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NEW YORK CITY-Brooklyn, which led the way with the condominium-development boom a few years ago, now has the less-happy distinction of beating out the other boroughs in the number of stalled projects. The borough is home to 237 developments on which work has stopped, or 46% of the total, according to the New York Building Congress.

As of Nov. 29, work had stopped on a total of 515 formerly active construction sites throughout the five boroughs, virtually all of them residential projects, the Building Congress says in an analysis of New York City Department of Buildings inspection records. However, that figure actually represents an improvement from the beginning of the month, in which city records revealed a total of 531 stalled projects. The earlier tally represented a 33% increase over the total of 398 in July, when DOB began tracking the stalled sites, and a 17% gain on September’s tally of 444.

“Earlier this year, we reported on the dearth of applications for permits to begin new residential projects in New York City. Apparently, the economic contagion has now spread to residential projects that were already permitted and where construction already began,” says Building Congress president Richard T. Anderson in the report. “Though the late November numbers offer some encouragement, it is important for government and the development community to continue working together to minimize the immediate environmental and quality-of-life impacts of these stalled projects on the hardest-hit communities.”

Eight of the 10 New York City neighborhoods with 10 or more stalled projects are in Brooklyn, and 30% of the borough’s idle construction sites are in just four neighborhoods: Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint and North Side-South Side. Not surprisingly, these neighborhoods represented the epicenter of residential development in Brooklyn earlier in the decade.

With 140 stalled projects as of the end of November, Queens ranks second among the boroughs and the projects comprise 27% of the citywide total. However, the end-of-month tally for Queens is down from the 147 idled sites at the beginning of November and up only slightly from the July total of 136.

In Manhattan, a total of 80 projects were listed as stalled in DOB records, compared to 57 as of late July. Fourteen percent of those projects are in the Turtle Bay-East Midtown area, where 11 sites are idled. The biggest gain on a percentage basis was in Staten Island, where the number of stalled projects more than doubled from 15 in July to 29 at the end of November. In the Bronx, the number of stalled projects has risen only slightly during that time, from 22 in July to 24 today.

The Bloomberg administration recently enacted legislation to help re-start stalled sites. In exchange for submitting comprehensive site safety plans to DOB, owners will be able to renew their building permits for up to four more years. However, Anderson says, “The city should consider further incentives to encourage developers to re-start stalled projects.” He cites new tax credits, zoning modifications and related steps “to help get development back on track.”

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