Friday, December 15, 2006

Could lost AY revenues have tripled affordable housing?

Let's approach the $456 million in lost Atlantic Yards projected tax revenues from another perspective.

How much would that sum be worth in terms of affordable housing? (Attorney George Locker, who's suing to block the "friendly condemnations" of 13 rent-stabilized tenants, raised the question.)

The lost city revenue is pegged at $193.2 million, in net present value.

How much does affordable housing cost? Well, the city is spending $83,200 per unit of affordable housing in its Queens West project.

Divide $193.2 million by $83,200 and you get 2322 units.

More than AY

The entire Atlantic Yards project would include 2250 onsite affordable units. So the amount of lost revenue might support even more affordable housing.

And that's just the city's share. The amount lost in projected state revenues was more than double that. So, perhaps we lost out on funds for at least 5000 units of affordable housing, effectively tripling the total number of units.

Of course things are more complicated; the amount spent on housing depends on the costs and constraints of the site, and the range of incomes of the population the housing would include.

And there's no assurance that new revenues would go into housing. (Heck, there's no assurance about the accuracy of the projected new revenues, because the ESDC's calculations ignore all sorts of subsidies and public costs.)

But those calculations are at least as plausible as the $5.6 billion lie--and certainly food for thought.

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