Governor George E. Pataki has signed two bills into law that are designed to spur the construction of new apartment buildings and extend tax abatements for eligible commercial properties throughout New York City, including Lower Manhattan.

The new commercial real estate law authorizes New York City to extend the benefit and eligibility periods of two successful tax abatement programs for eligible commercial properties that were originally adopted in 1995. One program has helped revitalize Lower Manhattan by attracting and retaining industrial, manufacturing, and commercial tenants, while the second program has encouraged the relocation to and expansion of businesses in Manhattan north of 96th Street, and in the other four boroughs.

"As Chairman of the Real Property Tax Committee and 10-year Albany lawmaker, I am always looking for legislative remedies for residents and businesses that call New York City home and which would help to encourage housing growth and foster commercial enterprise," said Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin.

"The passage of these bills goes a long way in achieving that goal."

This law will be an integral part of the City's program to attract and retain tenants in Lower Manhattan. It allows the city to extend for three years the following components of the Lower Manhattan revitalization program: (1) the time within which to make expenditures to improve the properties; (2) the expiration dates for abatement eligibility and benefits; and (3) the commercial rent tax abatements available for eligible businesses.

The law also authorizes the City to extend, for four years, similar provisions in areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan north of 96th Street.

The second new law amends the Private Housing Finance Law (PHFL) to let the City provide low-interest loans for apartment construction on privately owned property, while the second new law authorizes the City to extend the benefit and eligibility periods for two tax abatement programs for eligible commercial properties.

The amendments to the PHFL provide New York City's Participatory Loan program with the statutory authority to provide low-interest loans for new apartment construction. This program was established in the mid-1970s to reverse neighborhood deterioration by combining the City's low-interest capital loans with money from private lenders to rehabilitate housing.

This new law is an essential component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 5-year, $3 billion plan to rehabilitate and construct 65,000 housing units in that it permits the Participatory Loan Program to be used for new construction as well as for rehabilitation.

"These important new laws will create thousands of new housing opportunities across the City, while also promoting economic growth and bolstering the ongoing resurgence of Lower Manhattan." Governor Pataki said.

"These measures reflect our State's ongoing commitment to helping New York City expand its housing supply, create new jobs and encourage economic growth and revitalization in every borough."

"These bills provide desperately needed new housing and job creating economic development throughout the City, said Senator Frank Padavan. "By joining with Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, we're ensuring that the future of our City is one of growth and prosperity. These bills will be beneficial to all New Yorkers."

"This legislation continues the Assembly's support for New York City housing programs that not only ensures new housing construction and the rehabilitation of existing housing to meet the City's ongoing housing crisis, but also creates opportunities for residential and commercial space development," Assemblyman Vito Lopez said.

Both of these laws take effect immediately. The commercial real estate law is deemed to have been in force and effect since July 1, 2003.

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COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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