” he said. “Boston is home to a talented, hard-working construction workforce and when we get back to work as usual, employers need to bring these workers back and the right thing that we need to do right now is to lay them off and not fire them.”
Meanwhile, one state away, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants to increase construction of at least one type of building, medical facilities, and he wants the federal government to do it.
“Let’s bring in the Army Corps of Engineers and let’s start building temporary medical facilities because we know we’re going to need them,” Cuomo told CNN. “As many as we produce, if we started today, as many as we can produce, we would need twice.”
Cuomo said he has confidence in the Army Corps of Engineers to move quickly and complete projects that individual states need but don’t have the resources to take on. New York State has one of the highest volume of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, more than 600 people.
“The Army Corps of Engineers builds. I used to be in the federal government. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers. They build bridges. They build airports. They’re builders. They’re engineers… They build. Let them come in, build with me.”
Cuomo also said he can identify state-owned properties that can be retrofitted to accommodate coronavirus patients. “I’ll find an old dormitory, an old nursing home. Let’s convert it to a hospital and let’s do it quickly so we have some backup space when the wave crashes on the health care system.”