Luxe condos clogging city — what to do?

More than 4,000 newly-built luxury condos sit empty in six neighborhoods where developers had hoped to catch the gentrification wave, a coalition of community groups tracking them found.

In a report released May 10th, Right to the City-NYC also identifies 138 empty residential buildings that owe $3.8 million in delinquent taxes. The group’s unlikely solution is to have the city hand over the luxury stainless steel kitchens to low-income or homeless. They want the city to acquire these properties through tax foreclosure just as it had done with distressed and abandoned properties in the 1980s.

“It’s a luxury ghost town,” Right to the City coordinator David Dodge said. “If they’re not paying taxes, the city has a right to acquire these buildings.”

This “crazy idea” would discourage new development, said Real Estate Board of New York president Steven Spinola, who asked if it was April Fools’ Day when told of the group’s plan.

“If an owner wants to charge a certain amount and believes he can get it, he has a right to hold onto it,” he said. “These people clearly don’t believe in the idea of private property


Number of apartment buildings identified by Right to the City in various stages of vacancy/development in Downtown Brooklyn, Bushwick, the Lower East Side, Harlem, the South Bronx and the West Side/Chelsea.


Estimated number of vacant units in completed buildings.


Average number of days the condo units have been on the market


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