(Getty, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

The unexpected announcement by HPD in January of this year that it was rescinding the term sheet for the Privately Financed Affordable Senior Housing Program (the “PFASH Term Sheet”), as of June 30, 2021, less than two years after its release, left many developers scrambling to apply for HPD’s approval of their projects in time to meet the June 30 deadline. PFASH was HPD’s program to implement the Affordable Housing for Seniors (“AIRS”) zoning bonus provisions of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability amendment to the NYC Zoning Resolution (“ZQA”) with private financing, in contrast to other senior programs that require massive subsidies.

Seiden & Schein, which was instrumental in causing HPD to prepare and finally issue the PFASH Term Sheet, following a delay of more than three years after the adoption of ZQA, was quick to voice its objection to HPD’s sudden decision to kill a program that had the potential to serve as the catalyst for creating thousands of affordable housing units dedicated to independently living seniors aged 62 years and older (and their families), at absolutely no cost to the City.

A trailblazer in the field of inclusionary housing and real estate tax incentives, and particularly in the realm of privately financed, mixed-use affordable housing, Seiden & Schein not only submitted the first application under the PFASH program (more than a year before the PFASH Term Sheet was even released), but the firm also closed on the first PFASH project in March of 2021. The terms of the PFASH Regulatory Agreement that Seiden & Schein negotiated with HPD in connection with that groundbreaking project, went on to serve as the blueprint for each and every PFASH project that was fortunate enough to close thereafter.

Following HPD’s announcement of the cancellation of the PFASH program, Seiden & Schein made every effort to ensure that developers who were contemplating PFASH projects were aware of the urgency of submitting their PFASH program applications and supporting materials to HPD. As if working under the intense pressure of HPD’s rigid time constraint was not enough, in the months that followed, HPD also regularly announced various new and seemingly arbitrary policies that had not been previously publicized, and which threatened to derail a number of PFASH applications. Despite this moving target, the experienced and dedicated attorneys at Seiden & Schein successfully guided the firm’s clients through these unprecedented procedural hurdles and closed on a number of PFASH projects by the June 30 deadline.

Although HPD is no longer administering the PFASH program, Seiden & Schein is currently exploring opportunities with other City agencies to try to make privately financed AIRS projects possible again. In the interim, developers can still qualify for a 1:1 zoning bonus for publicly financed AIRS projects or for larger zoning bonuses for eligible sites under the Inclusionary Housing Program. For more information regarding these and other HPD housing incentive programs or to see which programs are available for your project, please feel free to reach out to Alvin Schein at [email protected] or David Shamshovich at [email protected].